Who discovered morphine?

Already in ancient times opium, the dried juice of poppy capsules, was known as a painkiller. However, how many active ingredients are present in Rohopium, and why equal amounts of opium often achieved different effects, needed more accurate analysis.

History of morphine

Only in 1805 did the groundbreaking isolation of the effective principle of opium succeed. Morphine was called the sleeping substance for the time being, according to Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams. Later, morphine was given the name morphine.

Johann Friedrich Gmelin describes in his book "History of the Plant Poison" from the year 1777 the effect of opium as follows: "Through the nerves the poppy juice acts on the soul.A weak weight puts the mind in a peace and serenity, as long as this Effect lasts, even the most violent pains and most depressing grief defies. "

acids and bases

At the time of the discovery of morphine, only acids were known as herbal agents. When Paderborn pharmacy assistant Friedrich Wilhelm Adam Sertürner (1783-1841) published his discovery in Trommsdorff's Journal der Pharmazie and at the same time claimed that morphine was an alkaline base, his findings were ignored. Only later was it recognized that the first representative of a class of substances was discovered with morphine: the alkaloids. Several alkaloids have since been obtained from opium, the mixing ratio of which varies according to origin, which explains the difference in the effect of equal doses of opium.

Effect of morphine

The strongest component of opium is morphine, a highly effective, analgesic anesthetic whose isolation revolutionized medicine, especially surgery. Soon, however, it was found that not only in opium, but also in morphine addictive. However, as these are barely present in the dosage needed in modern pain control, morphine remains the first choice for controlling severe and chronic conditions.

Friedrich Wilhelm Adam Sertürner worked in his later years as a pharmacist in Einbeck and Hameln, where he devoted himself incidentally to further research. Sertüner died at the age of 58 and was buried in the Bartholomew chapel in Einbeck. On his tombstone is to read: "Through the meritorious discovery of morphine, he was the blessing of many sick people."

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