White willow is the oldest recorded analgesic, or painkiller, in human history. In 1828, chemists extracted the constituent salicin from white willow bark and converted it to salicylic acid. At the end of the nineteenth century, acetylsalicylic acid was synthetically produced and aspirin was born. Due to the cheap and easy production of aspirin, white willow eventually lost its popularity as a pain and fever reliever.
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