Published May 06, 2023 by

Pharmacognosy: Definition, History, Branch, Scope



The investigation of medications got from normal sources. The word pharmacognosy got from two Greek word “Pharmakon”-a medication and “gnosis”-secure information. Pharmacognosy is the part of information worried about restorative medications acquired from plants or other normal sources.

History of Pharmacognosy

Pharmacognosy is viewed as the most seasoned part of drug sciences. The usage of therapeutic plants can be traced back to ancient times. This is on the grounds that the crude man had significant information about the plant realm around him. Essentially noticing and exploring different avenues regarding these plants drove him to recognize helpful and hurtful plants. In those days, timberlands were viewed as drug stores that provided man with materials to make meds.

Pharmacognosy in Antiquated Egypt

Pharmacognosy is the early medication of Pharaohs around 3000 B.C. Antiquated Egyptians were experts in involving plants as medication for relieving different illnesses and sicknesses. The very first clinical remedy, the hieratic papyri, was found in the Egyptian burial chambers. Two different papyri were the Ebers papyrus (which goes back 3500 years) and the gynecological papyrus. These contain north of 400 essential substances encased in the Egyptian Pharmacopeia.

The substances in the primary gathering are blood, milk, meat, honey, wine, and so forth. Substances in the subsequent gathering are acacia, gum, myrrh, linseed, cumin, and so forth.

Pharmacognosy in the Mesopotamian Time frame
Marduk Happaliden, the Babylonian lord, assembled a whole nursery for restorative plants in 772 B.C. This nursery included apples, pomegranate, oranges, onion, garlic, saffron, liquorice, thyme, and coriander.
A transcendent approach to applying therapeutic plants was through decoctions. They were given to individuals just before dawn, since decoctions were ready around evening time. The drugs were made by consolidating plants with honey, wine, oil, or water. The restorative formulae by the Mesopotamians incorporate more than 250 plant substances and 180 creature material sources.

Pharmacognosy in the Archaic India

In India information on restorative plants is extremely old, and therapeutic properties of plants are depicted in Rigveda and in Atharvaveda (3500-1500 B.C.) from which Ayurveda has created. Ayurveda is the term for the conventional medication of antiquated India. Ayur implies life and veda implies the investigation of which is the beginning of the term. The most seasoned composition — Charaka Samhita — is trusted to go back six to seven centuries before Christ. Being the main old legitimate composition on Ayurveda is accepted. The Charaka Samhita and the Susruta Samhita are thought to have appeared around the same time, while the Astanga Hrdayam and the Astanga Sangraha are said to have appeared after the Charaka and Susruta Samhitas. The vast majority of referenced meds beginning from plants and creatures, for example ricinus, pepper, lilly, valerian, and so forth. The most widely recognized Indian meds were decoctions, sugar, spread, and honey as oral medications.

Pharmacognosy in Chinese Medication

Chinese medication is notable everywhere. Pen Ts'ao Kang Mao was distributed in the year 1597. It very well may be viewed as a pharmacopeia. This book comprises of a few therapeutic plants and medications produced using creature sources. This mind blowing book comprises of solutions for practically all sicknesses. Transcendent plants utilized in Chinese medication are rhubarb, star-anise, aconite, and pomegranate.

The book contains around 8,160 formulae that can be made from 1,871 unrefined substances. The primary types of drugs were pills, decoctions, treatments, and suppositories.

Pharmacognosy in Greece and Rome

The Greeks and Romans have treated numerous sicknesses utilizing drugs from plants. Pythagoras, in 580 B.C., utilized drugs produced using mustard. Hippocrates composed a book called Corpus Hipocrstium in 480 B.C about different medications. Aristotle's understudy, Theophrastus, expounded on 500 restorative plants, including Ergot, in 370 B.C.

Dioscorides investigated Egypt and different nations, which assisted him with finding out about assortments of plant drugs. With the assistance of his book 'Greek Home grown of Dioscorides,' he turned into the main individual to portray drugs. The book contained around 5,000 restorative plants, creatures, and mineral medications. Dioscorides is viewed as the very first drug specialist.

Current Medication and Pharmacognosy

Pharmacognosy is one of the most prevalent arms of drugs. Phytochemistry, phytomedicine, and phytochemical examination are significant pieces of this field. Regular materials are the spine for tracking down new medications. The metabolites for drugs are separated from different plant parts like bark, leaves, stem, bloom, and so on.

Pharmacognosy is the most old arrangement of medication. Proof of pharmacognosy can be tracked down across old civic establishments, and this information assists drug specialists with night today.


Pharmacognosy's Subfields

1. Medical ethnobotany

The investigation of the conventional or people utilization of plants for restorative purposes. Plants have been used to treat disease and maintain health for thousands of years, and millions of people still rely on them as essential components of traditional medicine.

Additionally, medicinal plants serve as a drug supply for the majority of the world's current population. Medical ethnobotany is the term for this. The significance of ethnobotany is also demonstrated in this aspect. Due to the knowledge of ethnobotany, certain drugs like quinine, cocaine, digoxin, and taxol have been found in plants over the past few decades. A portion of the bioactive mixtures, for example, artemisinin, gossypol, hypericin, and so on. have also recently been discovered as a result of our comprehension of the connection between humans and plants.


