Medicinal Plants


Identify the main medicinal plants of the Portuguese and World´s flora with therapeutic role.

Understand the importance of medicinal plants and its active principles in the illness treatments

Recognize the role of plant biotechnology in the production and maximization of active principles.

Identify the main threats to medicinal plants – from habitat destruction to the non-selective recollection.

Recognize the importance of the world trade of medicinal plants and the socio-economic implications in several world areas.

Demonstrate the linkages between botany/ethnobotany, phytochemistry, and human health.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Fernando Henrique da Silva Reboredo


Weekly - 4

Total - 66

Teaching language



students must have basic knowledge of biology, chemistry and biochemistry


Balunas M.J. & Kinghorn, A.D. 2005. Drug discovery from medicinal plants. Life Sci. 78: 431-441.

Raven P., Evert R.F. & Eichhorn S.E. 2005. Biology of plants 7th edit. W.H. Freeman (New York) 686 pp.

WHO. 2007/2009. Monographs on selected medicinal plants, Vol. 3 and 4, World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva, Switzerland.

Makkar, H.P.S., Siddhuraju, P. & Becker, K. 2007. Plant secondary metabolites (Methods in Molecular Biology, Vol 393), Humana Press, 130 pp.

Hussain, M.S., Fareed, S., Ansari, S., Rahman, M.A., Ahmad I.Z. & Saeed,M. 2012. Current approaches toward production of secondary plant metabolites. J Pharm Bioallied Sci. 4:10–20.

Proença da Cunha A. & Roque O. R. 2011. Plantas medicinais da farmacopeia Portuguesa: constituintes, controlo, farmacologia e utilização. Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian (Lisboa), 2ª Ed., 710 pp

Proença da Cunha, A. 2014. Farmacognosia e fitoquímica. Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian (Lisboa), 4ª Ed., 674 pp

Teaching method

Theoretical lectures are held using data-show and e-learning methods (use of the Moodle platform). Theoretical-practical sessions consist of analysis and interpretation of case studies. The projects and/or works within the framework of Curricular Unit (CU), begin in theoretic-practical sessions through online research and continuous orientation by the Responsible. Field trips will be performed to both Botanical Gardens and medicinal plant beds. Students will have access to all the bibliography and materials (power-points, PDFs) used in the CU which will be put on a web-platform. The theoretical and theoretic-practical lectures are complemented with Tutorial classes 

Evaluation method

Assessment is continuous, consisting of 3 elements, with a minimum grade of approval (9.5 scale of 20 marks) for each component – the weight of theoretical component is 60% and theoretic-practical 40%.

Subject matter

The concept of medicinal plant. The use of medicinal plants throughout time. From traditional medicine to conventional medicine.

The main plant groups with phytotherapic interest. The importance of the correct identification in plant systematics. Medicinal plants in the Portuguese Farmacopeia.

Phytochemistry and phytotherapy. Extraction, isolation and characterization of active principles

Secondary metabolism compounds with phytotherapic interest – phenolic compounds, alkaloids, terpenes, essential oils

The emergence of the chemical synthesis. The role of plant biotechnology.

Acute toxicity due to the incorrect use of wild plants and/or medicinal plants.

Challenges in drug discovery from medicinal plants

Cultivation and world trade of medicinal plants

Medicinal plants – current threats and protection measures


Programs where the course is taught: