What is Pharmacognosy?
Pharmacognosy is the study of drugs of natural origin
Pharmacognosy is the study of drugs of natural origin.
The term comes from two Greek words: “pharmakon” meaning drug or medicine, and “gnosis” meaning knowledge. The American Society of Pharmacognosy defines pharmacognosy as “the study of the physical, chemical, biochemical and biological properties of drugs, drug substances or potential drugs or drug substances of natural origin as well as the search for new drugs from natural sources.”
Plant preparations are said to be medicinal or herbal when they are used to promote health beyond basic nutrition.
The study of drugs from plants combines the subjects of botany, chemistry and pharmacology.
- Botany includes the identification (taxonomy), genetics, and cultivation of plants.
- Chemical characterization includes the isolation, identification and quantification of constituents in plant materials.
- Pharmacology is the study of the biological effects that the chemicals in medicinal plants have on cell cultures, animals and humans.
Use of herbal medicine necessitates attention to the following:
- Quality control: identity of plant materials, purity, consistency of product
- Efficacy: therapeutic indications, clinical studies, pharmacological investigations
- Safety: adverse reactions, drug interactions, contraindications, precautions
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