The study of traditional medicinal substances' pharmacological properties. On the other hand, ethnopharmacology is the interdisciplinary investigation of indigenous drugs and biologically active agents that have historically been used. For instance: Aspirin, morphine, and the anti-cancer drug Taxol are just a few of the modern medications derived from plants. Ethnopharmacology is the study of medicines made from naturally occurring substances like plants and fungi across cultures. . Because of this, the ethnopharmacological approach is based on a body of study that includes work in pharmacology, chemistry, and other disciplines as well. This incorporates field perceptions, depictions of the usage and bioactivities of society cures, natural distinguishing proof of the plant material as well as phytochemical and pharmacological examination. For a very long time, numerous researchers have been interested in investigating indigenous remedies and the effects they might have. In light of ethnopharmacological studies, drug discovery from natural sources plays a significant role in the development of current therapeutic systems. Plants, creatures and minerals are among the regular items that have been the premise in the treatment of numerous illnesses forcenturies. Traditional medicinal plant pharmacognostic, phytochemical, and pharmacological research has received a lot of attention recently. In addition, numerous preclinical and clinical studies have examined natural medicines' biological activity potential, revealing a variety of biological effects of plant-derived compounds in various chemical groups. The majority of the active compounds that are currently utilized come from natural sources and are actually used for ethnomedicine. As a result, numerous pharmaceutical companies have recently revised their natural product research strategies in an effort to identify novel drug development sources and molecules. The ethnopharmacological knowledge's approach, which could be supported by an experimental base, could be beneficial for the development of novel, safe, and affordable medicines. The ethnopharmacological aspects of herbal medicine and the process of discovering plant-based drugs will be emphasized in this study, as will important issues regarding their use as complementary medicine.


Investigation of synthetics got from plants (counting the ID of new medication up-and-comers got from plant sources). The goal of phytochemists is to provide a comprehensive description of the various secondary metabolites produced by plants, including their production and significance in both human and plant biology. The Phytochemistry is vital for the assurance of the dynamic elements of restorative plants, their measurement and examination of the advantageous and unsafe impacts to human wellbeing.

Methods for obtaining these active ingredients, their classification according to the functional organic chemical group to which they belong, and analytical methods for determining their quality are all topics covered in phytochemistry.


the method by which animals choose and make use of plants, soil, and insects to treat and prevent illness. The practice of feeding dogs grass to induce vomiting is an illustration of zoo-pharmacognosy. However, there is more variety in the behavior than this. Clay, charcoal, and even poisonous plants and invertebrates are among the non-foods that animals ingest or apply, presumably to prevent parasite infestation or poisoning.


Includes plant classification, identification, nomenclature, and description & enables accurate identification of botanical drugs for use in subsequent pharmacological, phytochemical, analytical, or clinical research. Pharmacognosy has a lot in common with botany and plant chemistry, which both stem from earlier research on medicinal plants. As late as the beginning of the 20th century, the topic had primarily developed on a botanical level. It was concerned with the history, commerce, collection, preparation, and storage of drugs, as well as their description and identification in their entire state and in powder.


The investigation of restorative utilization of plants or plant extricates for restorative purposes. Phytotherapies have been generally utilized by individuals to treat an extensive variety of intense or ongoing medical issue. Late examinations show that plants and their concentrates display pain relieving, antimicrobial, cytotoxic, cell reinforcement, and mitigating properties, which can be gainful in the administration and treatment of illness. Phytotherapy can be utilized to treat: Constant agony, as on account of knee osteoarthritis.


Scope of Pharmacognosy

The pharmacognosy plays had a significant impact in the improvement of different branches of the science. Pharmacognosy provides a solid understanding of the medicinal plants found in botany and the medicinal animals found in zoology.

It also includes plant taxonomy, breeding, pathology, and genetics, all of which can be used to improve cultivation techniques for aromatic and medicinal plants. The principles and practices of pharmacognosy have undergone a significant transformation over the past two centuries, and as a multidisciplinary, high-tech study of natural medicines, it has emerged as an essential component of contemporary pharmaceutical research. One of the most pressing issues in pharmacognosy today is the systematic examination of natural medicines for purity, potency, consistency, and safety. Moreover, most present day drug revelations depend on customary medication based techniques to further develop results and settle security issues. To meet the ongoing advancements in the space of Pharmacognosy, Clinical Pharmacognosy, Logical Pharmacognosy, and Modern Pharmacognosy have been shaped as particular and expert branch-offs of Pharmacognosy.

The field of plant chemistry known as photochemistry has seen significant advancements in recent years. this incorporates various substances that are gathered by plants and integrated by plants.

A significant contribution to the development of physical and natural science:

Advanced techniques for cultivating, purifying, and identifying (characterizing) pharmaceuticals derived from nature have accomplished this. Pharmaceutical collection, processing, and storage technologies can benefit from ideas from biochemistry and chemical engineering.

It likewise gives an information on chemotaxonomy, biogenic pathways for the development of intense fixings.

A crucial connection that exists between pharmacology and medicinal chemistry:

Purified phytochemicals are turning newly discovered plant drugs into medicines. Because crude drugs are utilized for the preparation of galanicals or as sources of therapeutically active metabolites, pharmacognosy is necessary for the development of new medicines.

Phytopharmaceuticals that is blended medications are at long last framed in a reasonable measurements structures and in which the rough medications can be go about as an intermediates.

In order to combat diseases like Alzheimer's, HIV, malaria, chronic pain, and others that are currently untreatable or that pose a threat to one's life, research into the significance of medicinal plants should also be conducted in other nations. Clinical trials are currently being conducted on a number of natural medicines.

In a nutshell, pharmacognosy is a crucial link between the ayurvedic and allopathic medical systems, as well as pharmaceuticals, and fundamental science. Therefore, pharmacognosy is the study of the active principles of crude drugs, which can assist in the formulation, manufacturing, and dispensing of dosage forms.