The Truth About Aspirin

Drugs are prescribed, and taken every day for a variety of health concerns, and depending on the strength of the chemicals involved, they can either be considered quite benign, or quite dangerous. Aspirin, for example, is the chemical derivative of the natural and ancient headache remedy, white willow bark.

Aspirin is the synthetic version of white willow, which has been taken for centuries as a method of relieving pain from multiple problems, including headache, backache, arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. The bark contains the naturally occurring chemical, salicin and this is what relieves the pain and suffering.

White willow bark also contains polyphenols and flavonoids, plant chemicals known to reduce fevers, increase immunity and have antiseptic and antioxidant properties. For this reason, the bark was used in a variety of ways, including as a poultice on the skin to treat abrasions, and drinking the bark as a tea.

The drug, aspirin, first appeared in the world in the latter part of the 19th century and became known as the premier headache and fever reducing remedy. It was also thought of as being relatively benign and gradually gained the reputation of usefulness in treating other health problems, including blood and heart conditions, due to its salicylic acid content.

The knowledge of aspirin's interesting ability to thin blood came later but by then it was already common for people to take upwards of three to six aspirin at a time to treat pain. This was done because for many years it was widely accepted that aspirin was harmless. People simply didn't think of the compound as a drug with possible dangerous side effects, due to its previously innocent reputation.

Problem is, when taken too often, the therapeutic effects of aspirin tend to dull when the body gets too used to them. Hence the gradual increase of the amount of drug needed to reduce pain. Before long, the pain sufferer requires ever stronger medications to cause the relief that only one aspirin used to accomplish all by itself.

Unlike the natural salicin found in white willow bark, salicylic acid can thin the blood, which can be helpful to people with clotting diseases. However, some of the more serious side effects of taking too much aspirin for an extended period of time include: 1.)Stomach or intestinal bleeding, caused by a thinning of the lining of these organs. 2.) Worsening of asthma symptoms and causing allergic reactions in some people.

In fact, it's possible for people to actually bleed to death as a result of hidden ulcers, thanks to the over-use of aspirin. For this reason, natural white willow bark is gradually increasing in popularity again. Aspirin is not dead yet however. In fact, it is still the most commonly sold pain relieving drug on the market, and will likely continue to be so for many years to come.

It needs to be said, of course, that too much of any good thing can be a bad thing in the long run, as even the most natural remedies may cause side effects if taken in large quantities. The old expression, “everything in moderation” comes into play here. It seems that a lot of things that we take for granted, including the air we breathe, and the water we drink, can cause illness or even death, if used incorrectly.

A good way to look at it is this: Take only what you need when you need it, and don't take anything too often. See a doctor if you have persistent headaches or body aches, and do your research to find out what is in the remedies that you use for pain. This way, you are less likely to make your health problems worse rather than better.