Aspirin is the common name for acetylsalicylic acid. Its name comes from spirea, a plant that yields salicylic acid. The willow tree also produces the same acid. The bark of willows was used by ancient Romans and North American Indians as a medicine for pain and fever.

German chemists first made acetylsalicylic acid in 1853. It was further developed at the Bayer chemical laboratories at Dusseldorf and it was then named aspirin.