Four hundred years before the birth of the Christ, Hippocrates, the “father of medicine,” prescribed leaves and bark from willow tree for pain and fever. Over a thousand years later, a cleric of the Church of England rediscovered this pain reliever, but he took it a step further when he described the active ingredient as astringent. He’s credited with discovering salicylic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin. In 1897, because salicylic acid was so corrosive, two German chemists produced acetylsalicylic acid, or what we now know today as Aspirin. It was marketed by Bayer and registered as a “trade name” on 23 January, 1899.
Just seven years later, Dr Erlich’s “magic bullet” was patented as Salversan and the German corporation Bayer sprung out in front of all the existing pharmaceutical companies with these to drugs, though Bayer was a subsidiary of of IG Farben, the worlds largest chemical (and pharmaceutical) company in the world from 1925 to 1952.
If you read the history of Aspirin and Bayer, and their production, you’ll see that, because they lost the war (the first world war), they also lost their patents to both of these drugs. And I can personally inform you that, speaking with physicians who are also historians, I learned of a leaning among them toward the belief that America got into that war with the purpose of getting those two patents.
I’ve also spoken with a physician, who told me off the record, thus no names mentioned here, that Salvarsan was taken off the market because it cured cancer. Do what you want with that factoid; I’ve not been able to confirm or deny this since most records of Salversan’s history have been destroyed.
However, returning to our subject in hand, Harvard began its famous cohort study called the Physician’s Health Study, which eventually concluded that men who take aspirin on a regular basis can significantly reduce the risk of a first heart attack.
Even when we consider the advent of antibiotics, it seems that title of Wonder Drug must go to aspirin in the 20th century. By the nineties, every patient surviving a first heart attack walked away from his physician with a few prescriptions and a reminder to take an aspirin day.
The problem with this was that it was bad science because nobody had ever calculated both the benefits and risks of an aspirin per day regimen. But in 2004, the American Heart Journal published that the Warfarin/Aspirin Study in Heart Failure (WASH) provided no evidence in any greater protection against death (heart attack/stroke) than a placebo, and in fact, those on aspirin therapy were twice as likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke as those on Warfarin and those on the placebo.
But bad science never stopped the pharmaceutical industry from making a profit.
Bad science and profit motive are responsible for the spate of television advertising telling us that aspirin can save you from a heart attack. And the studies they use to back up their advertising have more holes than my helicopter I was shot down in during the Vietnam War.
First off, we do not get heart attacks because we do not have enough aspirin in our blood stream. We get heart attacks because we lack proper nutrition and proper lifestyles thus causing us to be hypercoagulable not to mention the inflammations in our blood streams adding to this condition.
The aspirin studies were done using “buffered” aspirin. When plain aspirin was used, the results were not the same; plain aspirin alone was almost as worthless as shoe polish in preventing heart attacks. One of the main ingredients in buffered aspirin is magnesium (sometimes calcium). We get heart attacks because we do not have enough magnesium in our blood stream. Magnesium dilates blood vessels, aids potassium absorption, acts as a natural blood thinner, and keeps your blood cells from clumping together causing thrombosis (clotting).
Autopsies of people who have died from heart attacks show that their bodies are lacking in magnesium, not aspirin.
Daily aspirin use is dangerous. Their own studies proved the dangers of aspirin use. Strokes due to hemorrhaging (hemorrhagic strokes) were up significantly in all studies.
Randomized clinical trials testing aspirin in 5011 elderly people, 58% of whom were women, mean age 72 years, followed for a mean of 4.2 years, showed that use of aspirin caused a 4-fold increase in hemorrhagic stroke (P=0.003) and a 1.6- to 1.8-fold increase in ischemic stroke. [R. A. Kronmal et al., Stroke 29, 887-894 (1998)]
All the studies showed increases in gastrointestinal disorders and allergic reactions. Using aspirin over a period of time can lead to internal bleeding, stomach ulcers, kidney dysfunction, and death.
From the Associated Press in 1999, death by analgesics (over the counter pain killers such as aspirin and NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) is the 15th most common cause of death in America. The silent epidemic, the author called it.
And then there is Reye’s syndrome and allergic reactions to aspirin: 1,600 children die each year from allergic reactions to aspirin.
From the World Chiropractic Alliance (Feb 1999) we get:
Patients with blockage of arteries to the brain are three times more likely to have a stroke if they are taking aspirin; dyspepsia and gastrointestinal hemorrhage occur in 31% of those taking 300 mg of aspirin per day; even low doses of aspirin can increase the risk of brain hemorrhage; other side effects can include anemia, bleeding ulcers, confusion and dizziness and numerous other problems.
Is there any doubt that aspirin is a drug? It has its place in medicine, but not in long term use.
We have an updated article on Aspirin Therapy here: http://wellnessjourneys.org/2017/11/21/aspirin-therapy-revisited/
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