The discipline of pharmacology originated in the 19th century. The development of pharmacology was born from synthetic organic chemistry in 1828, when Friedrich Wohler synthesized area from organic substances and thus demolished the vital force theory. The birth date of pharmacology is not as clear cut. In the early 19th century, physiologists performed many pharmacologic studies. Francois Magendle studies the action of nux vomica ( a strychnine containing plant drug) on dogs and showed that the spinal cord was the site of its convulsant action.
In 1842, Claud Bernard discovered that the arrow poison, curare, acts at neuromuscular junction to interrupt the stimulation of muscle by nerve impulses. According to Walter Sneader, Pharmacology emerged as a separate science in 1847 when Rudolf Buchheim was appointed professor of pharmacology at the University of Estonia (then a part of Russia). Lacking fund, Buchheim built a laboratory at his own expense in the basement of his home. Oswald Schmiedeberg a student of Buchheim (1938 – 1921) is generally regarded as founder of modern pharmacology. He ran a renowned school at his institute in Strassburg attracting students all over the world such as J.J Abel (1857 – 1938) father of pharmacology in the USA while Cushney in the UK, from where (University of Ibadan then a College of University of London) started pharmacology in the fifties, Ibadan has pioneered the study of pharmacology and supported its development in Nigerian Universities including Olabisi Onabanjo University.