Wednesday, March 6, 2013

History of pharmacology

The term pharmacology is derived from the Greek words pharmakon, which means ‘a drug’ and logos, which means a ‘reasonable’ or ‘rational discussion’.

In almost every culture, healers mixed their medicine with onions, garlic, urine, excrement or other foul smelling or strong tasting stuff.

Since the immemorial, medicaments have been used for treating disease in humans and animals. The world oldest accounts of therapeutic were from India and China. The Rigveda was written in 2500-3000 BC.

In China the earliest record compilation of drugs, the Pen Tiao consisted of a list of herbal remedies complied in the reign of Chinese Emperor Shennung in 2700 BC.

Later, Charaka, an ancient physician and Sushruta, a renowned surgeon, described various medicinal preparations.

The first true material medica, a compilation so therapeutic substances and their uses, was compiled in 77 AD by Aristotle’s student Diascorides, while serving as a surgeon in Nero’s Roman Legion.

In the 17th century, a favorite medicine was ‘Elixir Universale’. It contained gold, powdered lions heart, witch hazel, earthworms, dried human brains and Egyptians onions.

Johann Jakob Wepfer (1620-1695) was the first to verify by animal experimentation assertions about pharmacological or toxicological actions.

It is only in the last 60 or 70 years ago that chemists have begin to discover all the acids, sugar, alkaloids, starches, gum, resins, tannin, oils, mucilage, vitamins, steroids, minerals traces of metals and other active ingredients in plants.
History of pharmacology
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