Homeopathy Pharmacy – An Introduction
Pharmacy is the art and science of collecting, combining, preserving, preparing and standardising drugs and medicines. It also includes compounding and dispensing of the medicines. The word ‘Pharmacy’ also implies the place, where the medicines are made and distributed.
Homoeopathic Pharmacy is the art and science of collecting, compounding, combining, preparing, preserving and standardising drugs and medicines according to the Homoeopathic principle; and also dispensing medicines or remedies according to the prescriptions of physicians, which are used in Homoeopathic practice.
It also embraces the legal and professional aspects as also regulate the proper distribution of drugs and medicines. Dr. Garth Boericke defines Pharmacy as “The art of preparing drugs for use and dispensing them as medicine”.
Homoeopathic Pharmacy Includes:
(1) Collection: It implies to gather or procure the required drug materials.Exotic drug materials are imported from abroad, as they are uot available in our country.
(2) Identification: Before using for preparations, drug- materials must properly be identified macroscopically and if’ required, microscopically, and chemically also. Help of a Botanist is taken for proper identification.
(3) Quality Inspecting: Only identification of drugs is not sufficient, one must also be sure about the quality or the characteristic features of drugs to be used. Proper physical and analytical procedures must bt. applied to ascertain the quality of drugs, with the aid of suitable instruments and chemicals respectively and by chromatography also.
(4) Preserving: If required, drugs and medicinal preparations should be properly preserved in accordance with their properties or specific natures.
(5) Standardisation: Drugs or medicines so prepared are made to conform some standards, prescribed by” Appropriate authority and official Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia” ; and the process is known as “Standardising”
(6) Combining: It means joining two or more things together. Scientifically the product of combination may be a “Mechanicall mixture” or “Chemical compound”
. (7) Compounding: It means uniting two or more different elements or constituents together so as to form an altogether new product. This new product will have new properties different from those of its constituents e.g., Calcarea sulphurica, Magnesia mur., Natrum ars. etc. This produces, a “Chemical Compound”.
(8) Preparation: In homeopathy it includes preparation of the MOTHER, either in tincture form or in solution form or in powder form. It also includes preparation of dilutions, triturations and converting triturations in liquid form the dilutions are made either according to old Hahnemannian method or New method of American Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia.
(9) Quality Control: It means whether the drugs and medicines, so prepared from the ingredients are up to the standard so prescribed in the official pharmacopoeia. It also includes the use of standard equipments and laboratory spaceand environment and preservation of drug and medicines.
(10) Dispensing: It means preparing and serving the medicinal preparation in proper form according to direction of a qualified registered physician.
Branches of Homeopathic Pharmacy:
(a) Galenical Pharmacy : The word “Galen” originates from the Greek word”galenos” a 2nd century greek physician. Galenical pharmacy implies that pharmacy which follows the methods and theories of Galen .This branch of pharmacy is related to crude drugs only.
(b) Pharmacy Proper : (1)Official pharmacy : It includes drugs and medicines prepared according to the different Official Pharmacopoeias.
(2) Extemporenous pharmacy. It includes preparing and distributing medicines according to the prescriptions of physicians.
Pharmacy can also be divided into two major divisions:
(a) Theoretical (b) Practical or Operative
(a)Theoritical Pharmacy: It contains of physical and biological assessments as well as the professional courses that need to train up a pharmcist and which mainly are of theoretical nature.
(b)Practical Pharmacy: It contains (1) Various aspects of manufacturing, (2) Retail, (3) Professional and Hospital pharmacy, (4) Practical portion of Physical and Biological assessments.
The name Pharmacopoeia originates from the two greek words: Pharmakon, means a drug ; and poieo, means to make.
Definition: It is a standard book containing a list of drugs and medicines, with information about the sources, habitats,descriptions,collections and identificattions of the drugs ; and also provides directions for their preparations , combining.,compounding and standardisation.It is officially published by authority i.e by the government in charge of medical and welfare department ,any Medical or pharmaceutical Society ,either constituted or authorised by the government; and revised at times.A pharmacopoeia published by such an authority is termed as “official”.
