Friedrich Sertürner  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Friedrich Wilhelm Adam Sertürner (19 June 1783 - 20 February 1841) was a German pharmacist, who discovered morphine in 1804.


He was born on 19 June 1783 near Neuhaus.

As a pharmacist's apprentice in Paderborn, he was the first to isolate morphine from opium. He called the isolated alkaloid "morphium" after the Greek god of dreams, Morpheus. It was not only the first alkaloid to be extracted from opium, but the first ever alkaloid to be isolated from any plant. Thus he became the first person to isolate the active ingredient associated with a medicinal plant or herb.

In the years following, he investigated the effects of morphine. However, it only became widely used after 1815. In 1809, Sertürner opened his first own pharmacy in Einbeck. In 1822, he bought the main pharmacy in Hamelin (Rathaus Apotheke), where he worked until his death in 1841.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Friedrich Sertürner" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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