Aspirin is one of the most used medications worldwide, with its history going all the way back to 1897. It is a plant-based drug made out of salicylic acid, which can be found in Willow, scientifically known as Salix. Aspirin was originally intended as an anti-inflammatory drug but is currently also used to prevent cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases (Montinari, Minelli & De Caterina, 2019). It is made in laboratory conditions, with the plant-sourced salicylic acid acting as a part of the chemical synthesis.
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Currently, the production of aspirin is commercialized, and the drug can be bought in many forms, ranging from the simplest generic capsules to fizzy pills advertised as a hangover remedy. As an anti-inflammatory medicine and pain relief, aspirin has multiple substitutes, including ibuprofen and paracetamol. Few of the widely available drugs, however, can compare to it in the variety of possible applications, especially considering the latest research in aspirin use for cancer treatment and prevention (Montinari, Minelli & De Caterina, 2019). Aspirin remains one of the most successful examples of the use of plant components in medicine.
Invented in its semi-modern form at the end of the 19th century, aspirin was a part of the medical revolution in the late industrial period. But the history of using salicylic acid for pain relief can be traced back to Ancient Greece and the physician Hippocrates. I find its status of one of the first effectively life-saving drugs to be the fascinating piece of information about said product. Even if drugs or plant-based products in other fields outshine its effectiveness in the future, the history of aspirin and its newest applications in cancer treatment are extremely impressive.
Montinari, M., Minelli, S., & De Caterina, R. (2019). The first 3500 years of aspirin history from its roots – A concise summary. Vascular Pharmacology, 113, 1-8. Web.