Definition of pharmacognosy in US English:



  • The branch of knowledge concerned with medicinal drugs obtained from plants or other natural sources.

    • ‘In addition to conducting basic and clinical research looking at standardization, metabolism, and toxicity of botanicals, the center will support research training in pharmacognosy (the study of natural products).’
    • ‘While not all colleges of pharmacy require instruction in herbal therapies or pharmacognosy, inclusion of information about herbal medicines in the curriculum is an effective way to insure knowledge in this area.’
    • ‘‘The center brings together Chinese-medicine doctors, pharmacognosy experts, epidemiologists, and poison control experts in an effort to build an organized database of information on Chinese drug poisoning,’ Lin said.’
    • ‘This manuscript reviews the history and pharmacognosy of opium, and describes the chemistry, pharmacology, and therapeutic uses of the major opium alkaloids.’
    • ‘Most pharmacy or medical schools stopped teaching pharmacognosy long ago and are now scrambling to revive them with the increased interest in alternative treatments.’


Mid 19th century: from pharmaco- ‘of drugs’ + gnōsis ‘knowledge’.