From Sausage To Botox

Though it’s best known for smoothing wrinkles, Botox, which is derived from one of the most deadly toxins known to man, has repeatedly stunned medical community for its seemingly endless applications. Though the drug is approved for nine medical conditions and several cosmetic ones, Allergan, the company that owns Botox, holds close to 800 more patents for potential uses of the drug. Since it was approved nearly 30 years ago, Botox has indeed become a staple of cosmetic enhancement.

  • Who would have thought that a batch of rotten sausage in the 1800s could lead to the cosmetic “miracle drug” we know as “Botox” today? In the 1820s, Dr. Justinus Kerner was studying a batch of toxic sausages that had killed several German people. Dr. Kerner asserted that there was something within these blood sausages that brought on a disease he called “Wurstgift” (German for sausage poison). This sausage poison would be what we now know as botulism, which is a deadly disease caused by improper ingestion of botulinum toxin. Dr. Kerner went so far as to inject himself with the poison he had discovered (which didn’t kill him), and his work paved the way for the study of botulism in the years to come.
  • The Latin word for sausage is botulus.
  • It’s wild to think that the ingredient used to make people look younger, can also be so incredibly fatal. In the 1940s, when the US government began researching biological weapons to use in the fight against their enemies, botulinum toxin was at the forefront of this research. According to an article published in a medical journal in 2004, the US had planned for Chinese prostitutes to slip tiny capsules filled with deadly botulinum toxin into the drinks of Japanese officials. The plan, however, was never put into action as it was abandoned before the pills were given out.
  • Botox works on wrinkles caused by muscle movement, but unfortunately, it does not work on wrinkles caused by the sun damage. Photo-damage occurs on the surface of the skin. Botox works on the muscles beneath the surface, and, therefore, is not effective for reducing the appearance of wrinkles caused by sun damage. Use sun protection at all times!
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