Brief Summary: The current pharmacological concept of the drug in Western (Euro-American) medicine has long been Paracelsus . Although adapogens and medicinal plants are once again recognized, it is appropriate to clarify that drug assessment and all pharmaceutical legislation are still implicitly governed by Paracelsus' view.
Paracelsus and its pharmaceutical innovations
In the 16th century, Paracelsus was a great pioneer in the use of minerals and inorganic substances in European pharmacotherapy, which was based mainly on herbs. He has achieved success with the treatment of syphilis with mercury salts administered in small doses; he has been banned from publishing after he rightly described the guajak wood used to date to be inappropriate against syphilis. The true stories that Paracelsus has dealt with witchcraft, alchemy, hermetism, exploration of so-called minerals signatures , amulets, and refusal to treat astral bodies as defamation. On the other hand, I see in his attempt to generalize medical science, which was better than in the 20th century in the unified theory of medicine to which the concept of adaptogen follows. In this sense, Paracelsus and modern scientists dealing with adaptogens tried to do the same. Chronic poisoning with arsenic and mercury compounds eventually left Paracelsus himself alone . After his death, the glory of Paracelsus drugs continued to grow, mainly in the treatment of syphilis and generally in antibacterial substances, culminating in the discovery of salvarsan, antibiotic compounds of bismuth, penicillin, sulfonamides, tetracycline and modern antibiotics ( Aminov2010bha ).
In the hilt of his sword, Paracelsus wore his secret cure - laudanum - which he had saved only for the most difficult and fatally ill. It was an opioid analgesic in the form of small pills . Opioids also included a famous Venetian dry-waiter, and palliative care for those who are still ill.
According to the Paracels maxima " sola dosis facit venenum ", each active substance is poison or drug depending on the dose. This maxim is illustrated by the fact that even water or glucose can be poisoned in sufficient quantity. Paracelsus drug therapy also uses treatment with poisonous substances, the potency of which is expressed by the therapeutic index - an overdose of an effective dose (ED 50 ) to a toxic dose (LD 50 ) (see wikipedia ). The effective dose of ED 50 is that in which 50% of patients are treated or, depending on the type of disease, 50% of the patient's condition is adjusted. The toxic dose LD50 is that at which 50% of laboratory animals are degraded (converted to kilogram live weight). According to Paracelsov's view, each drug is linked to a specific indication - the main effect of which ED 50 enters the therapeutic index. Other effects are referred to as side effects. The Paracelsus view of the drugs is as follows:
Paracelsus paradigm of the drug
- Each drug has a specific indication (main effect) and has an effective dose (ED 50 ).
- Each drug is a poison and each drug has a lethal dose (LD 50 ). The LD 50 / ED 50 ratio expresses the quality of the drug.
- Effects beyond the main effect are referred to as side effects.
When I say that today's legislation follows the above-mentioned view, I do not overdo it. It does not distinguish between poisons and drugs. It only distinguishes between strong and weakly active substances. For example, Decree of Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic No. 343/2003 Coll. separates medicinal plants to "very strong", "very potent" and "other used", and the deadly poisonous plants (spruce, hellebore, bayonet, oleander, mandragory, highly effective ". Adaptogens are generally classified as "other used", ie implicitly ineffective. The non-distinction between drugs and poisons also means that pharmaceutical laws inherited from the 20th century do not talk about drug toxicity but about so-called "side effects".
Paracelsus' view of adaptogens can not be balanced
Paracelsus's legislative view of adaptogens does not matter. They view them as food ("dietary supplements"), placebo (inactive substances and other homeopathic medicines), or as panacea ("herbs" without indications). Good adaptogens do not have an LD50 and therefore their therapeutic index can not be quantified. Adaptogens also have no major effect. An effective dose of adaptogen (ED 50 ) in specific indications can be measured, but this does not reflect the overall quality of the adaptogen. This problem has been solved only by the definition that introduces the adaptogen as a separate drug ideal for which a real pharmacist may be more or less close.
I do not see Paracelsa or today's legislators ignorant of the fact that there are even harmless effective drugs. Paracelsus was a pioneer worthy of respect. It is not that any theory he has created has led the legislator today to a shame. The Paracelsus paradigm chose the legislation because it best suits its interests. Drug legislation was largely introduced in response to poison scandals, such as cocaine and opium pills from the 1920s, radioactive preparations for internal use from the 1930s and thalidomide scandals of the 1950s. The institutionalization of medicines, including harmless medicinal plants, is only one of many facets of progressive institutionalization of all aspects of human life and the progressive buildup of laws and decrees that have proven demonstrably in the 20th century without leading to a fairer world. (See also Comparison of Adaptogens and Paracelsus Drugs .)