Collection of Drug Substances
Though the aphorism of the Organon of Medicine and its certain portion are not directly connected with the process of collection, yet the advices given by Hahnemann forms the fundamentals of preparing a drug, in which the process of collecting a drug substance is an important part for the genuineness of the drug so prepared. In aphorism 264 of Organon of Medicine, Hahnemann holds, “The true physician must be provided with genuine medicine of unimpaired strength, so that he may be able to rely upon their therapeutic powers.” In aphorism 66 of Organon be also emphasises that “substances belonging to the animal and vegetable kingdoms, possess their medicinal qualities most perfectly in their raw state”. As such advices of Hahnemann are to use fresh animal and vegetable drug substances
Vegetable Kingdom – Purity and genuinity of the original drug substances must be ensured. All vegetable drug substances should be procured fresh, as far as possible, except the substances which has to be imported from outside. It should be collected only in healthy or well developed state; free from worms, insects, or as per direction of the particle drug preparation given in Homoeopathic pharmacology. All those are in decayed state should be discarded. They shall show no discolouration, abnormal odour, slimness or any sign of deterioration. The wild ones are preferable to cultivated ones. They should be collected when their medicinal virtue is greatest. They must not be packed too closely in carrying; and be used quickly in preparing the substance after collection, so that they may yield their full medicinal strength unchanged. Never collect them during morning dew, nor immediately after a shower, nor during too heat of the day. They should be gathered when the weather has previously been sunny and dry, and just after disappearance of the morning dew. Cleaning of the drug materials, so collected, should be done carefully so that any part of it is not erroded. Never wash with profuse water; if become unavoidable, use only too little water for washing. Exotic drug substances should never be imported in powder form, and without proper identification of their genuineness (vide Organon of Medicine-aphorism 268).
‘Narcotic’ plants should be collected while in bloom and: partly just before or when coming into bloom. The general directions are as follow, with the few exceptions:
Whole Plant-By the term ‘whole plant’ is meant the whole plant with root. The whole plants should be collected in sunny whether, when they are partly in flowers and partly in bud.
Root- They should be used fresh. Roots of ‘Annuals’ must be collected early in the autumn, as they die after ripening of the seeds. Roots of ‘Biennials’ should be collected in the spring and of ‘Perennials’ should be collected in the 2nd and 3rd year, before they develop woody fibres; and should be free of moulds, dampness and woody appearance and must not be cleaned with much water.
Stems-Should be collected after the development of leaves.
Woods- Collected early in the spring or late in autumn before the juice are not exhausted and also from mature young trees and tree like shrubs.
Barks- Barks should be collected from mature, vigorous young trees. Barks of ‘Resinous’ trees should be collected at or about the time of development of leaves and blossoms. ‘Non-resinous’ barks are to be collected late in the autumn. The same principle is also for root-barks.
Young Shoots- They are collected in the spring, when the whole plant is in full vigour.
Leaves- Only fully developed leaves should be collected just the before or during the flowering time. In cases of Biennials plants the leaves which first appear in the spring of the second year are the best and so these should be collected as soon as any the flowering stems begin to shoot.
Twigs- Twigs of current year’s growth only.
Herbs- Fullly developed herbs are to cut above the root leaves.
Flowers- Should be collected in dry whether, when they are partly in bud and partly in blossoms.
Fruits, Seeds and Berries- If not otherwise specified, are to be collected when they are fully ripe. Succulent fruits, seeds or berries should be used while fresh. Only dried fruits, seeds or berries may be stored in well-closed glass containers. Fresh fruits when collected are to be used immediately after their collection.
