"The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses. Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins."
The aspirin tablet has been hailed as the miracle drug of the twentieth century. Although it took the twentieth century to flavor, coat and stamp little letters on aspirin, people have been using aspirin for centuries. The most common form in which aspirin has been taken is as willow bark tea.
Aspirin has relieved billions of headaches and brought nearly as many fevers under control over the years. In recent years, aspirin has become even more important since studies have shown that as little as half an aspirin per day can help prevent heart attacks.
Despite its long standing use in medicine, physicians had no idea how aspirin worked until a few decades ago. Researchers now know that aspirin does not simply mask the pain of a headache, but it chemically turns off the cause of the average headache. It does this by deactivating the chemical made by the blood vessels that causes them to constrict. Another member of that same family of chemicals, called prostaglandins, prevents blood platelets from sticking together, helping blood to flow more freely and preventing heart attacks. This is also why aspirin can cause stomach bleeding.
In His foreknowledge, our Creator knew, regretfully, that the human race would fall into sin. He knew that among the effects of a world changed by sin would be pain and sickness. So in His mercy He provided plants that would make the active ingredient in aspirin. But the greatest expression of His love for us was in providing us with a cure for sin itself in His Son, Jesus Christ.
Notes: Shodell, Michael. 1983. "The prostaglandin connection." Science 83. p. 78.
Photo: Early ad from Bayer, when it sold not only aspirin but heroin.
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