The history of Pharmacy is closely related to the history of medicine and this history is associated with the commencement of mankind.
There are significant events in the history of science, which lead to the development of pharmacy as a separate and distinct discipline.
This can be scrutinized according to country wise or century wise.
Understanding of prehistoric medical practice is from the study of ancient pictographs that show medical procedures, as well as the surgical tools uncovered from anthropological sites of ancient societies.
Early humans had awareness about serious diseases, but they were not able to treat them effectively. They think that many diseases were attributed to the influence of malevolent (wishing evil to others) demons (evil spirit), who were believed to project a spirit, a stone, or a worm into the body of the patient. These diseases were warded off by incantations (form of words used in magic), dancing, magic ornaments and various other measures. If the demon managed to enter the body of its victim, either in the absence of such precautions or despite them, efforts were made to make the body uninhabitable to the demon by beating, torturing, and starving the patient.
Surgical procedures practiced in ancient societies included cleaning and treating wounds by cautery (burning or searing tissue), poultices, and sutures, resetting dislocations and fractures, and using splints to support or immobilize broken bones. Additional therapy included laxatives and enemas to treat constipation and other digestive ills.
Several systems of medicine, based primarily on magic, folk remedies, and elementary surgery, existed in various diverse societies before the coming of the more advanced Greek medicine about the 6th century BC.
Evidence of medical practice has been found in the earliest of human settlements. The individual who took the role of healer combined religion with their primitive knowledge of science and created rituals (system of) to aid in healing. Information such as incantations, magical spells and the knowledge of which plants had healing properties was usually passed down from generation to generation.
From the earliest times, trial-and-error revealed plants and parts of animals to be poisonous, edible, or useful in disease; this led to medical folklore and herbal remedies. Prior to the scientific revolution of the last century, attempts to cope with serious disease were frustrated by the lack of a satisfactory theory of disease or knowledge of causes.
Although the study of anatomy grew rapidly from the time of Aristotle and the Alexandrian medical school in 300 BC, physiology and ideas of organ function remained rudimentary. Speculations untested by experiments were by present-day standards grotesque, and gave rise to such practices as trephining, bleeding, cupping, and purging, often accompanied by magic rituals and incantations.
On the other hand, in a few societies doctors accurately recorded relevant events, such as:
Egyptian medicine was marked by a mystical (Spiritual power) approach to healing, as well as a more empirical or rational approach that was based on experience and observation.
The Egyptian physicians trained at temple schools in the arts of interrogation, inspection, and palpation (examining the body by touch). Prescriptions contained some drugs that have continued in use through the centuries. Favorite laxatives were figs, dates, and castor oil. Tannic acid, derived principally from the acacia nut, was valued in the treatment of burns.
Indian physicians who in 1000 BC were listing features of several common disabling diseases.
Ancient Hindu, or Vedantic, medicine (1500-1000 bc) are described in the works of two later physicians, Charaka (lived about 2nd century ad) and Susruta (lived about 4th century ad). Susruta gave recognizable descriptions about Indian hemp, or Cannabis, and henbane for inducing anesthesia, and included specific antidotes and highly skilled treatments for bites of venomous snakes. An ancient Hindu drug derived from the root of the Indian plant Rauwolfia serpentina was the source of the first modern tranquilizer. In the field of surgery, the Hindus are acknowledged to have attained the highest skill. They were probably the first to perform successful skin grafting and plastic surgery for the nose.
Chinese physicians believed that diseases result from imbalances in two life forces, Yin and Yang that flow through the body. Drugs and other treatments were intended to restore this balance. Hundreds of ancient herbal medicines, including iron for anemia, mercury for syphilis, arsenic for skin diseases, and opium, are still used in traditional Chinese medicine. Chinese medicine is documented from 600 BC, and the first Chinese medical treatise was 1st-c BC.
The earliest Greek medicine depended on magic and spells. However, they reveal a considerable knowledge of the treatment of wounds and other injuries by surgery.
