The history of aspirin is an intriguing journey that dates back to ancient times. Aspirin's active ingredient, salicylic acid, was known in the ancient world, particularly found as salicin in willow bark. In ancient Egypt and Greece, willow bark was used to alleviate pain and fever.
In the 19th century, scientists began synthesizing salicylic acid. However, salicylic acid was harsh on the stomach, limiting its use.
In 1897, Felix Hoffmann at Bayer synthesized a more stomach-friendly form of salicylic acid, namely acetylsalicylic acid. This was the prototype of what we now know as aspirin.
Aspirin became widely used as a painkiller, antipyretic, and anti-inflammatory drug. In the 20th century, it also began to be used for the prevention of heart diseases and strokes.
The history of aspirin reflects the advancements in pharmacology and medicine and has established itself as one of the most fundamental drugs in modern medicine.