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The Over-the-Counter Wonder Drug That Fights Inflammation

aspirin_400It’s one of the oldest remedies known to mankind, and it can ward off a medley of ailments with its anti-inflammatory powers. Here’s why you should consider taking baby aspirin if you’re middle-aged, from A Short Guide to a Long Life.

Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, used aspirin’s active ingredient, salicylic acid, which he extracted from the bark and leaves of the willow tree, to help alleviate pain and fevers. In 1897, the German chemist Felix Hoffmann developed the first commercially available aspirin for Bayer, and since then, this wonder drug has proved its value as an effective, trusty analgesic.

Today we know that aspirin has far-reaching effects on the body as a whole that go beyond easing our headaches and sore backs. Many high-quality research studies have confirmed that the use of aspirin not only substantially reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, but it can even ward off a medley of ailments through its anti-inflammatory powers. A daily low-dose aspirin (75 milligrams; similar to the more commonly available dose in the United States of 81 milligrams) has even been shown to reduce the risk of developing common malignant cancers in the lungs, colon, and prostate by a staggering 46 percent. So if you’re basking in the glory of middle age, this might be something you’ll want to discuss with your doctor (as there are side effects to aspirin such as bleeding that are real). It’s the cheapest fountain of youth around and requires no prescription.

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