ANIMAL KINGDOM – Animal substances must be collected from perfectly healthy specimen, wild animals are preferable, as they are natural specimens. Secretions and excretions should be obtained in hygienic conditions and from healthy beings. Medicines from them should be prepared in their pure and unadulterated state, without mixing with any other substances.The animal drug substances are obtained from either the young wild or domestic ones and zoological gardens. Some are gathered by fishing, e.g., Asterias rubens, Cod fish (for Oleum .rousJec. Aselli). Cuttle fish (for Sepia). Jellyfish(Medusa)etc.Wild animal procured by hunting, e.g., Sperm whale (Ambra grisea), Musk deer (Moschus), Beaver (Castoreum) etc. Insects like Cantharides (Cantharis), Apis melifica, Cochneal (Coccus cacti) etc. are procured wild, or they are also cultivated in scientific way. Toads (bufo) ; different spiders (Aranea avicularis, A. diadema, Mygale, etc.); Lizards (Lacerta agilis etc.) are also caught by different processes. Venoms are either collected from wild snakes or cultivated ones from the snake farms, e.g, Coral viper (Elaps cor.), Lachesis mutus (Lachesis), German Viper (Vipera), Spectacled snake (Naja tripudians) etc., venoms are collected in glass container by experts of the line. Different ‘Lacs’ are generally collected from domestic animals.
COLLECTION OF POISONS ETC.
Bufo -The live toad is fastended to a slab of cork by four strong pins stuck through the webs of the feet. Next the poles of an ‘induction apparatus’ in action are slowly drawn over the back of the animal, whereupon the poison exudes from the dorsal glands of the toad, which is removed with a small horn knife.
Hydrophobinum- (The saliva of a live rabid dog) Most carefully collected in milk sugar.
Venoms of serpents- May be obtained from the live snake by collecting the poison on milk sugar by pressing the fang upwards against the ‘poison sac’. Different types of venoms may also be obtained from sereological laboratories.
MINERALS AND CHEMICALS – The minerals, metals and chemicals should be collected in natural state and natural source or in pure chemical form if not available from natural source as stated for the individuals.
SARCODES AND NOSODES: The ‘endocrine’ products and few ‘enzymes’ may be collected from cattle, sheep etc. from the slaughter houses. Collections of these drug substances require some special and elaborate techniques and should have sufficient knowledge in morbid anatomy and physiology of the particular specimens.
Preservation of Homeopathic Drug Substances PRESERVATION OF DRUGS: There are specific directions for the preservation of homoeopathic drug substances in the monographs of the Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia of India and other Pharmacopoeias but the general rules are:
(1) A container or jar should be properly labelled while preserving a drug in it.
(2). All substances should be preserved in natural glass or earthenware vessels or jars, being well stoppered.
(3) For corrosive substances, such as acids or alkalies hard glass bottles with glass stoppers should be used.
(4). For storing Fluoric acid, gutta purcha bottles must be used, otherwise it may dissolve the glass.
(5) Drugs which may be affected by the light or sunlight ‘actinic’ glass bottles (coloured) covered outside with a solution of asphaltum or black varnish should be used.
(6). Avoid blue-coloured container, as blue colour has some on dynamic effects injurious to drugs.
(7) Yellow or amber coloured bottles exposed to sunlight (or” sometime, acquire medicinal virtue, so they should be avioded.
(8) Keep the container with the medicinal substances away from dust, odours, smoke, moisture, damp, strong light etc.
(9) Strong smelling drugs, such as Asafoetida, Camphor, Iodine, Kreosote, Moschus, Terebinthinae, oleum etc. should be kept isolated in tightly closed bottles, so that the peculiar odours of such drugs may not contaminate other drugs.
(10) The drug substances should be used for the preparation immediately after their collections.
(11) If a fresh drug cannot be used immediately, it must not be allowed to dry; by keeping them in a cold air space.
(12) Drugs which are to be preserved for a considerable time may be dried in a chamber , allowing hot air to flow for drying the drug substances.
(13) Drugs possessing the power of mutual reaction should be preserved separately.
(14) If fresh drugs are to be collected from a distant place, they should be packed loosely and carefully in paper-pulp cases and kept as cool as possible.
(15) Drugs which need drying before transportation or preserving, they should be carefully dried by tying in loose bundles, and hanging in a shade away from direct sun light, ram. dust, worms, insects etc.
