Definition, history, present status and scope of Pharmacognosy

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INTRODUCTION – The word pharmacognosy derived from two Greek word that is
Pharmakon – Drug or Medicine
Gnosis – To Acquire Knowledge
Discorides was a Greek physician, is known as the ‘Father of pharmacognosy’, who described several
plants of medicinal importance in his book “De Materia Medica”.
CA Seydler was a German scientist, who gave the term Pharmacognosy in 1815 in his
book, “Analecta Pharmacognostica”.
DEFINITION- Pharmacognosy is defined as the scientific and systematic study of structural,
physical, chemical and biological characters of crude drugs along with their history, method of
cultivation, collection and preparation for the market.
Pharmacognosy is the branch of science that deals with the study of drug obtained from
natural sources. For ex.
In the ancient time early man went to search of food at random plant part such as fruit route leave
etc. No harmful effect to observed considered them as eligible material and use them as food.
They also observed other effect by eating they were considered as non-eligible material and
according to the effect of plant parts they used them in treating symptoms of disease the knowledge
was obtained by trial and error.
The important stage of history of pharmacognosy of following as: –
1. 3500-1500 BC: – Medicinal property and use of plant are described in (Rig Veda, Atharva Veda) and
Yajur Veda.
2. 1500 BC: – Papyrus ebres of Egyptians describe the medicinal importance of plant (drug).
3. 1600 BC:- Edwin Smith papyrus describe the surgical interaction of cosmetic formulation
4. 2700 BC: – Shen Nung Emperor of Chinese investigate the medicinal value of several 100 herb and
have written the first PEN-T-SAO on native herbal recording 365 drug.