First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Medicine
Course unit
MEP3051906, A.A. 2019/20

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2015/16

Information on the course unit
Degree course 5 years single cycle degree in
PHARMACY (Ord. 2009)
FA1732, Degree course structure A.Y. 2009/10, A.Y. 2019/20
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination PHYTOPHARMACY
Department of reference Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences
E-Learning website
Mandatory attendance No
Language of instruction Italian
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge RAFFAELLA FILIPPINI BIO/15

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Educational activities in elective or integrative disciplines BIO/15 Pharmaceutic Biology 6.0

Course unit organization
Period First semester
Year 5th Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Lecture 6.0 48 102.0 No turn

Start of activities 30/09/2019
End of activities 18/01/2020
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2018 course timetable

Examination board
Board From To Members of the board
7 Commissione a.a. 2019/20 02/12/2019 30/09/2020 FILIPPINI RAFFAELLA (Presidente)
CANIATO ROSAMARIA (Membro Effettivo)
PIOVAN ANNA (Membro Effettivo)
6 Commissione a.a. 2018/19 03/12/2018 30/11/2019 FILIPPINI RAFFAELLA (Presidente)
CANIATO ROSAMARIA (Membro Effettivo)
PIOVAN ANNA (Membro Effettivo)

Prerequisites: The knowledge acquired through the courses of Plant Biology/Pharmaceutical Botany, Pharmacology and Pharmacognosy is an important start point to develop the program.
Target skills and knowledge: The student will acquire the skills of dealing with the different aspects related to the plant products used in phytotherapy and food supplementation, as well as in complementary and alternative medicines.
Examination methods: The examination is oral, and consists of an interview between the candidate and the teacher aimed at assessing not only the acquisition of the knowledge of the program, but also the ability to interconnect and use the knowledge acquired during the entire study pathway by an approach of problem solving.
Assessment criteria: The evaluation of learning will be on:
- understanding of the topics;
- learning management skill;
- ability to face a problem.
In particular, the student will have to demonstrate to know not only the characteristics of plant-based products, but also to have acquired the tools to evaluate their quality, to make a choice, to give a rational advice.
Course unit contents: -Introduction: factors determining the growing use of the plant-based products.
- Evidence-based phytotherapy and the complex nature of the plant-based products.
- Phytocomplex peculiarities. Phytocomplex activity: an example of polypharmacology and network pharmacology.
- Herbal medicines vs monomolecular drugs.
- Importance of the quality control of plant-based products.
- Pharmacist’s role in providing information about natural products.
- From plant to extract: harvesting, preparation, extraction methods. Special attention will be devoted to the choice of the extraction method depending of
physico-chemical properties of the phytochemicals. Conventional extraction methods and innovative extraction approaches will be critically evaluated, also in account of standard quality requirements, environmental impact, and economic aspects.
- Herb teas: characteristics, preparation and quality control, rational use.
- Extract: from primary extract to purified extract and isolated single substance.
- Main extract types: from liquid to dried extract, and related examples.
- Multi-fractionated extracts.
- True standardization and titre standardization. Standardization markers and standardized extract types; means to ensuring the standardized quality of plant extracts.
- Low bioavailability of phytochemicals: strategies to increase the bioavailability and/or increase the pharmacological activity (co-grinding, Phytosomes, controlled release extracts).
- Herbal bioenhancers
- Phytoequivalence: the importance and difficulty in determining the bioavailability of herbal preparations.
- Main types of commercial herbal products: herbal medicine, food supplement, “nutraceutical”, functional food, novel food, medical device, nanofood, excipient food. Each type will be briefly described in the regulatory framework, and contextualized in the therapeutic-health-commercial field.

- Complementary and Alternative Medicines (CAMs): herbalism, aromatherapy, Bach flowers, gemmotherapy, anthroposophical medicine. The discussion of these therapeutic holistic approaches, involving the administration of plant-derived preparations, has mainly the aim of clarifying that they lie outside mainstream pharmacy and evidence-based herbal medicine.
- Homeopathy and homeopathic remedies: homeopathic vs allopathic approach.

- Discussion about phytochemicals, classes of phytochemicals, extracts and their associations, paying specific attention to recently discovered or re-evaluated products with pharmaceutical, food and cosmetic interest.
- Critical evaluation of commercial plant-based products: formulation and stability; mono- and multi-component products; extract amount and daily dose; claims; interactions and adverse effects.
- Examples of interactions between conventional therapies and plant-derived extracts.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Lectures with slides projection.
During the lessons will be addressed problems related to the use of plant-derived products in pharmaceuticals, foods and cosmetics, focusing on both theoretical and practical aspects. The lessons include the explanation of practical examples for the student to acquire the critical tools functional to the correct use of medicinal/food plants, as well as to a suitable evaluation of the plant products used both in phytotherapy and in unconventional therapeutic approaches.
There will be moments of discussion on topics proposed by the teacher and by the students. The discussion can be suggested by bibliographic works or problems reported by students, emerged for example, during the stage in pharmacy.
Groups of students, on a voluntary basis, have the opportunity to share and discuss, through a brief presentation, specific issues.
Additional notes about suggested reading: The slides presented during the lessons constitute an important support tool for the individual study. It is essential, however, to complete it with the lesson notes. Additional reading from the suggested texts may also be useful.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Firenzuoli Fabio, Fitoterapia. Guida all'uso clinico delle piante medicinali. Milano: Elsevier, 2009. consultazione Cerca nel catalogo
  • Capasso F, Grandolini G, Izzo AA, Fitoterapia - Impiego razionale delle droghe vegetali. --: Springer-Verlag Italia, 2006. consultazione Cerca nel catalogo
  • Barnes Joanne, Anderson Linda A, Phillipson J David, Herbal Medicines. --: Pharmaceutical Press, 2007. consultazione Cerca nel catalogo

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Case study
  • Interactive lecturing
  • Questioning
  • Problem solving
  • Active quizzes for Concept Verification Tests and class discussions

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • Moodle (files, quizzes, workshops, ...)

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Good Health and Well-Being Affordable and Clean Energy