Some medicines, such as penicillin, are made by organisms, but most are manufactured from chemicals, and many of these are made from petroleum products. Acetylsalicylic acid, or ASA, is the active ingredient in many of the well-known, over-the-counter pain relievers. ASA is manufactured from petrochemicals. One of the first uses of oil, dating back thousands of years, was as medicine. Other early uses included illumination and as a boat resin to help keep ships sea-worthy.

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