What is Botox?
Botulinumtoxine, also called Botulinum or Botox, is a proteine, which is gained by the bacteria Clostridium Botulinum. It is not a snake poison. It can weaken or block nerve impulses to the muscle. That is why the muscle contraction ability can be weakend or repealed- depending on the dose.
In the year 1820 the german physician Justinus Kerner discovered a substance in spoiled sausages. So he called it Botulinumtoxin. It means toxine of sausages.
There are 7 subtypes of it. They are called serotypes A, B, C, D, E, F, G.
The concentration of it can be so high in spoiled goods, that people, who eat and get this into the metabolism, can die. That is the origin of the word poison in context with Botulinumtoxin.
The word Botox is a brand of the company Allergan. It contains Botulinum, which is produced biotechnological in a standardized way. There are many checkings and the substance does not contain any bacteria. So the asthetic wrinkle treatment is not dangerous in the hand of a specialist. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für ästhetische Botulinumtoxin-Therapie e.v. (DGBT) explains, that the word toxine should be abolished because it has no relevance in asthetic or medical treatment. You should better use the word “Botulinum”.
Because the word Botox is very popular, we use it in a synonymous way to Botulinum, although Botulinum is the substance name and Botox the brand name.
Botox is often in media, because many celebrities may use it. You can find some famous users here.
Botulinum for medical purposes
Nowadays Botox is licensed in more than 70 countries for more than 20 different applications. Over 30 years it is used in neurology to treat illnesses which are caused by spastics or muscle hyperactivity like for example Torticollis or hyperactive bladder. Furthermore botox helps to treat migrane, pain und depressions.
When used for medical applications the dose is much higher than in asthetic treatments.
Botox is also used to treat sweating in the axilla (Hyperhidrosis) like Micaela Schäfer does.
It is one of the best researched substances with more than 1500 publications.
It is also used treating babies or little children. Long term side effects are not known.
Here you can find a documentation of migrane and bladder treatments from the bayrischen Rundfunk.