I. E. Cocka,b*
aBiomolecular and Physical Sciences, Nathan Campus, Griffith University, 170 Kessels Rd, Nathan, Brisbane, Queensland 4111, Australia.
bEnvironmental Futures Centre, Nathan Campus, Griffith University, 170 Kessels Rd, Nathan, Brisbane, Queensland 4111, Australia
Published: July 2011
Pharmacognosy is the branch of pharmacology that studies drugs in their crude and/or natural states. In general, when we describe pharmacognosy, we are usually referring to plant based medicinal systems. However, it is important to note that medicinal preparations may also be derived from animal sources as well as from fungi and microorganisms. Indeed, the discovery of the fungal antibiotic agent penicillin (from Penicillinum spp.)  is one of the most important medicinal findings to date. Many other useful medicinal products are also derived from fungi including the immunosuppressant mycophenolic acid (also from Penicillinum spp.) and purgative anthraquinone emodin (from Penicillium islandicum). Also, numerous hallucinogenic substances (eg. psilocin and psilocybin) are produced by Psilocybe spp. (family Tricholometaceae) of fungi. Read more…