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Introduction to Aspirin

Updated: Jan 19, 2018

Aspirin is an analgesic-antipyretic drug which has a long history; it was invented in 1899 March the sixth. At the very beginning it was used to kill pain and bring down a fever, but through the consistent development of the drug Aspirin now is mainly used as preventing thrombus. The Aspirin which everyone knows nowadays can be used to treat, flu, fever, headache, toothache, arthralgia, rheumatalgia while it can also be used to prevent myocardial infarct and apoplexy; thus it is called as catholicon. However, Aspirin is not the true name of the drug, it is just the name of the brand: A stands for Acetyl and SPIR stands for Meadowsweet where the salicylic acid comes form; the real name of the drug is Acetosalicylic acid. According to records, the earliest person who invented this drug is an inventor called Felix Hoffman who was a chemist working for the Bayer Medicine German at that time. Everyone thinks he is the only person who contributed to the whole invention of the process, but this is not true.

Salicylic acid reacts with the Acetic anhydride and turns into the Acetosalicylic acid

As early as 1853 a chemist whose name is Gerhardt used Salicylic acid and Acetic anhydride to synthesis Acetosalicylic acid, but this discovery has not brought a lot of attention from other people. In 1897 the German chemist Felix Hoffman resynthesized the Salicylic acid and the Acetic anhydride. After he got the Acetosalicylic acid, he used it to treat his father’s Rheumatic arthritis and it worked quite well. In 1897, Felix Hoffman was truly the first chemist to find and synthesis the major part of the Acetosalicylic acid; however, the biggest reason he got it was because he was directed by his boss who is a famous chemist -Allure Aishingreen. Felix Hoffman also followed and used all the technique routes and skills from his boss.

As I mentioned Felix Hoffman, I would like to talk a bit more about this great chemist. He not only found Aspirin but he also synthesized diamorphine or heroin as well, even though he is not the one who found it first. Because he is so successful that he was inducted into US National Inventors’ Hall of Fame in 2002.

Aspirin successfully went to the market at 1898; because of the new discovery that Acetosalicylic acid can cause cohesiveness in blood cells, people start to be hugely interested in Acetosalicylic acid again. If we make Acetosalicylic acid and other Salicylic acid react with the other Hydroxyl containing polymer, the product which they formed has stronger anti-inflammatory and better antipyretic-analgesic effects than the liber type of Acetosalicylic acid and the drug effect will last longer.

In 1899 Dreiser introduced Acetosalicylic acid into the clinical environment and called it Aspirin. According to the documents the inventor of Aspirin is called Felix Hoffman, a German chemist as I just said, but as I also said that there is another key character in the whole process, the boss of Felix Hoffman a Jewish Chemist Arthur Eichengrun.

The name of “the father of Aspirin” should belong to the Jewish Chemist Arthur Eichengrun who was the head of the invention group in the Bayer Medicine at the time. He tested a few of derivatives of the Salicylic acid as early as the end of 19th century and during these experiments he proved that the Acetosalicylic acid performs the best out of all of them. However, the boss of the company mistakenly thought that the Acetosalicylic acid was bad for heart, and thus asked Arthur to stop his clinical testing process.

The bitter experience of Arthur Eichengrun starts during 1934 till 1949. In 1934 Felix Hoffman announced that he is the chemist who found the Acetosalicylic aid. During that year Germany is already under the control of Nazi; as we all know the Jewish people were going to have a harder and harder time. In this circumstance, because Arthur is Jewish the Nazi government does not want to admit the fact that the inventor of Acetosalicylic acid is a Jew; therefore, the Nazi just hide their mistake and give the laurel crown of the Aspirin inventor to the German Chemist Felix Hoffman. The saddest thing is, in order to keep Arthur’s mouth shut they sent his boss into the concentration camp.

After the second world war, around 1949, Arthur Eichengrun himself brings this question back to the surface again, but unfortunately he passed away a few months later. A few years later the British scientist Walter Howard went to the Bayer Medicine in order to find out the truth by reading through all the relative documents and finally he found the true feature of the history: Allure Aishingreen is the most contributed Chemist in the Acetosalicylic acid project.

You can see further more in the Aspirin section...