Modern pharmacologic research is slowly but surely establishing itself on substantial foundations. Time was, and not in a wholly remote past, when authors of textbooks of materia medica tried to analyze the pharmacodynamic actions of complex physical constituents in many drugs, such as digitalis, ergot, squills, etc. But the newer studies prosecuted in many laboratories demand a knowledge of the molecular chemical structure of the individual constituents before investigations are commenced, and the appreciation of the part played by the different chemical radicals in a complex synthetic combination, be it of digitoxin, chrysotoxin, scillain or acetanilid, is intimately bound up in the interpretation of the pharmacologic results.
No more promising field of experimental research has been opened up than the study of the effects of different radicals when added to well-known compounds, and the synthetic chemist and pharmacologist are hand and glove in their endeavors to work out new combinations
PHARMACOLOGY OF THE ORGANIC NITRATES.. JAMA. 1900;XXXIV(3):175-176. doi:10.1001/jama.1900.02460030049008