Pharmacognosy occupies an important place in pharmacy as it deals with the collection, identification, preparation, and extraction of a large group of drugs obtained from natural sources, which are used both in orthodox and traditional medicine.
For a successful practice of the Pharmacy profession, a thorough understanding of the active principles of natural drugs as chemicals is absolutely essential. By virtue of the (act that the solubility, reactivity, stability, toxicity, dosage, availability, purity, yield, methods of isolation, purification and identification of the chemicals of natural origin are studied in pharmacognosy, it can and does supply the general information about them needed by all practicing pharmacists. Thus pharmacognosy, the science of drugs of natural origin, has become a discipline of increased significance in the curriculum of pharmaceutical education. In fact, pharmacognosy formed the basis on which other branches of pharmacy developed. Pharmacology, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, and Pharmaceutics are all manifestations and ramifications of this basic science of drugs.
The knowledge of the action of a drug (pharmacology) can be utilized successfully only when the identity, physical nature and chemical constituents of the drug are well known, and pharmacognosy supplies this information.
Chemical nature and properties of a chemical substance can be studied and understood, or it can be synthesized or its activity can be modified or improved by a pharmaceutical chemist if he possesses a good knowledge of its source, occurrence, and method of isolation and state of purity. This knowledge is available from the pharmacognosist.
Formulation and actual preparation of a pharmaceutical product (pharmaceutics) are dependent on a number of properties, such as solubility, stability, reactivity, etc. of the ingredients. This type of information on substances of natural origin is available to the pharmacist if he posses~es a good knowledge of pharmacognosy.
Price of a pharmaceutical product containing natural substances is influenced by the methods of collection, curing, drying and assaying of the ingredients, which are dealt with in pharmacognosy. Thus pharmacognosy is intimately associated with phases of Pharmacy administration dealing· with prescription pnc1ng.
The relationship of pharmacognosy with operative pharmacy and dispensing is very apparent when one considers the number of plant and animal constituents and extracts that are handled in present-day hospital pharmacies.
In addition to the various branches of pharmacy, pharmacognosy is closely related to botany and plant chemistry by the fact that both of them developed as a result of man’s interest in plants as sources of food and medicine.
Pharmacognosy also shares some grounds with biochemistry, physiology, enzymology, food technology and a number of other fields of science. This wider scope of pharmacognosy entitles pharmacognosists to specialize in taxonomy, anatomy, morphology, phytochemistry, cultivation, and conservation of medicinal and poisonous plants.