The History of Aspirin

Updated July 24, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

The Question:

A chemical first prepared by Felix Hoffman in 1897 and patented in 1899 became one of the most globally popular drugs of all time. Name it.

The Answer:

Thanks for the trivia, but you're going to have to do better than that to stump us.

German chemist Felix Hoffman is credited with creating today's aspirin. In 1897 he was using the common pain reliever of his day, sodium salicylate, to help his father get rid of his arthritis pain. But his father experienced a common side effect of the drug - stomach irritation.

So Hoffman attempted to come up with a less acidic formula for the drug, which traces its earliest uses back to the Greek physician Hippocrates who used a powder from the bark of willow trees that contained Salicin, the parent of sodium salicylate.

His work led to the creation of acetylsalicylic acid, or ASA, which soon became doctors' more stomach-friendly painkiller of choice.

-The Editors

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