Whether it is finding wonder plants that may help fight memory loss or taking skin care back to its natural source, the field of Pharmacognosy is constantly on the look out for natural ways of healing. A branch of botany, it is a study of medicines derived from plants.
Ancient civilizations provide records of treatment of certain diseases using natural ingredients extracted from minerals, bacteria, fungi, plants and animals. Over the years, new miracle drugs came to be produced in laboratories. But scientists are now recognizing that indigenous knowledge about the medicinal virtue of many plants offers great insight into the development of new drugs.
Today, Pharmacognosy forms an important part of pharmaceutical research and development. So if you want to use your fascination with nature to help people, you can become a pharmacognosist.
How it works:
Pharmacognosy focuses on how natural elements from plants and animals can be used to improve human lives and enhance one’s understanding of the world. It has applications in the areas of nutrition, medicine, agriculture and technology. Pharmacognosists identify natural drug sources, plan for cultivation of medicinal plants and evaluate the pharmacology of the extracts.
Pharmacognosy opens up diverse job and research opportunities. In the public sector, government agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration hire pharmacognosists . They can also work in the private sector as researchers and developers in the pharmaceutical, biomedical and biotechnology companies. The field of alternative medicine is also open to pharmacognosists. The Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) has been set up to propagate natural systems of medicine and health care.
What to study?
To enter the field of Pharmacognosy, you need a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) with Botany and Chemistry or a Bachelor of Pharmacy (B.Pharm). A diploma course in Pharmacy before taking admission in B.Pharma is another option. You can seek further specialisation in Pharmacognosy at the postgraduate level with a Master of Pharmacy (M.Pharm). If you are interested in alternative medicine, you can pursue a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) in Dravyaguna. This is a two-year full-time course in medicine involving the study of the substances in Ayurveda.
Where to study?
- M.S. Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences, Bengaluru: M.Pharm in Pharmacognosy
- Poona College of Pharmacy: M.Pharm in Pharmacognosy
- The Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara: M.Pharma . in Pharmacognosy Herbal Drugs
- Delhi Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research Institute: M.Pharm in Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry
- Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai: M.Pharm in Medicinal Natural Product
- A love for the natural world
- Keen interest in medicine
- Observational and analytical skills
- Orientation towards research
- Training in Chemistry
- Patience and willingness to work hard
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