Express Pharma

Need to re-engineer pharmacognosy science | Dr Swarnlata Saraf


The pharmacognosy branch of pharmaceutical sciences can  remain in the pharmacy profession with re-engineering the contents according to the views of a pharmacist and not on the basis of botanist perceptions.

This branch can be reengineered on the basis of the following points:

  • The monographs of a crude drug is to be taught to the students keeping the pharmacology point of view in mind. For instance, quantity of active constituents in a given amount of material.
  • Everybody in the world feeling the necessity of natural treatment of minor ailments, with respect to the indigenous system of medication, that is based on natural resources specially plants/crude material is to be identified by the students just by a few basic points.
  • Fingerprinting methodology to be included to identify the crude drug by a pharmacist instead of botanical points of identification and standardisation.
  • Nowadays farming is promoted with use of pesticides and organic manure that causes the problem in identification of drugs. That too should be taught to the students.
  • More than 90 per cent of public in the country believe in natural formulations. That’s why common household preparations with proper method of preparation is to be taught to promote our culture and traditions by means of long life.
  • Particular phyto-constituent and their dose in extract form is to be taught to students for preparation of formulations.
  • The production part of herbs extract is to be taught to students to make them skilled in proper handling of extract without loss of its potency.
  • Innovative areas like herbal technology and phyto-screening using modern instrument parameters to be included in curriculum.
  • The newer branch ‘herbal formulation development’ has been evolved that is an amalgamation of pharmacognosy and pharmaceutics to be taught to students.
  • Pharmacognosy is a branch dealing in ‘Crude Drugs’ that means material giving action in body. Crude drug is any type of naturally occurring, undefined substance obtained from organic or inorganic sources such as plant, animal, bacteria, organs or whole organisms intended for used in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in humans or other animals. The definition of this branch needs to change by addition of herbal technology.
  • Ayurveda system of medication mainly consists of plants and natural resources and most importantly classical method of its preparation. It is based on results of continuous efforts of clinical outputs by Ayurvedacharyas. But now things have been changed due to change in farming methodology so claims are different and that cause of change is to be taught to students with respect to Ayurveda preparation.
  • The content-based crude drug quantity and regional variation causes lots of differences in standards of Ayurveda as well as herbal preparations.

In context of pharmacognosy field of specialisation, we should do finger printing of crude drugs with respect to Ayurveda as well as Herbal formulation Industry to know the exact amount that is to be used in preparation. Hence on the basis of the above criteria, things should be kept in mind and reengineering in pharmacognosy should be accordingly implemented.

Next article – The subject is essential for pharma science | Dr N Udupa

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