History of pharmacology

The history of pharmacology is as old as human kind. Developments in pharmacology tended to occur during periods of rapid socioeconomic change. In primitive societies, plants served as medicines. Primitive people observed and mimicked the behavior of animals or discovered some curable properties of plants by accident. This period in pharmacology is commonly called the empirical period. Gradually, healing became the privilege of clergyman, who attributed the power of medicines to divine strength. This time is known as empirical-mystical period. During the feudal period, which coincided with a general decline in science and culture, progress in pharmacology and medicine ground to a halt. Medical art was in the domain of monks who preached scholasticism, a religious-idealistic philosophy of the Middle Ages. The effects of medicines were related to the position of the moon, constellations and planets. Astrology became an integral part of medicine, and alchemy grew very popular. This period of the history of medicine and pharmacology is usually referred to as religious-scholastic.

Pharmacology as a science began with the formation of large nation states and significant economic development of the 18th and 19th century. First, experimental methodology was introduced for the analysis and the determination of action of medicinal preparations. Extraction technique were developed, which, for example, allowed pharmacologists to obtain alkaloids from various plants. Pharmacology was particularly advanced with the development of synthetic preparations. These development gradually led to the formation of the chemical-pharmaceutical industry.

Pharmacology is usually subdivided into general and specialized. General pharmacology investigates the gross action of medicines. Special pharmacology deals with concrete pharmacological groups and individual preparations. The most attention in both subdivisions is given to pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of the medicinal preparations.

Pharmacokinetics is a part of pharmacology studying absorption, distribution in the body, metabolism and excretion of the medicine.

Pharmacodynamics provides information about the effects of individual medicines and also their mechanism of action and localization.

The effect of medicine results from its interaction with the organism. That is why pharmacological research is multidisciplinary. Pharmacology also involves the study of toxic and negative side effects of the medicines. A pioneer in this area was Soviet pharmacologist, Israel Brekhman (1980). Pharmacosanation is the study of the action of biologically active substances entering a healthy body in the form of food or medicines that prevent illness, increase resistance to various adverse factors, and enhance recovery from biological stressors. (Brekhman, 1982).

Originally, the concept of pharmacosanation came from the science of health, or valeology (from the Latin word "valeo" meaning "I am well", "I am fit".) But very soon it became integrated into sports medicine. Known in the Soviet Union as sports pharmacology, its development was an important part of the sports achievement of athletes from the USSR and the East Bloc sports superpowers, East Germany, Hungary and Bulgaria.

The development of sports pharmacosanation occurred for many reasons. Besides the social and political motives, its appearance was a progressive step in the separation of preventative and treatment pharmacology. Competitive athletes are subject to many hardships — strenuous work, injuries, cold and heat, thirst and fatigue, and emotional stress. These stresses can lead to immunosuppression and illness. Sports pharmacology pharmacosanation has proven useful in helping athletes cope with the physical and emotional stresses of training and competition.

Sports pharmacology has developed its own methodology and philosophy. To some extent, people balance between health and illness throughout life. In practical terms, very few people enjoy perfect health; most people live in an intermediate state between good and bad health. The capacity to resist illnesses is dependent upon a person's healthy reserve.