cod. 1004507

Academic year 2024/25
1° year of course - Second semester
Academic discipline
Farmacologia (BIO/14)
Discipline biologiche e farmacologiche
Type of training activity
40 hours
of face-to-face activities
5 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Integrated course unit module: PLANT BIOLOGY - PHARMACOGNOSY

Learning objectives

Knowledge and understanding skills
1) To acquire the basic notions of pharmacognosy (drug, phytocomplex, active principles, technological processes, phytochemistry, classification of active principles)
2) To know the botanical name of the principal botanicals
3) To acquire preliminary pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic notions to understand the pharmacological activity of natural substances.
4) To know the pharmacological activity of the main natural molecules and their mechanisms of action
5) To acquire the ability in using the specific language of the discipline.

Knowledge and understanding applied skills
1) To apply the knowledge of the mechanisms of action of the natural molecules to define their pharmacological activity and use

Judgment autonomy
1) To evaluate the validity of a phytotherapy product in independent manner

Communicative Skills
1) To possess the ability to synthesize information and effectively communicate it to specialists and non-specialists.

Learning Skills
1) Develop skills and methodology that will allow you to study in a highly independent way.
2) Updating the knowledge through the consultation of reliable scientific databases


There are not prerequisites. Basic knowledge of general chemistry, animal biology and anatomy allow the students to understand the matter

Course unit content

First part: general aspects on medicines, herbal medicines, medical devices, dietary supplements, homeopathic products; basic concepts of pharmacognosy; preparation of herbal products; basics of pharmacology.
Second part: general aspects of phytochemistry; the active principles in the botanicals.
Third part: therapeutical applications of herbal drugs.

Full programme

General aspects on drugs, herbal drugs, medical devices, dietary supplements, homeopathic products.
Traditional medicine, phytotherapy, dietary supplementation, homeopathy.
Definition of botanicals, drug, phytocomplex and active compounds.
Basics of general pharmacology: pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics.
Technology of natural medical products: harvesting, drying, grinding, squeezing, enfleurage, distillation, extraction.
Drug acquisition and preservation.
Galenical preparations: tinctures, extracts, infusions, essential oils, hydrolates, juices.

Chemistry and pharmacological activity of the vegetal active principles
- carbohydrates: monosaccharides, oligosaccharides, homogeneous and heterogeneous polysacchrides
- glycosides: cardioactive, cyanogenics, sulphurated, antraquinones, saponins.
- alkaloids: purinergics, tropanics, curaries, opium, hallucinogen mushrooms, ergot, china, nux vomica, tobacco
- lipids: oils, fats, waxes.
-polyphenols: flavonoids, tannins
- essential oils

Herbal products acting on gastrointestinal system
Carminatives: Foeniculum vulgare, Pimpinella anisum, Illicium verum, Ilicium Anisatum,
Gastritis: Glycyrrhiza glabra, Althea officinalis, alginates, aloe gel
Laxatives: insoluble fibers, soluble fibers, manna, Rhamnus frangula, Rhamnus purshiana, Cassia spp, Aloe juice, spp, Rheum spp.

Herbal products acting on the central nervous system
- Stimulants: Coffea arabica, Thea sinensis, Theobroma cacao, Cola spp, Ilex
paraguayensis, Paullinia cupana
-Sedative: Valeriana officinalis, Passiflora incarnata, Melissa officinalis, humulus lupulus
-antidepressant; Hypericum perforatum

Drugs and herbal compounds acting on cardiovascular system
- Hypolipidemis: Cynara scolimus, Allium sativum, red yeast rice, phytosterol
- Peripheral vascular disorders : Aesculus hippocastanum, Hamamelis virginiana, Vaccinium myrtillus, Ruscus aculeatus

Herbal products acting on respiratory system
- Expectorants: Glycyrrhiza glabra, Hedera helix, Poligala senega, Eucaliptus globulus, Melaleuca spp, Menta piperita, Pimpinella anisum, Foeniculum vulgare.
- Cough: Althaea officinalis, Malva sylvestris, codeine.
Drugs active on immune system:
- aloe spp., Eleuterococcus senticosus Maxim, Uncaria tomentosa, Astragalus membranaceus Fisch, Echinacea spp.
Bibliographic research with scientific databases in order to have solid information


M.Tognolini, I. Zanotti - Principi di Farmacognosia e Fitoterapia, seconda edizione - UNINOVA

Teaching methods

The lessons will be frontal and will be complemented by online bibliographic research.
Some selected slides among those used to support the lessons will be uploaded weekly on the Elly platform. They represent an integral part of the teaching material

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral examination, to be performed together with Plant Biology (they are a single exam, both modules must be sufficient to overcome it).
Scale of assessment: 0-30
Weights and evaluation criteria:
1) Acquired knowledge (up to 15/30);
2) Ability to apply the acquired knowledge and to make connections between the covered topics (up to 10/30);
3) capacity to communicate concepts through the use of the specific language of the discipline (up to 5/30).

Other information

The teacher is available to meet the students in the office or via Teams. Ask for an appointment at:

tel: 0521 905040