Phytotherapy: definition. Crude drug and phytocomplex definitions. interactions with other disciplines (Phytochemistry, plant biology, pharmacology, Pharmacognosy, etc.). Interactions among different components occurring in the phytocomplex. Factors which may influence the variability of phytocomplex. Basic concepts for extraction of active compounds by plant material. The criteria and requisites of medicinal plants: quality, safety, and efficacy. Immunostimulants: ginseng (Panax ginseng), active components and possible adverse effects. Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus), purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea radix and herba, Echinacea pallida radix), composition and uses. Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus), Schizandra (Schizandra chinensis), rose root (Rhodiola rosea). Plants acting in the urogenital tract infections: blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis idaea). Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) against infections: active components and mode of action. Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) and arbutin. Crude drugs acting on gabaergic neurotransmission and medicinal plants which induce sleep: valerian (Valeriana officinalis), hops (Humulus lupulus), passion flower (Passiflora incarnata), lemon balm (Melissa officinalis). Serotonin, catecholamines and their neurotransmission. Dopamine, adrenaline, noradrenaline. Medicinal plants acting on serotonin neurotransmission: St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum). Crude drugs and cognitive impairment: bacopa (Bacopa monnieri), turmeric (Curcuma longa), ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba). Caffeine: farmacokinetic, mode of action and natural sources. Plants containing xanthines and methylxanthines: coffee plant (Coffea arabica), tea plant (Camellia sinensis syn. Thea sinensis), guarana (Paullinia cupana), yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis), Cola (Cola spp.), cocoa tree (Theobroma cacao). Phytotherapy of crude drugs to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia: saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), nettle (Urtica dioica), Pygeum africanum. Pumpkin seeds (Cucurbita spp.). Phytoestrogens used in the menopausal syndrome. Red clover (Trifolium pratense). Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa). Chastetree (Vitex agnus castus), shepherd's purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris). Medicinal plant with actions in the gastrointestinal tract: eupeptic effect of gentiana (Gentiana lutea), European centaury (Centaurium erythraea), bitter orange (Citrus aurantium), wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), cinchona plants (Cinchona spp.), Iceland moss (Cetraria islandica). Gastric inflammations (gastritis and ulcer). Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) effects on Helicobacter pylori growth and adhesion. Intestinal inflammations, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Anthraquinones and laxative effects. Plants containing anthraquinones: Senna (Cassia angustifolia) Plant extracts used for intestinal inflammations: Aloe, Wormwood, Andrographis, Indian Frankincense (Boswellia serrata), active components and actions. Mild laxatives, gums and mucilage (Plantago ovata, Linum usitatissimum). Glucomannan (Amorphophallus konjak), manna ash (Fraxinus spp.). Anti-diarrhoea: tannins. Anthelmintic plants. Medicinal plants used for nausea: ginger (Gingiber officinale). Plants used against hemorrhoids: horse chestnut (Aesculus ippocastanum), butcher's-broom (Ruscus aculeatus), red vine (Vitis vinifera cv. Tenturiers).
Phyotherapy in cardiovascular diseases and control of dislipidemia: berberine, phytosterols, red yeast rice, garlic, fibers, plantago spp., policosanols. Medicinal plants against skin diseases (Melaleuca, turmeric, hazel, gotu kola etc.). Phytotherapy and liver diseases: Milk thistle (Silybum marianum), Liquorice, Sophora, artichoke (Cynara scolymus). Visit to the Museum "Orto Botanico di Brera".
During the course, besides the use of slides and ppt. for the conventional lessons, teacher will organize to visit Museo Orto Botanico di Brera, which is located in the centre of Milan. The museum contains a variety of medicinal and officinal plants. In this way, students will be able to see plants and investigate morphology and the part of plants used for medicinal purpose. Parts of plants studied in the second part of the course will be seen by students at lessons, when available in the Lab of Pharmacognosy.