The course of analysis of the active principles of medicinal and aromatic plants is placed in the third year of the degree course in Applied Pharmaceutical Sciences(curriculum Herbal Sciences ). This course is among those characterizing for the herbalist profession. The course takes place through both lectures and individual lessons in the laboratory. In the lectures all the analytical techniques necessary for identifying the quali/quantitative active compounds in the medicinal plants are addressed. In the laboratory some techniques are discussed.

At the end of the course the student will have acquired the knowledge of the most common analytical methods and will be able to decide the most suitable methodology according to the sample to be analyzed.

They will also be able to critically evaluate the analytical results obtained.




• Italian Official Pharmacopoeia and European Pharmacopoeia
• Physical state and intermolecular forces
• Solubility and acid-base character. Volumetric analysis: determination of acidity of olive oil, determination of citric acid content in lemon juice,
determination of the content of acetylsalicylic acid in tablets (pharmacopoeia analysis).
• Physical constants: melting point. Melting point determination: capillary method, open capillary method, instant melting method and Kofler method.
Determination of the m.p. in mixture.
• Density, definition: absolute density and relative density. Density determination: pycnometer and densimeter.
• Refractometry, general aspects. Measurement: Abbe refractometer.
• Polarimetry, general aspects. Chiral and Achiral molecules, assignment of the configuration of a stereogenic carbon. Chemical properties of
Enantiomers. Physical properties of stereoisomers— Optical Activity. Polarized light. Basic polarimeter scheme. Optical purity.
• Preliminary examination: physical state, color, smell and taste
• Calcination behavior: identification of inorganic, organic, metal-organic substance
• Identification of an inorganic substance: research of the cation by dry and wet test; search for the anion by wet test.
• Elementary qualitative analysis: Lassaigne's test
• General test: Tests for Unsaturation and the presence of aromatic rings
• Detection of functional groups.
• Specific assays of some secondary metabolites: polyphenols and alkaloids.
• Primary and secondary metabolites: phytochemical screening
• Chromatography, TLC
• Introduction to instrumental methods (e.g. IR, HPLC, NMR)
• Security in the laboratory

Adopted texts

•Cavrini, V.; Andrisano, V. Principi di Analisi Farmaceutica. Terza edizione, 2013. Società Editrice Esculapio.
•Savelli, F.; Bruno, O. Analisi Chimico Farmaceutica. 2005. Piccin.
•Carta, A.; Mamolo, M. G.; Novelli, F.; Piras, S. Analisi Farmaceutica Qualitativa. Nona edizione, 2016. Edises.


The course requires that students have acquired the basic knowledge related to general, analytical chemistry and in particular organic chemistry. The basic knowledge is essential to be able to adequately learn the instrumental techniques and the analytical aspects treated in the course.

Study modes

Lectures in mixed mode (online and in presence) and laboratory exercises (details will be provided shortly) are planned.

Exam modes

The assessment of learning for each student will be carried out by an oral exam. In particular, the following will be evaluated:
- choose an analytical path ( instrumental and chemical) suitable for the recognition of a substance
- knowledge of the theoretical principles of qualitative analysis of the active principles of medicinal and aromatic plants
- rational and critical interpretation of the results obtained in the experimental tests carried out in the laboratory.

Course sheet
  • Academic year: 2020/2021
  • Year: Third year
  • Semester: First semester
  • Parent course:
  • SSD: CHIM/08
  • CFU: 6
  • Attività formative caratterizzanti
  • Ambito disciplinare: Discipline Farmaceutiche e Tecnologiche
  • Lecture (Hours): 32
  • Lab (Hours): 40
  • CFU: 6.00
  • SSD: CHIM/08