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Old 06-26-2017, 06:25 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
The compound in willow bark is salicylic acid. Aspirin is acetylsalicylic acid, a closely-related compound derived from it. Both have similar benefits, but the side effects from salicylic acid are much worse, especially on the digestive system. And it's not easy to process salicylic acid into acetylsalicylic acid.
Figuring how to do that was one of the biggest discoveries in the history of chemistry: protected reactions. If you try to do it the obvious way it doesn't work, the acetyl group sticks in the wrong place. You have to protect this wrong site, then add the acetyl and then deprotect. This has now become routine, allowing many synthesis which would be impossible by the apparent direct routes.

Last edited by Nava; 06-26-2017 at 06:27 AM.