The Role of Chemistry in History

The Role of Chemistry in History header image 2

Ancient Anesthetics

April 21st, 2008 · 2 Comments ·

|Introduction|Structures and Properties|Ancient Anesthetics|From Co to Pro: History Affects|

|Beyond the Dentist Chair: Novocaine Affects|Allergies|References|



The medical practice of anesthesia and the quest to alleviate a patient’s pain transcends back centuries with different civilizations developing their own unique ways to dull the pain. In modern society, however, the greatest advancement in anesthetics was the discovery of cocaine. Using cocaine as local anesthesia paved the way for the development of Novocaine, which was a safer alternative to cocaine.

Although cocaine was used among the Incas and other societies with a strong cocoa leaf population, it was not until the invention of the hypodermic syringe that cocaine infiltrated mainstream medical society. Cocaine proved to be a solid numbing local anesthetic that was used in mostly oral and eye surgeries.

 Eventually, however, the strong toxicity and addictive nature of cocaine proved dangerous in the field and chemists looked towards making a new and better compound.


Tags: Procaine (Novocaine)