Ancient peoples made the first “aspirin” using acetylsalicylic acid, an ingredient found in plants like willow trees. Over the centuries, salicylic concoctions became known as the most effective antiinflammatories and pain relievers on earth.
Now aspirin’s reputation as a wonder drug is getting another good polishing: The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has declared that a daily dose of the little white pill can cut the risk for heart attacks, stroke, and colon cancer for people over 50.
Taking aspirin regularly also lessened the likelihood of tumors in 4,000 brain cancer patients, according to a study presented to an annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. The drug is thought to block a body compound linked to inflammation and tumors.
Study scientists also checked to see if other common pain relievers like ibuprofen and naproxen had the same effect, but found no evidence of that.
The aspirin dosage used in most studies is about 75mg a day, but talk to your doc before starting any aspirin therapy on your own—especially if you're a healthy dude under 50. Dr. Steven E. Nissen, Chairman of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, only recommends a daily asprin for those who are at very high risk of a heart attack or previously suffered from a heart attack. Nissen belives there are more negative side effects than positive ones for healthy adults with no history of heart disease. "The lower your risk, the more likely aspirin is to do harm rather than good," said Nissen.
Check out the history of the little white pill on the following slides: