Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Glimpse At The History Of The Pharmacist Profession

{Photo: The Sibiu Pharmacy Museum in Sibiu, in the Transylvania region of Romania, is housed in a 1569 Gothic townhouse where the oldest pharmacy in Romania operated for over 150 years. The pharmacy was known as La Ursul Negru (The Black Bear), and likely looked nothing like this. While the museum has a vast collection of chemistry instruments ranging from the 15th century to the 19th, this beautiful pharmacy reconstruction dates from the 18th century.}

While not quite specific to the realm of oncology pharmacy I thought pharmacists from all fields would enjoy a look back at the roots of our profession. I stumbled upon this intriguing piece on pharmacist history whilst searching for something in WIkipedia. The last statment below is very interesting and amusing indeed.

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 pharamacists were highly
respected. The place of pharmacists in society was expressly defined in the Taihō Code (701) and re-stated in the Yōrō 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.

Of course, as Bob Dylan sang: "The Times They Are A-Changing."


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Pharmacy History

"The earliest known compilation of medicinal substances was ARIANA the Sushruta Samhita, an Indian Ayurvedic treatise attributed to Sushruta in the 6th century BC. However, the earliest text as preserved dates to the 3rd or 4th century AD.
Many Sumerian (late 6th millennium BC - early 2nd millennium BC) cuneiform clay tablets record prescriptions for medicine.[3]

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.

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. Further details on Chinese pharmacy can be found in the Pharmacy in China article."

From Wikipedia:

Journal of Palliative Medicine - Table of Contents

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