Aspirin is a salicylate and has a chemical formula of C9H8O4, according to PubChem. It is odorless and may appear as a colorless or white powder.
Salicylates work by reducing chemicals in the body that cause inflammation, explains Drugs.com. Aspirin is primarily used to treat pain and fever, although extended-release capsules may also help prevent heart attack and stroke, notes PubMed Health. It is classified as an analgesic and antirheumatic for inflammation relief, and as a platelet aggregation inhibitor for preventing blood clots.
Aspirin may cause stomach bleeding, especially if used in combination with alcohol, states Drugs.com. Patients with a history of bleeding disorders and pregnant and nursing women should not take aspirin.