By Diarmuid Jeffreys
Aspirin is a drug so astonishingly flexible that it might probably relieve your headache, ease your aching limbs, decrease your temperature, and deal with many of the deadliest human illnesses, combating every little thing from center assaults to melanoma to strokes. And the background of the drug is simply as surprising.
Rich in dramatic twists and discoveries, the tale of aspirin starts off in old Egypt, and embraces wars, epidemics, espionage, an Oxfordshire vicar, a forgotten Jewish scientist, the economic Revolution, a typical tree, the Treaty of Versailles, the world's strongest pharmaceutical businesses, Auschwitz, a mercurial ads genius, and masses extra. Bringing alive a compelling forged of characters in a stunning trip throughout centuries, the writer finds how likelihood and layout introduced the drug into being as we all know it on the finish of the 19th century, and the way intrigue, greed, and ambition mixed to make aspirin the most commercially profitable items of all time.
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Extra info for Aspirin: The Remarkable Story of a Wonder Drug
At this stage in their development the Ancient Egyptians had few other pain relievers to hand, or at least none they regularly made use of. They didn't yet use opiates for example; although they knew of plants like the poppy and the mandrake, they were ignorant of their effects on the central nervous system and of their potential as sedatives. Neither is mentioned in Ebers. They did know of cannabis, however, but seemed to use it only as a salve and emetic. They certainly did not appreciate its narcotic effects.
She was living in Egypt for a time as the climate was said to be good for her health and compiling a book of her letters that went on to become one of the bestsellers of the Victorian era. Another intimate was Charles Goodwin, a well-known English Egyptologist based in Cairo with whom Smith kept up an intermittent correspondence about texts in the monuments at Luxor. But he spent most of his time among the locals. One of his closest, if most turbulent, relationships was with his landlord, Mustapha Agha Ayat, an Ethiopian by birth and a merchant by profession.
Which was why on market day, a stall that sold cures with such impressive titles as Aqua Mirabilis, Elixir Vitae or Heavenly Potion always did good business. And even if they didn't live up to the pedlar's promises and cure your chronic back pain or make your boils disappear, most of them contained sufficient alcohol to induce a temporary sense of well-being. In any case, the hawkers had a good line in health patter and you never knew what useful medical tips you might pick up. The Reverend Stone would have been as aware as anyone else of the discomfort and dangers of falling ill.