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History of Pharmacy

History of Pharmacy


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Published by Dr. Mussadiq Latif
History of Pharmacy, Evolution and Develoment from Ancient times to the modern pharmaceutical industry with the special contribution of muslim scientists in different eras.

Dr. Tahseen Ismail
Lecturer of Pharmaceutics
History of Pharmacy, Evolution and Develoment from Ancient times to the modern pharmaceutical industry with the special contribution of muslim scientists in different eras.

Dr. Tahseen Ismail
Lecturer of Pharmaceutics

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Published by: Dr. Mussadiq Latif on Jun 14, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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By: Tahseen ismail


³Pharmacy is the art of preparing & designing medications and the provision of drug related information to the public.´ American Pharmaceutical Association describe the mission of pharmacy as serving society as ³ the profession responsible for the appropriate use of medications, devices & services to achieve optimal therapeutic outcomes´. 

According to report of commission of Pharmacy: ³Pharmacy should be conceived basically as a knowledge system that renders a health services by concerning itself with understanding drugs and their effect´.


Why to study History of pharmacy? Study of History tells: ³How the concept of drug evolved over time & how a separate profession arose to prepare drug into medicines in the West or entire world´. 

Throughout history drugs have directly influence the lives of millions e.g; ³Drugs like Insulin, antibiotics & chemotherapeutic agents have saved thousands of lives´.

Prehistoric Pharmacy   

PrePre-historic people gathered plants for medicinal purpose. Tribal healers or ³Shamans´ had recognition of mastered by all who practised the domestic medicine of household. Early people explained illness in super natural terms (like other changes & disasters around them).  

³Shaman´ had duty of magical potions for curing by which they diagnosed & treated service illness he/she compounded remedies needed to ³stave off´ the influence of evil spells or spirits. Thus drugs were derived as ³both simple tools & special substances with supernatural power´. 

Even early people discovered only a small amount/ number of effective drugs, but the concept of influencing bodily functions via an outside force must be considered as humanity greatest advances.


When organized settlements arose in great fertile valleys of Nile, Tigris & Euphrates & Indies River changes occurred that gradually influenced the concept of disease & healing. Egyptian medicinal texts show close connection between supernatural & empirical healing.   

They we plant drugs having main vehicles of healing powers like laxatives & enemas were prominent. They specialized in preparation & sale of drugs. EberEber-papyrus begins rational use of drugs by developing clay tablets & papyri.

Provide medical care by 2 classes: 1.Aspus (Magical healers) 2.Asu (Empirical healers)  Asipu: Related on spells & use magical stones.  Asu: Used medicinal plants & manipulated them into several dosage forms like suppositories, pills, washes, enemas & ointment. 


Gave mixed concept of drugs or ³pharmakon´, a word that meant magic spell, remedy or ³poison´. ³homer (800 BC)´ refers to medical wisdom of Egypt homer described physicians by the demiourgos which advanced to diagnosed natural cause of illness.  

Different pharmacist ³Thales´ (590 BC), Anaximander (550 BC) Pharmenides (470 BC), Empedocles (450 BC) & Hippocratic writers develop rational explanations of illness. ³Materia medica´ by ³Dioscorides´, the standard of drug.


Beginning of Modern Era after ³dark age´(400 AD-1453 AD). ADIn 1453 AD Constantinople (Istanbul), fell to the Turks & remnant of Greek scholarly society fled to the west carrying their books & knowledge with them.  

New concepts of diseases & drugs arose. Valerians Cordus work on formula book having name as Dispensatorium becomes standard book for preparation of medicine.    

³Paracelsus´ chemically prepared the drugs from crude plants & minerals. 1604 Louis Heberg 1st pharmacist in north America. W- harvey in 1628 circulation of blood. Leeuwan hoel in 1680 discovered yeast.  

In 1703, English Apothecaries authorized to prescribe as well as to dispense. 1736 1st law related to pharmacy develop in Virginia (America).


Modern Era started after industrial Revolution in 1750. 1st hospital Pharmacy in 1752 in Pennsylvania (America). In 1756, John Morgan supported prescription writing in USA. Collage de-Pharmacia in parts in de1777 (1st collage of pharmacy).    

Edward Jenner vaccination work in 1798. 1848 1st American code of Pharmaceutical Ethics. 1848 1st drug import Law by Congress. 1868 Modern education on Pharmacy in Michigan University.    

1888 1st National formulary by American Pharmaceutical Association. 1893 Aspirin by A-Eichergrum & felix AHoffman. 19511st national Pharmacopoeia by WHO. 1906 FDA act of USA.


The crescent of Islam rose from the horizons to enlighten the faculties of ³Basic laws of nature´. Arabs rejected old concepts and ideas because of new drugs & species as they conquer new areas. More elegent & palatable dosage forms e.g pills & syrups.

1) JABIR BIN HAYAN: (721-815 AD) HAYAN: (721 ³GEBER´ in the west.  Prepared Nitric acid, Sulphuric Acid, Hydrochloric Acid.  God Father of modern chemistry.  Chemical technique: Sublimation distillation, melting & crystallization.  Composition of ³Alchemy´.

2) ABU ISHAQ KINDI:  20 books.  Posology (study of dose of drug).  ³De Medicinarum Compsitarum´.

3) ZAKARIYA ALRAZI: (865-925AD) (865 ³RHAZES´ in the west.  Father of pediatrics.  ³Arbian Medicine´.

4)ABU 4)ABU ALI SINA: (980 AD)  Avicenna in the west.  Al Qannun fil tib.  230 books  First to use catheters made of the skins of various animals.  Intravesical injections by means of silvers syringe.

5) IBN AL-HAITAM: (975-1039AD) AL(975 ³Al-Hazan´ in the west. ³Al Great optician.  Discovered magnifying lenses.  Function of retina.  ³Kitab Al-manazir´,´mizan-ul-hikma ´ Al-manazir´,´mizan-ul-

6)IBN AL6)IBN AL-BAITAR:  Collect different plants from Paris to Syria.  Discovered new plants and extracted medical drugs.  ³Jami´ (book name).

7)ABUL 7)ABUL QASIM ZAHRA:(936-1013AD) ZAHRA:(936 ³Mamoon´ in the west.  Invented surgical instruments(200).  Placed artificial tooth instead of diseased.  ³AL-Tasrif´ (medical encyclopaedia). ³AL-

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