Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2017

Document Type


First Advisor

Paul Sabila

Second Advisor

Daniel J. Lundberg

Third Advisor

Adebowale Ogunjirin


Pharmaceuticals have become a big business today. However, the costs of medications are continuously increasing, due to several factors such as an increased demand. This is one of the many reasons herbal remedies continue to be used; 80% of the world still uses herbal medicine as their primary form of treatment. Due to this, one must evaluate and compare herbal remedies to their pharmaceutical counterparts to ensure that individuals have the same quality of medicine. Different brands of commercial aspirin were compared to its herbal counterpart, white willow bark, to validate their similarities in chemical structure. This project will serve as a guideline for future comparisons of natural plants to pharmaceutically synthesized medications. Gas chromatography–mass spectroscopy (GC-MS) results show that salicylic acid from willow bark has similar spectra and major peaks when compared to acetylsalicylic acid from aspirin. This is confirmed by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR); they are chemically similar with the exception of an extra acidic group in acetylsalicylic acid. Thin-layer chromatography (TLC) analysis confirmed salicylic acid and acetylsalicylic acid was of the same chemical species. Ultraviolet-visible light spectroscopy (UV-Vis) showed that willow bark had more salicylic acid than the commercial aspirin, which could infer that willow bark may be more potent than commercial aspirin. Further studies in mice are proposed to compare the drugs’ effect in a biological setting.



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