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Introduction of Pharmacognosy

Definition: Pharmacognosy is defined as the systemic study of crude drugs along with geographical source, history, method of cultivation, collection and preparation for the market.
Pharmacognosy also defined as the systemic study of crude drugs obtained from natural origin like plants, animals, minerals and microbes.

Drug: Any substance used in the treatment of disease or diagnosis is known as drug. Diagnosis is the determination of nature of disease.

Crude drug: Crude drugs are the drugs which are obtained from the natural sources like plants, animals, minerals & they are used as such as the occurs in nature without any processing except drying & size reduction.

• The term Pharmacognosy comes from two Greek words: “Pharmakon” meaning drug ormedicine, and “gnosis” meaning knowledge or study.

• Pharmacognosy defined as the branch of science which involves details study of drug obtain from natural origin including name, collection, cultivation, macroscopy, microscopy, physical property, chemical constituents, therapeutic action and uses.

  • Classification of crude Drugs 1). Organization and 2). Unorganised Drug

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Contribution of various scientist for development of pharmacognosy are as follows:

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➢ Charaka: He made 50 groups of 10 herbs. Each and every drug has medicinal effects. Charka Samhita is the first recorded treatise which based on the practice of Ayurveda.
➢ Sushruta (600 B.C.): He arranged 760 herbs in 7 different sets based on their
properties. Sushruta author of Sushrut Samhita in which surgery in Ayurveda.
He was consider as a “Father of surgical medicine/surgery”

➢ Hippocrates (460-370 B.C.) He worked on Anatomy and physiology on circulatory and nervous system. He prepared famous oath for physician, which is still taken by the physician. He was regraded as Father of Medicine”
➢ Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) He studied on classifying plant and animal kingdom. He was regarded as “Father of natural history.”
➢ Theophrastus (370-287 B.C.) He wrote about plants and described medicinal uses of plants.

➢ C.A. Seydler, German scientist (1815), Seydler was the general scientist and wrote a titled Analectica Pharmacognostica in 1815. In this book he used word Pharmacognosy first time this word by combining two Greek words, Pharnakon: Drug and genosis: study.
➢ Galen (131-200 A.D.) He was the Greek pharmacist. He worked on extraction of chemical constituents from the plants. He developed various methods of extraction. The branch of pharmacy which deals with the extraction of chemical constituents from plants and animals is called as “Galenical Pharmacy” He was regarded as “First Pharmacist”


Medicinal plants have great value in the treatment and care of disease.
1. Pharmacognosy is important branch of pharmacy which play an important role in new drug discovery by using natural products.
2. It is an important link between allopathy and traditional system of medicine. It is a part of medicine system which is affordable as for the common man.
3. More than 60% word population is still using natural products for their primary health care needs.
4. Pharmacognosy includes knowledge about safe use of herbal drugs.
5. It is acting as bridge between pharmacology, medical chemistry and also pharmaceutics.
6. By mean of pharmacognosy natural products can be dispensed, formulated and manufactured in dosage forms acceptable to modern system of medicine.

Traditional system of medicine


Ayurveda System of medicine

• It is one of the oldest system of medicine in the world. Ayurveda is based on the concept that everything in the universe is composed of five basic elements space, air, energy, liquid and solid. They exist in human body in combined forms like VATA (air) & PITTA (energy and liquid) and KAPHA (solid and liquid).
• This vata pitta kapha together are called Tridosha (Three pillars of life) when Tridosha are in balance with each other, it is called as healthy condition while imbalance cause a pathological condition.
• An Ayurvedic practitioner will create a treatment specifically for particular individual. The goal of the treatment is to cleanse the body of undigested food.

Unani System of Medicine

• Unani medicine, also called by various names in different parts of the word such as Unani tibb, Arabian medicine, or Islamic medicine, a traditional system of healing and health maintenance observed in South Asia. The origins of Unani medicine are found in the doctrines of the ancient Greek physicians Hippocrates and Galan.
• The Unani system of medicine aims at treating the causes of disease and not its symptoms. For this purpose, history of the patient is recorded in addition to his pulse and urine examination.
• The literature of the Unani system is mostly found in Arabic, Persian and Urdu languages.

Homoeopathic System of Medicine

• Homeopathy is a newer one and has been developed in eighteenth century by “Samuel Hahnemann” a German physician and chemist.
• In this system, the drug treatment is not specified, but the choice of the drug depends on systems and the clinical condition of the patient.
• Plants used in homeopathy are: Marigold, arnica, honeybees, nux- vomica, ergot, ipecacunha.

Siddha System of Medicine

• The term Siddha means achievement in which the practice of Bhakti and Yoga.
• Like Ayurveda this system believes the role of three humours i.e. Vata,
pitta and kapha and all the objects in the universe are made up of five basic elements earth, water, sky, fire and air.
• The identification of the disease is done through pulse reading, study of voice, urine examination and status of digestive system and examination of tongue.
• Medicines are: Abini (Papaver somniferum), Gomathai (Dhatura), Ethi (Nux-vomica)
• Siddha Vaidya keeps the knowledge of thousands of herbs and their effectiveness in specific composition and formulation.
Kashayam (extracts); churnam (powders); tailams (medicated oils);
bhasmam (calx prepared by calcination); ghritam (medicated ghee).


• It is one of the most ancient healing art in which aromatic substance, scented massage, aromatic baths used.
• Different essential oils from various parts of plants are massaged into skin to treat a range of disease to have an effect on the mind and emotions.
• They have been shown to heal wounds, treat acne, and other skin problems, headache, stress, insomnia etc.
• Various essential oils used in aroma therapy are jasmine, lavender, rosemary and sandalwood.
• Plant essential oils have therapeutic powers in addition to beneficial fragrance, and have antiseptic action in different degrees.