The term Pharmacognosy comes from two Greek words: "pharmakon" meaning drug or medicine, and "gnosis" meaning knowledge. The American Society of Pharmacognosy defines pharmacognosy as "the study of the physical, chemical, biochemical and biological properties of drugs, drug substances or potential drugs or drug substances of natural origin as well as the search for new drugs from natural sources". The study of drugs from plants includes the subjects of botany, chemistry and pharmacology. Botany covers the identification of crude viz. taxonomic identification, Macroscopic identification and Microscopic identification.
As, 80 % of the homoeopathic drugs are derived from botanical sources, out of which approximately 60% are exotic by origin which need the proper identification and purity before using for preparation of drugs.
Pharmacognosy section of laboratory is actively engaged in the taxonomical identification along with macro and microscopically identification of medicinal plants used in the homoeopathic system of medicine. Section is well equipped with modern scientific instruments viz. microtome, compound microscope and digital microscope with latest image applications used for botanical identification of plants. For microscopical studies, temporary and permanent slides has been prepared. Section also maintain the library of digital microscopic photographs of crude drugs.
Sections also actively engaged in the standardization of medicinal plants used in the homoeopathy by using modern techniques of pharmacognosy. Section leads the pharmacopoeial work and prepared the draft monographs for Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia of India. So far, 10 volumes of Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia of India has been published which covers more than 900 botanical drugs used in the Homoeopathic System of Medicines.
Regularly survey cum collection tours across the country in diffract agro-climatic zones has also been conducted by pharmacognosy section of HPL. So far, Central Himalayan range, Central India and South India has been extensively explored by the officials of section and collected the medicinal plants used in the homoeopathic system of medicine.
Apart from the pharmacognostic work, the section also provides hands on training on pharmacognostic tools used in the standardization of homoeopathic drugs to drugs inspectors, asst. drugs controllers, Govt. analyst, faculty and student of various colleges across the Nation.
- Mr. K. N. Sharma, Research Officer (Plant Introduction), Head of the Section
- Dr. Lalit Tiwari, Scientific Assistant (Pharmacognosy)
- Mr. Kanwar Sain, Laboratory Attendant
- Mrs. Renu Yadav, Gardner