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It is the pharmacist’s role to ensure the purity and effectiveness of drugs. At the same time, pharmacists collaborate with other health professionals in order to provide the best healthcare to afflicted patients.
Right at the dawn of civilization, human began attempting to use natural substances to fight against diseases. Early medicine consisted of readily available plants and minerals. The first pharmacists were selected individuals in society known in some cultures as ‘medicine men’ or ‘healers.’ The basis of this early practice was a combination of superstitious belief and natural science. Early practitioners were sometimes referred to as ‘sorcerers’ or ‘magicians’. The English word pharmacy itself traces its etymology to the Greek word pharmakeia, which means sorcery or witchcraft. Te empirical shift in perspective came with the advent of Greek medicine. The study of the history of pharmacy is to understand the practice in its wider concept of modern society, understand its functions and its trend in the future.
Mesopotamian civilizations were among the earliest producers of medicinal drugs between 3000Bc and 539BC. Medicine is this era was intertwined with religion. Sickness was considered punishment for sin. Healing, on the other hand, was considered cleansing or purification (Kremers, 1986). Medicine mainly was made from plants. An examination of clay tablets revealed the use of plant drugs and minerals. Milk, wax, honey and various fats and oils were also used for medicinal purposes. A document dated 2000BC shows a record of powdered seeds to be dissolved in beer and offered to the patient. Mythology played a huge role in this early practice. Dispensation of drugs included drug formulas and incantations involving the mention of mythical gods like ‘Ea’ and ‘Gula.’ Ninazu was considered god of the healers, and his son messenger of the gods. They were symbolized by a rod and a serpent. Kremers (1986)notes the
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