November 15, 2017


I've always been interested in folk remedies - "Grandma's Cures" - for whatever ails you.  The history of pharmacology is based on the mixing of concoctions using natural substances, primarily plant extracts for medicinal purposes.  Originally known as "apothecaries," these early pharmacologists prepared and dispensed remedies, often times by trial and error, offering medical advice and services to the general public.  

The life of an apothecary was often not confined to a shop.  The care of a patient was provided at home by the family and country doctors were scarce, if even available. Gathering up his recipes and potions, commonly in an apothecary chest; the traveling apothecary set out on horseback or buggy to the outlying settlements and early townships. 

This was a time when a dipper of water from the community well could be potentially poisonous as cholera ran rampant through the settlements.  Eating spoiled, contaminated food could be deadly, and diseases no more offensive than the common cold, a sore throat, or a bout with the flu resulted in death. Life expectancy was short.  
Folk medicine techniques incorporated herbs and distilled spirits; wild-gathered botanicals and spices made up the folk healers' satchel of curatives.  Alcohol was used, a potent preservative, keeping the fragile herbs and healing flowers from rotting.  And many of these ancient flower and herb-based remedies are still in use today.  

The first "U.S. Pharmacopoeia", drawn up by a convention of doctors and pharmacists in 1820, describes such “official” herbs as Salvia officinalis (garden sage) and Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) as well as drugs then in use. In 1888, the American Pharmaceutical Association published the first National Formulary, establishing standards for the strength, quality, and purity of drugs. Individual pharmacists manufactured their own drugs, with most of the active principles coming from medicinal plants.

Salvia officinalis - garden sage
Garden Sage
Salvia officinalis

Given the time of the year it is and it's importance, click here to learn a bit more about this healing plant.

  Click here to visit the APOTHECARY SHOP

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