You are on page 1of 5


• Pharmacognosy is regarded as the mother of all science.

• History of pharmacognosy represents the history of pharmacy &
• A group of people emerged in each community who acquired expertise in
collecting, testing & using medicinal plants for treating diseases
• They transferred this secret knowledge only to their trusted predecessors
of the successive generations
• Plants were used medicinally in China, India, Egypt and Greece long
before the beginning of Christian era
• The oldest known herbal document ‘ Pentaso’ written by Shen nung
came out around 3000BC.
Well known treatises in Ayurveda
• Charaka made 50 groups of 10 herbs each of which was meant for
a particular illness
• Sushrutha arranged 760 herbs in 7 groups based on their common
• Ayurvedic system Earliest plant medicines used in the Ayurvedic system
originated in india were described around 1200 BC ago with a list of 127
• Ebers Papurus, written in 1550 BC, recorded that Egyptians possessed a
good knowledge of human anatomy & medicinal uses of hundreds of
• Babylonians (about 3000 BC) had knowledge of large number of medicinal
plants and their properties
• Greek civilization has a highly developed system of medicine which used
medicinal plants and minerals
• Unani system Arab Muslims further enriched this system and developed
the Greco-Arabic or Unani system, which formed the basis of Allopathic
system of medicine modern
• In the 19th century, the term ‘ materia medica’ was used
• Seydler, a German scientist coined the term ‘pharmacognosy’ in 1815
in the title of his work ‘Analectapharmacognostica’
• Binomial classification of plants introduced by SWEDE in the 18th century
• Microscope was introduced as an important analytical tool, techniques
• Thus, anatomical atlas of crude drugs was published in 1865
• Phytochemistry In the 20 th century, tremendous work has been done in
this field and phytochemistry was evolved
P e o p l e c o n t r i b u t e d t o t h e development of
Hippocrates (460-370 BC) `Father of medicine'. He collected, identified and
used a large number of medicinal plants.
Aristotle (384-322 BC). A student of great philosopher Plato listed more
than 500 plants of medicinal importance with their description & uses.
Theophrastus(370 BC) collected,identified a large number of medicinal plan
ts and recorded their medicinal properties.
Dioscorides (1st Century AD), a Greek Physician, published five volumes of
a book, entitled `De Materia Medica’ in 78 AD, which described more than
600 medicinal plants with their collection, storage & uses.
Pliny de Elder (23-70 AD), a Greek botanist, collected and described a large
number of medicinal plants with their uses
Galen (131-200 AD), a Greek pharmacist-physician, described methods of
preparing pharmaceutical formulations containing plant and animal drugs.
Galenical preparations or Galenicals are prepared according to those methods.
• The apothecary (pharmacist-physician), used to do all the works
Increased a lot and it become impossible for one person to
manage them properly. Thus at this point pharmacy & medicine started
developing along two separate paths
• One group specialized in diagnosing the disease and prescribing the
drug and The other group specialized in processing preparing drug
• In this way, Pharmacognosy progressed gradually and formed the basis
of both pharmacy & medicine.