Pharmacology is one of the milestones of the drug discovery process.


◆ One of the most famous surviving remnants is “Ebers papyrus”, a scroll, some 60 feet long and a foot wide, dating back to the sixteenth century before Christ.


◆ In china, many medicinal plants had been in use since 5000 B.C. The oldest known herbal is pen-t’sao written by emperor SHEN NUNG around 3000 B.C. It contains 365 drugs, one for each day of the year.


◆ In india, Charaka made fifty groups of ten herbs each of which, according to him, would suffice an ordinary physician’s need. similarly Sushrutha arranged 760 herbs in7 distinct sets based on some of their common properties.


Well known treatises in Ayurveda are “Charaka samhita and Sushrutha samhitha”


◆ Hippocrates “Father of medicine”, (460 – 360 B.C.),
◆ Aristotle(384 – 322),
◆ Dioscorides(40 – 80 A.D.),
◆ Galen (131 – 200 A.D.)
took a major part in development of medicine.


◆ In the 1st century AD, there lived a Greek physician by the name of Pedanius Dioscorides. He was the author of a work called De materia medica. This work encompassed botanical terminology as well as how herbs and plants could be used in medicine.


◆ Francois Magendie (1783-1855),  a French physiologist laid down the dictum “Facts and facts  alone are the basis of science.” Experimental procedures with animals are the testing grounds for determination of drug action.


◆ Claude Bernard (1813-1878), investigated the plant extract curare and proposed a site of action for this agent.


◆ Rudolph  Buchheim (1820-1879).  In 1847 Buchheim established  the first laboratory devoted to experimental pharmacology in  the basement of his home in Dorpat which is known as the cradle of experimental pharmacology.


◆ Oswald Schmiedeberg (1838-1921). In  1872 set up an institute of pharmacology in Strasbourg,  France (Germany at that time) which became a mecca for students who were interest in pharmacological problems.


◆ J.N. Langley (1852-1925 and Sir Henry Dale (1875-1968) pioneered pharmacology in England, taking a physiological approach.


◆ John J. Abel (1857-1938) established the first chair of pharmacology in the U.S.A. (U. Michigan, 1891) after training in  Germany.


Able went to Johns Hopkins university in 1893, and trained many U.S. pharmacologists. He is known as “The Father of American Pharmacology”.


◆ The  Second World War  was the impetus for accelerated  research in pharmacology (the war time antimalarial program) in the U.S., and introduced strong analytical and synthetic chemical approaches.


◆ Elliott (1905) suggested that sympathetic nerves functioned by release of Adrenaline like substance.


◆ Dixon (1907) proposed that vagus released a muscarine like chemical.


◆ OTTO LOEWI (1921) in Provided direct proof of humoral transmission by perfusing two frog hearts in series. Stimulation of vagus nerve of first heart caused arrest of both.

◆ Von Euler(1946) Stated that sympathetic transmitter was Noradrenaline.

Scroll to top