Ginseng: the history of an insignificant plant

Author(s): Court WE


Introduction Pharmacy and medicine belong to the oldest human activities, so the development of these sciences is closely related to the socio-economic, cultural and religious opportunities of the nations within which they have been developing. Goals To present the historical influence of pharmacy on the development of the human being from its very beginning; To present the historical link between pharmaceutical and medical activity, as well as early development of independent pharmaceutical activity; To present the historical influence of pharmacists on the development of botany and pharmacognosy and to present the historical influence of the first written herbarium and incunabula on the development of pharmacognosy. Material and Methods The article has a descriptive character, and represents a systematic review of the literature dealing with this topic. Results The roots of pharmacy started to the very beginning of human civilization, when people collected various medicinal herbs and try to alleviate their health problems, pain and suffering. The scientific foundations of the pharmacy were set up in the antique period by the books of Dioskurides and Galen, and its further development continued in the mid-century, at the beginning by rewriting famous parts of ancient literature, and later by writing new discoveries (the base of this development was represented by South Italy) so that in 1240, for the first time in history, came the separation of doctors and pharmacists, and at the beginning of the 13th century the opening of the first pharmacy. Conclusion The effort to maintain knowledge of medicinal herbs and its practical application has led to the writing of a large number of recipes books, the forerunners of today’s pharmacopeia, while the aspiration to classify medicinal herbs, and the desire to present medicinal herbs to ordinary people, has led to a large number of herbaria, making the knowledge and descriptions of plants available to many, not just the nobility. Descriptions of plants in herbaria and later in incunabula lead to the development of pharmacognosy, and to the opening of the first Department for pharmacognosy, 1545 in Padua.

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