Phytopharmacology is a term coined by the Russian scientist David Macht in the 1930s. Macht used the term for the field of study of the effects of drugs on plants. The term has since changed its meaning to become an established field of drug research, where the active substances come from plants (a field Macht would have called zoopharmacology where the drugs are applied to humans or animals). One journal in the field is Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy & Phytopharmacology. The advantages of seeking medicines from plants are due both to the millions of years of co-evolution between plants and animals which has led to interactions between their constituent chemicals, and the nature of enzyme driven synthesis leading to optically purechiral molecules whose reactions in the mammalian body can be very specific.
Many pharmacological preparations currently in use are derived from plants. Digoxin and aspirin are two of the earliest commercially refined plant preparations still available.