The Chemistry of Aspirin


Aspirin Is known as pain reliever or a drug that relieves pain and inflammation, lowers fever, and reduces blood clotting.The first sign of aspirin was by a 5th century Greek physician who discovered the medical properties of the willow tree's bark .The medicinal part of the plant is the inner bark of a tree The active extract of the bark is called salicin. The white powder that came from the bark of the willow tree help get rid of pains and reduced fever. In 1832, A German chemist experiments with salicin and creates salicylic acid .Aspirin was first sold as a powder. In 1915, the first Aspirin tablets were made. Prescription aspirin is used to relieve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus and certain other rheumatologic conditions Conditions where the joints or immune system are affected. Nonprescription aspirin that is sold over the counter is used to reduce fever and to relieve mild to moderate pain from headaches, menstrual periods, arthritis, colds, toothaches, muscle aches also used to reduce the risk of death in people who are experiencing or who have recently experienced a heart attack to prevent, strokes or mini-strokes in people who have had these types of strokes in the past.I will be looking into the chemistry behind Aspirin and the makeup of it.. I chose to look at the chemistry of aspirin because it i know a lot of people including myself use it daily,so it would be nice to know everything behind it.

Composition of ...

    • The inactive ingredients in Aspirin are carnauba wax, corn starch and hypromellose.
    • hypromellose or Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose is a polymer.
  • Corn starch is actually many different compounds. 25% amylase and 75% amylopectin

Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components

  • the formula for Aspirin is (C9H8o4)
  • Aspirin is Acetylsalicylic Acid. Salicylic acid is the main component of aspirin.
    • salicylic acid is a white, crystalline, very slightly water-soluble powder,prepared from salicin or phenol it is used as a food preservative, in the manufacture of aspirin, and in medicine in the form of asalicylate as a remedy for rheumatic and gouty conditions.

Chemistry's Role

How Does Aspirin Relieve Pain and Inflammation?

Damaged and pain-causing cells produce large amount of an enzyme called cylooxygenase. This enzyme produces a chemical called prostaglandin, which sends a message to the brain signaling that a specific part of the body is in pain .The chemical also causes the injured area to release fluids, causing it to swell or become inflamed.Aspirin goes to the cylooxygenase, and prevents it from producing prostaglandin. Some of the pain signals do not reach the brain and less pain is felt. The inflammation is minimized due to the lack of prostaglandin production.

How Does Aspirin Act as a Cardio-Protector?

Aspirin helps prevent heart attacks by preventing the accumulation of blood platelet cells, which can cause blood clots. Platelets are tiny blood cells that occupy the bloodstream. When a bleeding wound occurs, the platelets join together to form a clot to stop the bleeding. Blood clots are useful, but can be dangerous and cause heart attacks in some cases. Aspirin helps reduce the risk of a heart attack and strokes by the production of thromboxane, a chemical that causes platelets to stick. This chemical reduces the chances of clot formation and artery blockage.

How Does Aspirin Reduce Fevers?

Aspirin impacts the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates body temperature among many other functions. It interacts with the hypothalamus, causing it to reverse the temperature increase induced by the interleukins, which are signaling molecules produced by many of the body's cells.

Background Research

    • Carnauba wax is harvested from the Copernica cerifera palm tree, which grows in Brazil. The wax covers the leaves of the plant, protecting them from hot, dry weather. Workers cut the leaves, dry them in the sun and then process them mechanically to remove the wax. Carnauba wax is approved by the FDA and is frequently used in pharmaceutical applications such as the coating for tablets.
    • In aspirin, cornstarch may be used to coat the tablet, making it easier to swallow.
  • In 2005, almost one-fifth (19.3 percent) of U.S. adults said they take aspirin every day or every other day

How it is made?

  • Aspirin is made from four ingredients , acetylsalicylic acid with added corn starch and water serving as a binding agent and filler, and a lubricant to prevent the mixture from sticking to the machinery. Aspirin tablets come in different shapes, weight, size, thickness, and hardness which depend upon the dosage amount. The aspirin is then packaged into various size plastic bottles, topped with cotton, sealed, and safety sealed with a clear plastic band to protect the product. Various quality control measures are taken to test the aspirin to insure accurate dosage, table hardness, tablet disintegration.


how it affects your body and what it helps

chemicals involved in aspirin

general information and what aspirin is and made up of.

The Chemical equation for Aspirin

how aspirin helps different health problems

how aspirin works through the body and affects different areas of the body

About the Author

Asia Morris is a junior at Billings Senior High School. She enjoys learning new things. She has a part time job at McDonalds. Asia enjoys the outdoors and spending most of her time with friends and family.