WHAT IS PHARMACOGNOSY?
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 includes the subjects of botany,
chemistry and pharmacology.
Botany includes the identification (taxonomy), genetics, and
cultivation of plants.
Chemical characterization of includes the isolation,
identification and quantification of constituents in plant
Pharmacology is the study of the biological effects that the
chemicals in medicinal plants have on cell cultures, animals and
The renaissance of herbal medicine in this country creates a
demand for studies in the field of pharmacognosy. From a practical
perspective this includes:
* quality control (identity, purity, consistency)
* efficacy (therapeutic indications, clinical studies,
* safety (adverse reactions, drug interactions, contraindications,
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