Morphine

Kabay JánosKabay János

Morphine

Used from the early 1800s to decrease the sensation of pain, morphine was extracted from raw opium. In the 1920s, Hungarian pharmacist Janos Kabay revolutionized morphine extraction: he earned it not only from the immature poppy-head but from the dry poppy-straw.

Morphine is produced from poppy-headsMorphine is produced from poppy-heads

Did you know?

The most significant poppy cultivating and importing countries are India a Turkey. In addition, the Czeck Republic, Hungary, and Romania are also considered important poppy farming countries.

Morphine was studied in 1923 to determine its chemical structure in an effort to create a potent analgesic free from undesirable properties such as addiction and respiratory depression. Understanding exactly how the naturally-occurring extract worked in the body allowed a synthetic version of morphine to be developed and subsequent and safer drugs to be created, such as nalorphine and naloxone in 1961.

The tomb of Janos Kabay in Budapest, HungaryThe tomb of Janos Kabay in Budapest, Hungary

Morphine molecule