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Pharmacopoeias and Dispensatories.

Drugs, (Drugan, to dry), are material agents of every kind employed in the treatment of disease. The term was formerly applied to vegetable medicaments in their original form, and is still, by many persons, used in a similar sense.

A Pharmacopoeia is the official list of drugs and their preparations recognized by the medical profession in a certain country;—as THE PHARMACOPOEIA OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, (U. S. P.),—The British Pharmacopoeia, (B. P), etc. In other countries this list has the force of law, being issued under governmental auspices; but in the United States it has only the prestige of a professional publication, being revised every ten years by a convention of delegates representing the medical and pharmaceutical professions. The seventh decennial revision of the U. S. Pharmacopoeia was made in 1890, published in 1893, and is official from January 1st, 1894.

A Dispensatory is a Commentary upon one or more of the national pharmacopoeias, and treats of the medicinal substances official therein and their preparations as also of such unofficial ones as are of especial interest. It is a private publication, having only such authority as is conceded to the reputation of its author. The two great dispensatories are American publications, and are veritable drug-encyclopaedias, so elaborately do they deal with the subjects treated of by them. They are—

The Dispensatory of the United States of America, by Dr. Geo. B. Wood and Dr. Franklin Bache, 17th edition, revised and largely rewritten, by Wood, Remington and Sadtler. Philadelphia, 1894.

The National Dispensatory, 5th edition, revised by Professors Stillè, Maisch and Caspari. Philadelphia, 1894.

(Here you can clearly see the division into two camps: Potter doesn't mention King's American Dispensatory in his list of dispensatories. But then again, Felter/Lloyd don't mention Wood/Bache's Dispensatory in King's at any time. Of course, there was bad blood, as Wood/Bache had required King to retract a whole print run of his American Dispensatory and rename it to something else, a few decades earlier. Also, back in 1869, you'll see Cook ranting against King every now and then (eg. here, here and here).
It'd all be very funny, if this infighting hadn't pulled the rug from under herbal medicine back in the 1930s. So let's play nice in this time and age, eh? --Henriette)


A Compend of Materia Medica, Therapeutics, and Prescription Writing, 1902, by Sam'l O. L. Potter, M.D., M.R.C.P.L.



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