How was aspirin discovered?

Aspirin or acetylsalicylic acid, is a derivative of salicylic acid that is a mild, nonnarcotic analgesic useful in the relief of headache and muscle and joint aches. The drug works by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins, body chemicals that are necessary for blood clotting and which also sensitize nerve endings to pain.

The father of modern medicine was Hippocrates, who lived sometime between 460 B.C and 377 B.C. Hippocrates was left historical records of pain relief treatments, including the use of powder made from the bark and leaves of the willow tree to help heal headaches, pains and fevers.

By 1829, scientists discovered that it was the compound called salicin in willow plants which gave you the pain relief. According to "From A Miracle Drug" written by Sophie Jourdier for the Royal Society of Chemistry: "It was not long before the active ingredient in willow bark was isolated; in 1828, Johann Buchner, professor of pharmacy at the University of Munich, isolated a tiny amount of bitter tasting yellow, needle-like crystals, which he called salicin.

In 1899, a German chemist named Felix Hoffmann, who worked for a German company called Bayer, rediscovered the formula. Felix Hoffmann made some of the formula and gave it to his father who was suffering from the pain of arthritis. With good results, Felix Hoffmann then convinced Bayer to market the new wonder drug.

Aspirin was patented on February 27, 1900.

The folks at Bayer came up with the name Aspirin, it comes from the 'A" in acetyl chloride, the "spir" in spiraea ulmaria (the plant they derived the salicylic acid from) and the 'in' was a then familiar name ending for medicines.