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Pharmacognosy means "the entire knowledge of drugs." Modern pharmacognosy, however, does not include medicinal or pharmacologic action. The drugs discussed in this book are limited to those of plant and animal origin. Synthetics and inorganic drugs, if mentioned at all, are incidental; official chemical substances, however, obtained from crude drugs get considerable attention. The Greek Herbal of Dioscorides (A. D. 512) may be considered the first textbook of pharmacognosy and Dioscorides a teacher of pharmacognosy. In fourteen centuries much water has run over the pharmacognosy mill, and naturally great advances have been made. Up to the seventeenth century the best books on medical botany were still commentaries on the Herbal, which was also the historic source of much of our therapy. Its descriptions were of the gross specimens; today the emphasis is on microscopic structure and chemical, biologic and physical tests. The authors give a list of thirty or more
Pharmacognosy. JAMA. 1937;108(20):1741. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.02780200063030