Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Qualified Person Requirements: Pharmacognosy

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course



DESCRIPTION This study-unit comprises three sections:

Section 1 deals with the status of herbal medicines, food supplements and natural-product derived cosmetics within the perspective of European Unnion legislation. This section includes also the utilisation of natural products in traditional-based therapies and modern (allopathic) therapies. The main therapies include, modern uses of natural product derived medicines, aromatherapy, apitherapy, homeopathy and Chinese/Ayurvedic medicine.

Nutraceuticals will also be discussed within this section.

Section 2 deals with the biology of organisms (particularly plants) and chemistry of important metabolites derived from these organisms. These would mainly include primary metabolites (carbohydrate, lipids, proteins) and secondary metabolites (terpenoids, flavonoids, tannins, alkaloids). The metabolic pathways for the production will be discussed in the light of the natural biological role of this metabolite in the organism and its utilisation by humans to treat or control diseases. The methods of extraction and analysis will be discussed in this section.

Section 3 deals with the biological activities of extracts and natural products, and the pre-clinical, non-clinical and clinical testing of these natural extracts. Toxicological testing will also be discussed in detail.

Study-unit Aims:

To impart legislative, scientific and traditional background information relating to natural drugs and food-related preparations and to introduce the student to the complexity of the world of natural products and their derivatives.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. describe the European Union legal framework on herbal medicines, cosmetics and food-supplements, and how this differs/compared to other legislative frameworks around the world;
2. distinguish between herbal medicines, nutraceuticals (food supplements) and cosmetics with their respective legislation;
3. distinguish between primary and secondary metabolism in terms of role and complexity within the plant and animal species;
4. identify how these metabolites interact with the human system, and how humans managed to adopt these in therapies and treatments;
5. compare and contrast metabolites falling under different metabolite classes by structure and function;
6. gain knowledge on the different metabolite classes mainly terpenoids, alkaloids, flavonoids and shikimate products, tannins, proteins, organic acids, non-flavonoid polyphenolics;
7. understand the purpose of metabolite extraction from plant materials and the principles of extraction methods;
8. understand the importance of pharmacological and toxicological testing vis-a-vis the placing of a product on the market, i.e. in relation to the product dossier.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. devise a detailed research protocol for the utilisation of a specific plant through traditional and scientific channels;
2. apply legislative definitions to distinguish between herbal medicines, food supplements and cosmetics;
3. classify any given metabolite as a primary or secondary metabolite and further categorise this into a specific phytochemical class;
4. apply the extraction principles and processing protocol to extract a given metabolite group within a particular plant material;
5. predict the pharmacological activity of a metabolite with respect to its structure;
6. determine the best method of testing an extract for its pharmacological potential and toxicological potential.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- Badal, S., & Delgoda, R. (2017). Pharmacognosy : Fundamentals, applications and strategies.
- Heinrich, M. (2004). Fundamentals of pharmacognosy and phytotherapy. Churchill Livingstone.
- Robbers, J., Speedie, M., & Tyler, V. (1996). Pharmacognosy and pharmacobiotechnology. Williams & Wilkins.

Lecture notes.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Practicum

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (2 Hours) See note below Yes 100%
Note: Assessment due date will be notified by the Faculty/Institute/Centre/School.
Important - Due to the COVID19 Pandemic the information regarding the method of assessment indicated above may have been changed. Further details have been provided by your F/I/C/S.

LECTURER/S Everaldo Attard

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2019/0, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.