Surprising Uses For Aspirin

When thirsty Thursdays turn into achy Fridays, aspirin can be our best friend. These tiny tablets are also ready to comfort us on our sick days, or when we feel a migraine lurking behind our eyes as we try to make a deadline.

"Aspirin is one of those things that, long before there were ever clinical trials or any kind of scientific knowledge, people figured out, 'Hey, I feel better when I take this substance,'" according to Dr. Karol Watson, assistant professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles' David Geffen School of Medicine (per CNN Health). German chemist Felix Hoffman is credited as the inventor of the drug in the 1890s. First sold in powder form to other physicians, it was made into tablets that saw over-the-counter distribution starting in 1915. 

Today, most of us are aware of (and grateful for) its pain-relieving benefits. However, it may be surprising to learn that popping an aspirin isn't the only way it can help both your health and your household.

Aspirin is the overachiever in your medicine cabinet

Interestingly, aspirin could be the answer to both your throbbing headache and your itchy scalp. The popular pain medication can be used as an active ingredient to treat dandruff. "Applying aspirin mixed with shampoo to your scalp may help reduce scalp inflammation that causes dandruff and help exfoliate flakes on the skin," says Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at New York City's Mount Sinai Hospital (via Everyday Health). To make this DIY anti-dandruff remedy, crush two capsules of aspirin and mix the power into your shampoo. Wash your hair as usual and remember to massage your scalp. Leave the sudsy mixture in your hair for five minutes before rinsing it off. 

In addition to helping address a flaky scalp, aspirin could also help you soothe skin irritated from a breakout. "Aspirin's primary ingredient, salicylic acid, helps beat zits by breaking down the offending clog and reducing inflammation, the root of redness," says dermatologist Kavita Mariwallak in an article on Men's Health. It may be worth keeping a bottle of aspirin readily available in your cleaning cabinet and garden shed as well. According to Everyday Health, aspirin can also be useful in removing stains from your clothes and helping your flowers and other plants grow. 

Aspirin may have the reputation of being a common, non-flashy OTC drug. Given its surprisingly numerous uses, though, perhaps it should really be crowned as the overachiever in your medicine cabinet.