The Eskimo people know this drug as well as the American housewives. It was described by classic Thomas Mann, while great singer Enrico Caruso used it to get rid of joint pain. Back in the past, Hippocrates mentioned medicinal properties of willow bark that was later used to produce salicylic acid. This acid can be found in strawberry, wine and especially meadowsweet (Spiraea in Latin). It is from this Latin name that word Aspirin was derived. Today is the birthday of this antipyretic and pain-killing medicine. The legend says that Hoffmann’s father, an industrialist from Wurttemberg, suffered from joint pain and could not move. The physician prescribed sodium salicylate which caused irritation in stomach and therefore stomach ache. His son, a chemist, took his father’s trouble personally and started looking for a way to mitigate adverse events. His research resulted in acetylsalicylic acid which had mercy upon stomach and was good for curing pain and fever. Until the end of World War I, the Bayer Company enjoyed exclusive rights for product name Aspirin, yet on conditions of Versailles Treaty Germany conveyed the rights for this trademark to the war winners in lieu of reparations. Since that time, the whole world consumes aspirin to treat headache, cold, as a precaution against cardiovascular diseases, and to cure hangover. In America alone, 16,000 tons of aspirin are consumed annually.
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