Introduction

 

The Pharmacognosy Division at the University of Debrecen was established as a part of the Department of Botany in 2009. The Division's task is the education of Pharmacognosy and Pharmaceutical botany lectures and practical courses in both Hungarian and English for pharmacy students, as well as education of the subjects Medicinal plants and their uses (for Biology Bsc), Medicinal plant biotechnology (for Biotechnology MSc), and Pharmacognosy – plant bioactive molecules (for Bioengineering Msc).

The discipline was known in Hungary as "Knowledge of medicinal plants and drugs", but the main meaning of the word "drug" changed over time, and has become mainly a word for illegally synthetized and used narcotic drugs, giving possibility for a misunderstanding.

The curriculum includes knowledge of the botanical and chemical attributes of medicinal plants, and the products created thereof (generally dried plant parts and prodcuts); the properties of the natural products, the theory of their biosynthesis, the use of modern separation methods, and the knowledge of the effects of medicinal plants. With time, the discipline passed through significant evolution and changes.

Besides the analysis of drugs of plant and rarely of animal origin, studies were extended to such organisms, natural product sources, like microscopic and macroscopic fungi; or from a different approach, organisms of the marine and freshwater environments, as sponges and

algae. With the accelerating development of disciplines and techniques, pharmacognosy, as a multidisciplinary field of science builds upon the results of botany, chemical ecology, microbiology, marine and freshwater biology, pharmaceutical technology and pharmacology.

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