(16) Plants or their parts should be kept in a dry, cool, dustless, odourless place or a little amount of purified (distilled) water may be sprinkled upon them from time to time.
(17) For preserving pulverised drugs, they should be perfectly dry, otherwise their moisture content may mould, Their dryings should be made by spreading the pulverised materials on a water-bath, or for a bigger quantities, in a temperature adjustable drying chamher.
(18) Animals and animal products decompose very quickly hence they should be used immediate after collections, If required they may be preserved in freeze. Venoms can be preserved in deep freeze being kept in glycerine; or sometime after collections, they are quickly freezed and preserved properly.
PRESERVATION OF MOTHER PREPARATIONS
(1) The mother trnctures should be kept at an even temperature of about 60 f (15.6″C)-Lawrence Ashwell.
(2) They should be stored in new well. cleansed, colourless, neutral flint glass bottles.
(3) Pyrex, or other anticorrosive glass bottles with glass stoppers should be used for storing acid or caustic preparations.
(4) Medicines which are not affected by sunlight, as such, or glass bottles covered wIth a solution of asphalum or black varnish, should be used.
(5) Dr. Burt advises to avoid blue-coloured bottle, as they have certain dynamic effects injurious to medicines.
(6) Yellow or amber-coloured bottles should not be used, as even non-medicinal substances contained in these bottles exposed to sunlight for sometime. acquire medicinal viruces.
(7) They should be stored in a dry, cool place in airtight well closed glass bott es.
(8) Avoid too much heat or cold. Some mother tinctures may become turbiid with muddy sediment, or even form crystals if exposed to great cold.
(9) Avoid everything that will in the least affect the purity of the mother tinctures, such as strong light, direct sunlight, smoke, dust, damp, strong odour etc.
(10) Strong-smelling mother tinctures, such as Asafoetida, Camphor, Iodine, Moschus, Terebinthinae oleum, jacoris etc. should be kept separately in airtight well-closed glass bottles.
(11) In case of glass stoppered bottle, both the bottle and the stopper should be of hard potash glass to avoid introduction of glass particles in the mother tincture.
(12) Mother tinctures should be well. filtered before storing or when dispensing.
(13) All containers should be properly labelled in proper pharmaceutical name mentioning their strength/potencies and alcohol contained by % v. v., date of manufacturing, name of manufacturer, as far as possible, while storing, The sign is affixed after the name of each mother tincture, e.g., Avena Sativa@.
PRESERVATION OF POTENTISED MEDICINES
(I). Potentised medicines after putting in well-stoppered bottles, should be preserved in boxes or drawers.
(2) For preserving potentised medicines coloured bottles should be avoided.
(3) Medicines which may be affected by light or sunlight actinic glass bottles covered with a solution of asphaltum or black varnish should be used.
(4) They should be preserved in a dry cool place, protecting from too heat or cold.
(5) Avoid everything that in the least affect the purity of the potentised medicines, e.g., dust, odours, smoke, damp, strong light etc.
(6) Name of the potentised medicine with the respective potency and the scale used. should be distinctly marked both on the cork and on the container’s label, e.g. Belladonna 6x, Belladonna 6 or Belladonna 0/6 etc. In marking the label the date of manufacturing and the name of the manufacturer should also be stated.The original manufacturer should also write down the batch number and the percentage of alcohol contents by volume, if possible the date of Expiry should also be given.
(7) Bottles should not be filled entirely full, as the potentised medicines shall come in contact with the corks.
(8) Potentised medicines should be preserved separately from thc crude drug substances and mother tinctures.
(9) If the liquid or solid potentised medicines change their normal colours, they should be rejected immediately.
(10) Preparations of camphor should always be kept separate, otherwise they may antidote almost all medicines of vegetable origin.
(11)In the rooms where potentised or Mother drug substances are to stored, no other odorous or non-odourous evaporating substances should be kept strictly. For storing the potentised medicines in small 5 ML or 10 ML vials, suitable wooden boxes should be made and they should be arranged alphabetically with gradual increasing potency horizontally. Separate boxes for different potencies may also be used.
