It has long been called the “wonder drug.” No brand name has been so closely tied to the drug aspirin as Bayer, as demonstrated by this series of 1926 newspaper advertisements. Aspirin was promoted as a reliever of pain and fever, helping patients who suffer from colds, toothaches, sore throats, arthritis and many other maladies.
One of the tag lines in these ads, “Does Not Affect the Heart,” would later turn out to be false in at least one important sense. Low-dose aspirin is now used in some cases as a way to prevent heart attack and stroke, due to its blood-thinning properties.
The chemical ingredient in aspirin — acetylsalicylic acid — was synthesized by French chemist Charles Gerhardt in 1853. It is the key ingredient in willow tree bark, which has been used for more than three millennia to treat pain.
The exact history of the modern drug’s invention is mired…
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