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What is an Apothecary?

An apothecary is one who prepares and sells drugs or compounds for medicinal purposes.

A Little History

“Apothecarius” or “Apotheca” is Latin for a storehouse or repository.  In England, during the 13th century, an “apothecary” or “spicer” was the shopkeeper who sold non-perishable groceries, herbs, spices and wine.  By the sixteenth century apothecaries were well on their way to becoming as current day pharmacists, specializing more and more in the preparation and sale of medicine.  The evolution of the apothecary has varied in individual countries.  However, most began with the role of the physician, surgeon and apothecary being played by the same individual.  This was also true in America until the early 1800s when the apothecary began to cease practicing both pharmacy and medicine and physicians began learning more to write prescriptions rather than compound them.

 

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