When we talk about pharmacy as a subject usually thought revolve around collection, preparation and dispensing of medicinal substance in our mind. Preparing a substance which is ready to be used as a remedy is the concept involved in this subject. Organized linkage of medicinal substances with diseased state is the main scope for study of Pharmacy. The scope of pharmacy practice includes traditional roles such as:
compounding and dispensing medications,
As well as modern services related to:
patient care, including clinical services, reviewing medications for safety and efficacy, and providing drug information.
The word pharmacy is derived from its root word ‘Pharma’ which was a term used since the 1400–1600’s. In addition to pharma responsibilities, the pharma offered general medical advice and a range of services that are now performed solely by other specialist practitioners, such as surgery and midwifery. The pharma (as it was referred to) often operated through a retail shop which, in addition to ingredients for medicines, sold tobacco and patent medicines. The pharmas also used many other herbs not listed.
Now when we take this pharmacy in the Homoeopathic sense, we have to understand how really its scope can be applied for Homoeopathic medicine. Since in our Homoeopathy, our sole purpose is, to treat a diseased vital principle, perceiving the types of medicine required will clear the concept to be applied to the subject of Homoeopathic Pharmacy. The very nature of vital principle indicates that the Principle of Dynamism is applied to the subject of life principle. Dynamic life is affected by the dynamic disease potentialities; as such a dynamic nature of medicine is required. The very thoughts of dynamic medicine brought into existence, the subject of potentising the medicinal substance and enhancing the dynamic properties in the medicine. Thus Homoeopathic thought about preparation of medicine is quite opposite to the nature of medicines to be prepared for the material concept of disease. Diminishing the material property and increasing the dynamic property becomes the basis for Homoeopathic Pharmacy.
Unlike life principle, in all the medicinal substance, there exists both the material substratum as well as dynamic energized property. This provides a definitive nature for each medicine with distinct individual nature. As we believe that God reside in a temple, life principle resides in a body so is the medicinal principle reside in a medicinal substance. Now for prescribing for the diseased life principle we have to apply medicinal principle.
Strictly adhering to the Homoeopathic principle Subject of Pharmacy applied to it relates to extracting the dynamic property from the material substratum. Thus we may divide the whole of the pharmacy subject for Homoeopathy into two stages:
- Pre Homoeopathic stage: It is the stage where we collect the medicinal substance from nature, processing for finding out the medicinal property. This stage is similar as with of the other system of medicine. Up to preparation of mother tincture, more or less pharmaceutical remain the same with little variation.
- Homoeopathic stage- Extracting out the dynamic property from the material. This stage is the Determinitative stage for the homoeopathic pharmacy. Application onward makes the subject very specific for Homoeopathy. Potentising the medicine and beyond mother tincture pharmaceutical process become more specific and exclusive for the Homoeopathy.
Now let us review some of pharmacy in History which will indicate how unique concept is Homoeopathic Pharmacy. Entire history of Pharmacy revolve around the material, it was Dr.Hahnemann, who with his concept of Vital Principle thought of potentising the medicinal substance and extracting out the dynamic property preserved in vehicle or carrier. Paleo-pharmacological studies attest to the use of medicinal plants in pre-history.
Ayurvedic Development: The earliest known compilation of medicinal substances was the Sushruta Samhita, an Indian Ayurvedic literature by Sushruta in the 6th century BC to provide information on the use and preparation of herbal medicine. However, the earliest text as preserved dates to the 3rd or 4th century AD.
Sumerian Development Many Sumerian (late 6th millennium BC – early 2nd millennium BC) cuneiform clay tablets record prescriptions for medicine.
Egyptian Development: Ancient Egyptian pharmacological knowledge was recorded in various papyri such as the Ebers Papyrus of 1550 BC, and the Edwin Smith Papyrus of the 16th century BC.
Chinese’s Development; The earliest known Chinese manual on Materia Medica is the Shennong Bencao Jing (The Divine Farmer’s Herb-Root Classic), dating back to the 1st century AD. It was compiled during the Han dynasty and was attributed to the mythical Shennong. Earlier literature included lists of prescriptions for specific ailments, exemplified by a manuscript “Recipes for 52 Ailments”, found in the Mawangdui tomb, sealed in 168 BC. Chinese concept was a movement towards the dynamism as they had thoughts on the life principle of yin and yang concept. Yet pharmacy remains limited to material stage.
Greek Development: The Greek physician Pedanius Dioscorides is famous for writing a five volume book in his native Greek in the 1st century AD. The Latin translation of “De Materia Medica” (Concerning medical substances) was used as a basis for many mediveal texts, and was built upon by many Middle Eastern scientists during the Islamic Golden Age. The title coined the term ‘Materia Medica’.
Japanese Development: In Japan, at the end of the Asuka period (538-710) and the early Nara period (710-794), the men who fulfilled roles similar to those of modern pharmacists were highly respected. The place of pharmacists in society was expressly defined in the Taiho Code (701) and re-stated in the Yoro Code (718). Ranked positions in the Pre-Heian Imperial court were established; and this organizational structure remained largely intact until the Meiji Restoration (1868). In this highly stable hierarchy, the pharmacists — and even pharmacist assistants — were assigned status superior to all others in health-related fields such as physicians and acupuncturists. In the Imperial household, the pharmacist was even ranked above the two personal physicians of the Emperor.
Islamic Development: During the Golden Era of Islam around 754B.C. first pharmaceutical system was introduced. By the 9th century, these pharmacies became state-regulated. The advances in made in the Middle East in Botany and Chemistry led medicine in Medieval Islam substantially to develop pharmacology.
Post Hahnemanian concept in dynamic Pharmacy: There exist a distinct division between the material pharmacy and the pharmacy in dynamics. Materialism providing the substratum always remains visible; in spite of the reality visibility is dependent on the dynamism.
After the Hahnemann’s rediscovery of Homoeopathy, we observe that it was further applied to splinter group of system of medicines such as Bach’s Flower Remedies, Cosmic rays therapy and other.
In Homoeopathy also we find dynamic pharmacy getting more reorganized with scale of potency getting more updated from decimal, centesimal and now the fifty millisimal.
While the dynamic pharmacy of Homoeopathy is still awaiting acceptance and recognition from the modern concepts in Pharmacy, we find Homoeopathic pharmacy has taken a definitive shape of becoming commercial and new scope of Industrial Pharmacy.