Physicians have used herbs and other plants products to treat disease for centuries. During the 19th century, scientist began to pinpoint the chemical components that make these herbs effective treatment.
In 1805, German pharmacist Friedrich Sertürner isolates what he calls sleeping inducing factor’ from an opium plant.
In 1805, he published a paper in Trommsdorff’s Journal der Pharmacie, Vol 13, describing the discovery of opium. The following year, in Vol. 14 of the same journal, Sertürner published a series of chemical and pharmacological experiments involving the inactive meconic acid as well as the active opium constituent he named ‘morphium’, after, the Greek god of dreams.
Morphium or morphine is generally accepted as being the first medicinal alkaloid isolated from any plant.
Friedrich Sertürner (1783-1855)