The pharmacology of opium differs from that of morphine (q.v.) in a few particulars.
The motor nerves of the arteries, of the bladder and rectal sphincters, and also of the bronchi, are paralysed by atropine, but the nervous arrangements of those organs are highly complex and until they are further unravelled by physiologists, pharmacology will be unable to give much information which might be of great value in the employment of atropine.
These assertions, and the total inadequacy of the pharmacology of colchicum, as above detailed, to explain its specific therapeutic property, show that the secret of colchicum is as yet undiscovered.
Despite the general recognition of these facts, the pharmacology of colchicum has hitherto thrown no light on the pathology of gout, and the pathology of gout has thrown no light upon the manner in which colchicum exerts its unique influence upon this disease.
In the monastic period pharmacy was to a great extent under the control of the religious orders, particularly the Benedictines, who, from coming into contact with the Arabian physicians, devoted themselves to pharmacy, pharmacology and therapeutics; but, as monks were forbidden to shed blood, surgery fell largely into the hands of barbers, so that the class of barber-surgeons came into existence, and the sign of their skill in blood-letting still appears in provincial districts in England in the form of the barber's pole, representing the application of bandages.
It is impossible also to dissociate pharmacology from clinical therapeutics; the former investigates the agents which are used in the treatment of disease, the latter is concerned with their remedial powers and the conditions under which they are to be used.