The term ‘vehicle’ implies, “Means of conveyance or transmission”, In Homeopathy vehicle is a substance, in which medicines are prepared or mixed and given for their internal administrations either by oral or olfaction method and external application for medications. These substances are comparatively inert as such taken as a means of developing the therapeutic activity of medicinal substance.
AN IDEAL VEHICLE
I. It must not have any medicinal property of its own.
2. It should be chemically neutral; neither acidic nor alkaline in medicinal effects. They must not undergo change or decomposition,
3, The above two specific properties are more applicable to those which are used in potentising medicines.
4. It must be harmless regarding its action on human organisms. The pharmacological message of the original drug is not disturbed in any way.
5 It should be capable of carrying the dynamic powers of drugs into interior human organisms to fight the disease force.
6. It should be edible and palatable.
Uses of Vehicles :
1. Vehicles are used in the preparation of mother tinctures, mother solutions and mother powders from crude drug materials and without any vehicles these preparation could not be made.
2. It is used for further triturations and increased potentisation from the mother, so that pharmaceutical message is easily carried and therapeutic values are retained of the particular drug substances.
3 Used as bases for preparing external applications of medicines.
4. For dispensing medicines or remedies according to the prescriptions of physicians.
5. Vehicles like olive oil, vaseline, glycerine, etc. are themselves applied externally as a mechanical aid only.
6. As a preservant or certain medicines, vehicle like alcohol is mixed in certain percentage with the freshly expressed juices of plants (vide Organon of Medicine, aphorism 268, footnote).
7. Used as ‘placebo’ or ‘phytum’ in between the administrations of the two doses of medicines or remedies, especially in cases of chronic diseases and where long-acting remedies are used. Dr. Kent holds, “Second best medicine in our Materia Medica is placebo”, which is given to the patient to please.
8. Sick babies who could not tolerate fats, sugar of milk is given as a diet.
Forms of Vehicles
There are two forms of vehicles: 1. Solid and 2. Liquid.
1. Milk sugar or Sugar of milk( saccharum Lactis, Lactose).
2. GlobuleS or pillules.
4. Tablets or Tabloids.
1. Aqua Distillata (Distilled Water)
2. Alcohol – Absolute Alcohol, Strong Alcohol, Dispensing Alcohol, Dilute Alcohol
4. Olive Oil
5. Almond Oil
In Homoeopathy mode of administration is special and is based on the following guidelines given in the Organon of Medicine.
(1) Medicines are given by oral and olfaction method.
(2) ‘In no case it is requisite to administer more than one single, simple medicine at one time’ (See 272, 5th edition, Organon of Medicine.)
(3) ‘It is wrong to attempt to employ complex means when simple means suffice’.
(4) ‘The smaller the dose of the homoeopathic remedy is, so much the slighter and shorter is this apparent increase of the disease’.
(5) ‘This minutest yet powerful dose of the best selected medicine be repeated at suitable intervals which experiences shall pronounce to be best adopted for accelerating to cure i.e. do not repeat so long the signs of improvement continue.
(6) Corporeal constitution, magnitude of the disease, nature of the medicinal substance-specially in psoric cases will decide the question of ‘smallest dose’ and repetition.
(7) There are specific instructions for application of a remedy in cases of intermittent fever. The best time is-when the temperature is coming down. In case of menstrual difficulties, the best time is the post menstrual period.
(8) The diet and regimen which can have any medicinal action should not be taken, in order that the small dose may not be over-whelmed and extinguished or disturbed by any irritant.
(9) Medicines should not be given during their aggravation time (day or night) of the drug.
(10) The most appropriate and efficacious time for administering the medicine in cases of intermittent fever is immediately or very soon after the termination of the paroxism (Vide aphorism 236-237, 5th edition of Organon of Medicine).
In this context a person concerned with Homoeopathy should read the following aphorism of 5th edition of Organon of Medicine-288, 289, 290,291, 292. Footnote 2(288), 1(239), 1(292).