Body can produce its own aspirin

Photo courtesy of peoplespharmacy

New Year’s Day headache?

If you, like many others around the world today, have a New Year’s Day headache (and/or a hangover), you’re probably at that fragile state teetering between kill-me-already and let-me-die.

Hair of the dog

The bad news: The old remedy of a hair of the dog that bit you will not help your hangover/headache. In fact, it can worsen it after temporarily blunting some of the symptoms. Science Daily reports that there is no reliable evidence that hangover cures work.

The idea of Similia similibus curantur (“like cures like”) dates back at least to the time of Hippocrates and the phrase, hair of the dog, can be traced back to Shakespeare’s time:

The origin of the phrase is literal, and comes from an erroneous method of treatment of a rabid dog bite by placing hair from the dog in the bite wound. The use of the phrase as a metaphor for a hangover treatment dates back to the time of William Shakespeare. Ebenezer Cobham Brewer writes in the Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (1898): “In Scotland it is a popular belief that a few hairs of the dog that bit you applied to the wound will prevent evil consequences. Applied to drinks, it means, if overnight you have indulged too freely, take a glass of the same wine next morning to soothe the nerves. ‘If this dog do you bite, soon as out of your bed, take a hair of the tail in the morning.'”


Zesty armpits and fried canaries

Despite a lack of scientific evidence, people swear by their cures and
you can find many online sources that tout various cures–from rubbing your armpits with a lemon (allegedly a Puerto Rican cure)  to  fried canaries (ancient Romans). There’s even a patron saint of hangovers, St. Vivian, and a patron saint of headaches, St. Teresa of Avila; you can get your own St. Vivian figurine here.  There’s a brief history of hangover cures for your perusing pleasure at

Body can produce its own aspirin

Here’s the good news: a study suggests that the human body can produce salicylic acid, the key component that gives aspirin its
anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.

Salicylic acid (SA) previously had been found in the blood of people
who had not taken aspirin recently — especially vegetarians. This made
sense because salicylic acid is a natural substance found in fruits and

However, researchers in the United Kingdom who gave study participants benzoic acid, another natural substance in fruits and vegetables that the human body could use to produce salicylic acid, concluded that people can make their own SA based on the subsequent changes in the participants’ SA levels.

Their findings appear in the Dec. 24 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

US News and World Report

So, your body just might be trying to give you some relief right now.

Two aspirin
Annette Marie Hyder
Previously published in Aesthetica Magazine

He says
What? You came
all the way to NYC
and you didn’t even call?
We could have had coffee!

How do I tell him?
I really didn’t
feel like seeing you
just now.

I know what an aspirin
time and distance can be
for the headache of love
so I’m taking two
and I will “call you in the morning.”

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