Pharmacognosy means the science which has the task to learn everything about drugs originating from plants or animals in all aspects, except the physiological effect, to describe them correctly and under a general vision connect this knowledge.
Pharmacognosy” was used to define the branch of medicine or commodity sciences (Warenkunde in German) which deals with drugs in their crude or unprepared form. Crude drugs are the dried, unprepared material of plant, animal or mineral origin, used for medicine. The study of these materials under the name pharmakognosie was first developed in German-speaking areas of Europe. the first signs for a new era became obvious with the introduction of a very successful synthetic drug: Aspirin. The first example of using nature as the lead for a new synthetic drug.
Despite some obvious failures, such as heroin, gradually synthetic chemistry became more important for developing new drugs. The wish to have pharmaceutical formulations with single pure compounds with well-defined activities was an important driving force in this trend. Pharmacognosists have always been very keen on introducing new technologies into their discipline.
The subject had developed mainly on the botanical side, being particularly concerned with the description and identification of drugs both in their whole state and in powder form. It was used for the quality control of pharmaceutical preparations from plants. However, for too many years pharmacognosy remained with these methods, and with the rapidly decreasing number of herbal preparations in the pharmacy, the discipline had great difficulties in holding their prominent position in the pharmaceutical curriculum in the sixties and seventies.
Then the contemporary study of pharmacognosy was divided into the various fields of
- Medical Ethnobotany: the study of the traditional use of plants for medicinal purposes;
- Marine Pharmacognosy: the study of chemicals derived from marine organisms.
- Phytotherapythe medicinal use of plant extracts.
- Phytochemistry: the study of chemicals derived from plants (including the identification of new drug candidates derived from plant sources).
- Zoopharmacognosy: the process by which animals self-medicate, by selecting and using plants, soils, and insects to treat and prevent disease.
- Analytical Pharmacognosy: Analytical Study of drugs obtained from natural sources.
- Ethnopharmacology: the study of the pharmacological qualities of traditional medicinal substances;
The future is in collaboration between experts, multidisciplinary teams solving scientific (e.g. biological) problems together, rather than mono-disciplinary approaches. Making the drugs of the future by biotechnology, or finding new ones through bioprospecting. In this approach, the Pharmacognosists have their contribution with their strong points.
International Conference on Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy
Sep 20-22, 2018
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