One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A bitter compound present in willow bark. It is a glucoside related to aspirin, and accounts for the ancient use of willow bark as a pain-relieving drug.
- ‘It contains at least six compounds that relax muscles, as well as salicin, the pain-relieving compound from which aspirin is derived.’
- ‘White Willow bark is often called herbal aspirin because it contains salicin which has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.’
- ‘Chemically salicin can be converted to salicilic acid, a very successful treatment of fever and gout.’
- ‘The willow bark contained salicin, the pharmacological ancestor of a family of drugs called salicylates, of which aspirin is probably the most famous.’
- ‘The willow tree bark and leaves are rich in salicin, a compound similar to acetylsalicylic acid, the chemical name for aspirin.’
Mid 19th century: from French salicine, from Latin salix, salic- ‘willow’.
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