// StartMathJax Script window.MathJax = {loader: {load: [ 'input/asciimath', 'ui/lazy', 'output/chtml', 'ui/menu']} }; (function() { var script = document.createElement('script'); script.src = "https://cdn.jsdelivr.net/npm/mathjax@3/es5/startup.js"; script.async = true; document.head.appendChild(script); })(); ---------- (Different files) ---------- // UpdateTypeset Script config = { attributes: true, childList: true, subtree: true }; // Callback function to execute when mutations are observed callback = (mutationList, observer) => { for (mutation of mutationList) { if (mutation.type === 'childList') { console.log('A child node has been added or removed.'); MathJax.typeset(); } else if (mutation.type === 'attributes') { console.log(`The ${mutation.attributeName} attribute was modified.`); } } }; // Create an observer instance linked to the callback function observer = new MutationObserver(callback); document.onreadystatechange = () => { if (document.readyState === 'complete') { console.log("Loaded fully according to readyState") targetNode = document.getElementById('content-wrapper') console.log(targetNode) // Start observing the target node for configured mutations observer.observe(targetNode, config); } }
top of page

Aspirin: From Willow Bark to Wonder Drug

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

#45 Science in History

6th March 1899

It’s 1899 and on this day, acetylsalicylic acid was patented by Felix Hoffmann for the German pharmaceutical company Bayer. Known as Aspirin, the drug became widely popular due to its effectiveness and low cost.

The use of salicylic acid can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, who used willow bark (containing salicylic acid) to treat fever and pain. Hippocrates, the ‘father of medicine’ used willow bark for relieving pain and fevers, and some people still use willow bark as a natural remedy for headaches and minor pain.

In 1763, the British clergyman Edward Stone chewed some willow bark and felt a ‘renewed vigour’. On sharing with his parishioners, cases of rheumatic fever were relieved, and Stone reported his discovery to the Royal Society of London. In the eighteenth century, French chemist Charles Gerhardt was able to synthesize acetylsalicylic acid in the laboratory - his findings were, however, largely ignored. It was Hoffman and Bayer who eventually claimed credit for its discovery in 1897. Salicylic acid has an unpleasant bitter taste and several side effects, including bleeding in the stomach. Hoffman wanted a better formulation (his father suffered from rheumatoid arthritis).

Argentina became a leading user of Aspirin, largely because of catchy radio jingles sung by a relatively unknown performer, Maria Eva Duarte. She became more famous as Argentina’s First Lady through her marriage to Juan Perón.

Bayer initially sold Aspirin in powder form only later marketing it as a tablet. In the 1960s, enteric-coated aspirin was developed to reduce stomach irritation and increase absorption. This coating allowed the aspirin to pass through the stomach and into the small intestine before dissolving. Aspirin works by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins, which are responsible for pain, fever, and inflammation. It also inhibits the function of platelets, which are responsible for blood clotting. It is classed as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) - the first of this class of drug to be discovered . It has analgesic (against minor pains and aches), antipyretic (against fever), and anti-inflammatory effects without causing drowsiness . The drug is also used as an anticoagulant (blood ‘thinner’) and, in long-term low doses, helps to prevent heart attacks and certain cancers. High risk patients are often prescribed Aspirin to prevent clotting of the blood and heart tissue death following a stroke.


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page