By the 6th century BC, Greek medicine had left the magic and religious realm, instead stressing clinical observation and experience.
Kos and Cnidus are the most famous of the Greek medical schools that flourished in the 5th century BC. Hippocrates was the greatest physician in antiquity, and he was known as the father of medicine. He convinced physicians that disease had identifiable causes and was not due to the supernatural. His writings were used in medical textbooks well into the 19th century.
The Greek philosopher Aristotle contributed to the development of medicine. He is known as the founder of comparative anatomy.
The most notable were the empiricists (based on observation and experiment, not on theory) who based their doctrine on experience gained by trial and error. The empiricists excelled in surgery and pharmacology.
Asclepiades of Bithynia was important in establishing Greek medicine in Rome in the 1st century BC. Asclepiades taught that the body was composed of disconnected particles, or atoms, separated by pores. Disease was caused by restriction of the orderly motion of the atoms or by the blocking of the pores, which he attempted to cure by exercise, bathing, and variations in diet, rather than by drugs. This theory was revived periodically and in various forms as late as the 18th century.
Galen of Pergamum, also a Greek, described the four classic symptoms of inflammation and added much to the knowledge of infectious disease and pharmacology.
Romans learned most of their medical knowledge from Egypt, Greece, and other countries that they conquered (take possession of by force, especially in war), their own contributions involved sanitation and public health.
Roman medicine was pre-eminent in public health, with its emphasis on clean water, sewage disposal, and public baths.
In the 7th century AD in Persia (now Iran), the Arabs learned of Greek medicine at the schools of the Nestorian Christians. Translations from Greek were instrumental in the development of an Arabic system of medicine throughout the Arab-speaking world. They introduced numerous therapeutic chemical substances and excelled in the fields of ophthalmology and public hygiene.
Medicine in Assyria and Babylonia was influenced by demonology and magical practices.
While magic played a role in healing, there were large number of medical remedies used in Mesopotamia, including more than 500 drugs made from plants, trees, roots, seeds, and minerals.
Hebrew medicine was mostly influenced by contact with Mesopotamian medicine during the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities. Disease was considered evidence of the wrath of God. The priesthood acquired the responsibility for compiling hygienic regulations, and the status of the midwife as an assistant in childbirth was clearly defined.
In early medieval Europe, religious groups established hospitals and infirmaries in monasteries and later developed charitable institutions designed to care for the victims of vast epidemics of bubonic plague, leprosy, smallpox, and other diseases that swept Europe during the Middle Ages.
During the 9th and 10th centuries Salerno became Europe’s center for medical care and education and was the site of the first Western school of medicine.
By the 12th century other medical schools were established at the universities of Bologna and Padua in Italy, the University of Paris in France, and Oxford University in England.
In the 13th century, medical licensure by examination was endorsed and strict measures were instituted for the control of public hygiene.
The period of the Renaissance, which began at the end of the 14th century and lasted for about 200 years, was one of the most revolutionary and stimulating in the history of mankind. Invention of printing and gunpowder, discovery of America, the new cosmology of Copernicus, the Reformation, the great voyages of discovery—all these new forces were working to free science and medicine from the shackles of medieval stagnation. The fall of Constantinople in 1453 scattered the Greek scholars, with their precious manuscripts, all over Europe.
- Andreas Vesalius, a Belgian anatomist, clearly demonstrated hundreds of anatomical errors introduced by Galen centuries earlier. Gabriel Falliopius discovered the uterine tubes named after him and diagnosed ear diseases with an ear speculum. He described in detail the muscles of the eye, tear ducts, and fallopian tubes. Italian physician Girolamo Fracastoro recognized that infectious diseases are spread by invisible so-called seeds that can reproduce themselves. He founded modern epidemiology, the study of how diseases spread. The term syphilis, applied to the virulent disease then devastating Europe, Ambroise Paré introduced new surgical techniques and helped to found modern surgery.
