76363 - Harvest and Early Transformation of Herbs and Medicinal Plants

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 Responsible consumption and production Climate Action Life on land

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students will know the main harvest and post-harvest techniques applied to herbs and medicinal plants. This will allow them to make operational decisions in relations to the quality standards required by the specific production sector. Students should then be able to understand the characteristics of the quality of herbs and medicinal plants, their intrinsic problems in relation to harvest and post-harvest techniques.

Course contents


The student who accesses the present course is in possession of a good preparation in the fundamentals of plant biology and pharmaceutical botany. He knows also the main pathways of the plant metabolism. These knowledge and skills are provided by the teachings of the first year.

Contents of the theoretical teaching unit

The theoretical teaching unit is organized in two sections.

The first section (general part, 12 hours) will address the following main issues:

·         The biogenetic pathways of plant active ingredients (primary and secondary metabolism);

·         The quality of medicinal plants and drugs (with particular emphasis on the natural endogenous and exogenous factors, and technical factors);

·         The concept of balsamic time;

·          The main harvest techniques (spontaneous and cropped herbs/medicinal plants):

·         The post-harvest (fresh and dry processing);

·         The quality control.


In the second section (special part, 12 hours) details will be provided in respect to a significant number of officinal species (Calendula, Chamomile common, Jerusalem artichokes, Lavender, Liquorice, Mint, Salvia officinalis, Ergot, Mustard, Saffron).


Contents of the practical teaching unit

The practice teaching unit consists of visits (6 hours) to farms/firms producing and trasforming officinal plants) in order to deepen from a practical point of view the concepts introduced during the theoretical teaching. 


-Catizone, P., Barbanti, L., Marotti, I., Dinelli, Produzione ed Impiego delle Piante Officinali, Pàtron Editore, 2013.

-PDF files of the slides shown during the lessons.Notes from the lessons

Teaching methods

The course is divided into two teaching modules: the first theoretical module consists of lectures accompanied by discussions in class with students with the aim to train the student to concepts of harvest and post-harvest of officinal plants, with emphasis on qualitative attributes requested by the specific production sector. The second module includes visit activities to farms/firms producing and transforming officinal plants, with the aim to deepening from a practical point of view the concepts introduced in the classroom

Assessment methods

The assessment of learning takes place only through the final examination, which is aimed to verify the acquisition of expected knowledge and skills by conducting an oral exam lasting about 15-20 minutes, or about 25-30 minutes in the case of conjuncted examination of the two modules componing the integrated course. The enrollment through AlmaEsami is required.



Teaching tools

PC, video-projector, blackboard.

Office hours

See the website of Ilaria Marotti