How was Aspirin invented?

Aspirin was originally made from the willow plant, which is high in salicylate.  Hippocrates first used salicylic tea to help fevers in the year 400 BC!   In 1853, a chemist named Charles Gerhardt treated acetyl chloride with sodium salicylate and made “acetylsalicylic acid”, or aspirin as we know it, for the first time.  In 1899, the Bayer company called this Aspirin, and began selling it around the world.

Now, 16,000 tons of aspirin tablets are sold a year!  Aspirin helps fevers and pain, can help prevent heart attacks, and is even thought to prevent some types of cancer such as colorectal, endometrial (uterine), breast and prostate.



Why did Queen Elizabeth get Lead Poisoning?

Queen Elizabeth I began her reign in 1558, and was one of the most successful monarchs in England’s History.  Historians however, believe that the makeup she wore was slowly poisoning her!  Queen Elizabeth had Smallpox as a young woman, and it left scarring on her face.  To cover the scars, she wore makeup called “Ceruse”, which is lead powder mixed with vinegar, and gave her the pale, milky complexion she has in paintings.  Gradually it led to weakness, hair loss,  and paralysis from lead poisoning.




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