Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo / Portale Web di Ateneo


A.Y. Credits
2019/2020 6
Lecturer Email Office hours for students
Ester Zito 1-2 PM each Tuesday
Teaching in foreign languages
Course with optional materials in a foreign language English
This course is entirely taught in Italian. Study materials can be provided in the foreign language and the final exam can be taken in the foreign language.

Assigned to the Degree Course

Pharmacy (LM-13)
Date Time Classroom / Location
Date Time Classroom / Location

Learning Objectives

The aim of the course is to provide the student with the concepts regarding the recognition, composition and biological effects of substances of natural origin and the active ingredients contained in them, in order to use them for therapeutic purposes in pharmacies, industry or in the Research. In particular, the course focuses on the knowledge of herbal drugs in the following aspects: Therapeutic properties and medical use, traditional use, contraindications, toxic effects, pharmacological activity, main metabolites, bioactive metabolites, recognition and identification (morphological characteristics, organoleptic properties), origin and sophistication.


PHARMACOGNOSY: Definition and purposes of pharmacognosy; drug definition and classification. Variability in drug activity: endogenous, exogenous and preparation-dependent natural factors. Conservation of drugs. Drug analysis: identification, quality control. Identification, distinctive characteristics, contained active principles, therapeutic uses, toxic effects, medicinal preparations, of the following drugs: Carbohydrate-containing drugs (monosaccharides, oligosaccharides, polysaccharides, polysaccharides of algae, gums and mucilages). Lipid-containing drugs (oils and fats, waxes). Drugs containing glycosides (anthraquinone, cyan genes, sulphides, soap, alcohol, phenolic). Drugs containing phenylpropanoids (coumarins, lignans, flavonoids, tannins). Drugs containing alkaloids (phenylalkylamin alkaloids, isokinolic alkaloids, indolic alkaloids, quinolinic alkaloids, pyridine and piperidine alkaloids, tropanic alkaloids, purine alkaloids). Plant-based anticancer drugs. Drugs acting on the SNA - Sympathomimetics: coca, ephedra - Sympatholytics: rauwolfia - Parasympathomimetics: Amanita muscaria, Calabar bean, jaborandi - Parasympathetic policies: nightshade, henbane, thorn - Ganglionic drugs: tobacco - Drugs acting on the neuromuscular plaque: curaries  CNS acting drugs - Exciting: caffeic drugs, coca, ephedra - Depressions: opium, rauwolfia - Other drugs used for recreational or ritual purposes: Amanita muscaria, Indian hemp, khat, peyote, psilocybe. Lysergic acid derivatives. drugs with anti-inflammatory action; gastrointestinal system and digestive function; respiratory system; kidneys and urinary tract; endocrine system; skeletal muscle system; breeding system; skin system; immune system.

Bridging Courses

To take the exam, students must have passed the exams of Plant Biology and Human Physiology.

Learning Achievements (Dublin Descriptors)

At the end of the course the student acquires the skills on the knowledge of herbal drugs, their origin and their content in ingredients; knows and applies identification criteria, the presence of distinctive characteristics, the active principles contained and acquires the skills on the therapeutic uses and toxic effects of the main drugs of plant origin. At the end of the course, students must have acquired the notions that are the basis of a correct use of the active ingredients extracted or derived from medicinal plants.

Teaching Material

The teaching material prepared by the lecturer in addition to recommended textbooks (such as for instance slides, lecture notes, exercises, bibliography) and communications from the lecturer specific to the course can be found inside the Moodle platform › blended.uniurb.it

Supporting Activities

The lectures foresee the use of multimedia tools (i.e. presentations in MS Power Point).

Didactics, Attendance, Course Books and Assessment



Course books

Farmacognosia. F. Capasso. Ed. Springer.


The exam consists of a written and an oral test. The candidate will be asked questions on topics developed during the lessons in order to ascertain that the student has acquired the basic concepts of pharmacognosy; knowing how to deal with the major problems related to the possible interactions between active ingredients derived from medicinal plants. The final mark, expressed in the thirtieths, will result from the candidate's ability to respond exhaustively and reasonably to the questions asked.

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Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo
Via Aurelio Saffi, 2 – 61029 Urbino PU – IT
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