The major medical discovery of the 17th century was the circulation of the blood; 100 years later, oxygen and its relationship to blood. In the 18th century, clinical bedside teaching became the favored method of doctor training. The value of post-mortem studies was demonstrated by Morgagni in Padua. New methods of examination were introduced notably the stethoscope (by Laënnec) and percussion of the chest.
The German physician Samuel Hahnemann developed the system of homeopathy late in the 18th century, which emphasized small dosages of drugs to cure disease.
Jenner showed the benefit of vaccination to prevent smallpox (though such procedures were known in 16th-c China). The germ theory of disease dominated the 19th century, and Pasteur virtually created the science of bacteriology, from which Lister was inspired to develop the concept of antisepsis. By the end of the century, mosquitoes were known to carry malaria and yellow fever. Roentgen discovered X-rays, and the Curies radium. Freud developed psychiatry.
Progress in the 20th century has been unparalleled, being distinguished by the growth in modern technology and the development of rigorous experimental testing. Thus the claim for the efficacy of a new drug, for example, does not rest on anecdote, but on carefully planned double-blind animal and human trials in statistically controlled populations.
Progress was stimulated rather than hindered by World Wars 1 and 2, in such areas as rehabilitation after injury, blood transfusion, anesthesia, and chemotherapy, including the development of antibiotics and vitamins and the discovery of insulin and cortisone. New concepts have included genetic disease, the baleful effects of some lifestyles and environmental pollution, vaccination for the majority of infectious disease, artificial organ and life-support systems, organ transplantation, and the science of immunology.
Up to the 20th century, most physicians were general practitioners, serving all the medical needs of their communities. The first area of specialization in medicine was surgery. As technological and scientific advances deepened our understanding of health and the human body, more specialized services became practical.
History of Homoeopathic Pharmacy
- The birth of Homoeopathic Pharmacy is from the day of discovery of Homoepathy. The discoverer of the Homoeopathic Pharmacology is Dr. Christian Frederick Samuel Hahnemann. The experimental and practical studies were carried out between the year 1790 and 1810.
In 1805 Hahnemann first announced his new method of Pharmacological process in the treatise “Fragmenta de virbus medicamentorum positivis sive in sano corpore humano obesrevatis”. Between the years 1810 & 1830 Hahnemann published his Organon of medicine (Vol.I-VI) Materia medica Pura (part I-VI) and Chronic diseases (part I-IV). In all these publications there are general and special rules and instructions are given for the preparation of Homoeopathic medicines. In each edition of Organon of Medicine, the Homoeopathic Pharmacy was thoroughly evaluated.
The basic principles of Homoeopathic Pharmacology are incorporated in the practical part Organon of medicine and in the writings of ‘Chronic Disease’ and Materia medica pura. Hahnemann’s greatest contributions in relation to pharmacy are the Principle of Dynamization, drug proving and the use of single remedy.
The Impact of Orthodox medicine:
By the end of ninetieth century the old school of medicine owing to advances in scientific knowledge. (Such as Koch and Pasteur had proved that some diseases were caused by microbes.) These developments posed a serious problem for homoeopaths. Some homoeopaths tried to reinterpret homoeopathy in its light.
There ware some personals made some attempts to reconcile homoeopathy with new medicine.
A German homoeopath, Von Grauvogl, believed that people could be classified into three constitutional types, according to whether they had an excess of water, oxygen, or carbon and nitrogen in their tissues.
Rademacher (not a homoeopath) taught that disease result from disordered functioning of various key organs, such as liver and kidney, and that medicine should be given to ‘drain’ them. In France homoeopathic medicines in low potency were – and still are- given as ‘drainage remedies’.
Schussler postulated that the disease is disturbance in the concentration of various salts within the body cells. And he held that these disturbances could be corrected by means of his twelve ‘tissue salts’, which are low-potency preparation of various inorganic compounds. They are still available today.
Of these above stated methods are never been accepted by the homoeopathic purists.