18040 - General Pharmacology and Pharmacognosy

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Good health and well-being Quality education Climate Action

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes will be: a) basic knowledge about drug metabolism (administration, clearance, therapeutics, adverse effects); b) identification, structure and reactivity of biologically active substances, including therapeutic and toxic effects of the most important plant and animal drugs.

Course contents

GENERAL PHARMACOLOGY. General pharmacokinetics: passagesof drugs across cell membranes; routes of administration and absorption; bioavailability; distribution of drugs in the body; volume of distribution, binding to plasma proteins; drug metabolism; excretion; time-course of drug plasmatic contents (after single or repeated administration). General pharmacodynamics: targets and mechanisms of drug action; receptors, classification of mebrane receptors, intracellular receptors, dose-response curve; agonists, partial agonists, antagonists; individual variations (effects of age, pathological states, drug interactions, tolerance, placebo effects). General toxicity: side-effects, overdose, idiosyncratic and allergic reactions; teratogenesis and foetal toxicity; carcinogenesis; drug dependency. Clinical evaluation. Pharmacosurveillance and plant drug monitoring.

Definition and aim of PHARMACOGNOSY; definition and classification of plant drug; factors affecting the activity: natural, endogenous, exogenous and preparation-dependent. Plant drug: conditions of preservation, analysis, identification, quality control, distinctive characters, endogenous active substances, therapeutic strategies, toxic effects, potion preparation of the following PLANT DRUGS: containing carbohydrates: Manna*, Starch, Hollyhock, Flax*, Agar, Arabic Gum*; Tragacanth Gum*, Cotton. containing lipids: Castor oil*, Cacao butter. containing essential oils and gums: Wormwood, Matricaria*, Roman Chamomile*, Cannabis, Camphor, Capsicum*, Fish (or Levant) Berry, Eucalyptus*, Male fern*, Clove*, Mint, Nutmeg, Valerian*. containing tannins: Witch hazel*. containing quinones: Aloe*, Cascara sagrada*, , Buckthorn*, Senna*, Rhubarb*, Saint John's wort. containing saponins: Licorice*, Ginseng. containing cardiac glycosides: Foxgloves*, Strophanthus*, .Squill. containing flavonoid glycosides: Maidenhair tree. containing alkaloids: Opium poppy, Boldo*, Ipacacuanha*, Cinchona*, Rauwolfia, containing xanthines: (Cacao, Coffee, Tea), Tobacco, Nux vomica*, Ergot of Rye*, Ephedras, Jaborandi, Calabar bean, Deadly nightshade*, Henbane, Thorn apple, Coca, Curare, Common periwinkle, Yew. Plant drugs containing psychotomimetic substances. DRUGS FROM ANIMALS: sera, vaccines.

The students must recognize the plant drugs indicated by the symbol * and the botanical features of the plants they come from.


Recommended reading:

F.Clementi, G. Fumagalli, Farmacologia Generale e Molecolare- UTET 2012.

B.G. KATZUNG, Farmacologia Generale e Clinica, Piccin. VI Edizione italiana sulla IX in linguainglese, Piccin, 2011.

G:L: Biagi, E.Speroni "Farmacognosia", Patron Editore M.L.Leporatti, S.Foddai, L. Tomassini "Testo atlante di Anatomia Vegetale e delle Piante Officinali", Piccin editore 2009

Teaching methods

frontal lessons

Assessment methods

The final test consists of an oral examination (or on line on Teams, because of the italian situation on pandemia) concerning both teaching modules in one time only. The examination verifies the achievements of the teaching goals: the knowledge of the basic principle of General pharmacology and of Pharmacognosy. The final score leading to 6CFU will come out by means of 4 questions exam dealing with  topic related to the program.

As regard Pharmacognosy first of all the student needs to identify 2 different drugs among the list of the drugs indicated in the program and having a special symbol, after dealing with their characteristics, there is another question on general pharmacognosy. This part provides 3 CFU.

Concerning the modul of General Pharmacology, the student will receive 2 questions: one concerning the Pharmacokinetics and the other  concerning the Pharmacodynamic, obtaining 3CFU.

Further questions may be given in needed case. The test lastes about 30-40 minutes.

The final score will be the mean of the separate score obtained in the two modules, based on the capacity of the student to talk about the items and to demonstrate the knowledge of the pharmacological principles, together with the possibility to be rewarded with excellence scores when he is able to show a profound knowledge and specific property of language.

application on Alma esami

Teaching tools

power points

Office hours

See the website of Patrizia Romualdi