Aspirin – another form of salicylic acid


If you haven’t heard of salicylic acid, you must have heard of aspirin, which is actually another identity of salicylic acid. As early as the 4th century BC, Hippocrates, the "father of medicine" in ancient Greece, mentioned in the "Collected Works of Hippocrates" that chewing willow bark can effectively relieve maternal pain during childbirth. There are also records from the Han Dynasty in China that drinking willow bark soup can reduce fever and relieve pain. In the 15th century, Indians crushed willow bark and applied it to the injured person's skin to relieve pain. It can be said that before the popularization of modern pharmaceutical technology, willow bark was almost the most commonly used painkiller and antipyretic in many parts of the world.

With the development of science and technology, many medical laboratories are competing to isolate medicinal ingredients from willow bark. In 1828, German scientist Johann Büchner successfully isolated a small amount of active analgesic ingredient from willow bark extract and named it Salicin. In 1838, Italian chemist Rafaari Pilia hydrolyzed salicin to obtain salicyl alcohol, which he then oxidized to obtain salicylic acid. This is a huge breakthrough in aspirin research.

Although salicylic acid has good antipyretic and analgesic effects, it has an unpleasant taste. If patients take it directly, it will not only cause nausea and vomiting, but also irritate the digestive mucosa and even cause gastrointestinal ulcers. In order to reduce side effects and improve analgesic effects, the German company Bayer has been trying to modify the structure of salicylic acid. The father of Felix Hofmann, an organic chemist at Bayer, suffered from severe rheumatism. He had constant stomach pain after taking sodium salicylate (obtained from the neutralization of crystallized salicylic acid with alkali). In order to reduce his father's Due to the pain, Hofmann consulted a large amount of information, carefully improved the extraction process of salicylic acid, and finally successfully synthesized acetylsalicylic acid on August 10, 1898.

Experiments have shown that acetylsalicylic acid can significantly reduce the "heartburn" symptoms caused by the acidity of salicylic acid. Later, based on the fact that salicylic acid can be extracted from meadowsweet, Hoffman put the "spir" in the Latin name of meadowsweet "spiraea" in the middle, and the first word in the English name "acetylation" of "acetylation". Starting with the letter "a" and adding the English suffix "in" for "drug" at the end of the word, the English name of acetylsalicylic acid is "Aspirin". Later, Bayer passed the clinical efficacy test of acetylsalicylic acid on pain, inflammation and fever, and registered its trade name as "aspirin". Since then, aspirin has sold well all over the world and has become one of the most widely used antipyretic and analgesic drugs.