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Pharmacognosy is a branch of Pharmacy that studies the herbal medicines as well as medicinal drugs and compounds of natural origin. Pharmacognosy is the study of phytochemical analysis, i.e. extraction, isolation and characterization of natural compounds, plant tissue culture, biochemical transformations, and study of biosynthetic pathways, in addition to the Phyto-pharmaceutics , Phytotherapy and Metabolomics.


The department of Pharmacognosy at Mashhad University of Medical Sciences (MUMS) along with the Departments of Pharmaceutics, Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacology are among the first groups formed in Mashhad School of Pharmacy after its establishment in 1970. In the early years, the main research interest of the department included natural products derived from almost all organic sources such as animals, plants, and minerals. In the following years, the biotechnological course was also added to the syllabus of the department. By separation of Biotechnology Department in 2008, the Department of Pharmacognosy has just undertaken educational and research activity in the field of natural herbal medicine. In 2011, with the approval of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, the department started an PH.D  program and since then, related courses have been teaching continuously. The late Dr. Ali Zargari, Dr. Shahram Yaghmaei, Dr. Giti Hariri Zadeh, Dr. Mohammad Ramazani, Dr. Javad Behravan and Dr. Javad Asili were among the leaders of this group.

Goals and Prospects

The purpose for establishing the Department of Pharmacognosy at MUMS is providing the natural product-based syllabus for graduate students of pharmaceutical sciences. The syllabus includes medicinal botany, phytochemistry, and pharmacognosy. By taking these courses, students are introduced to medicinal plants and get familiar with the major constituents of primary and secondary herbal metabolites that have therapeutic effects and how to isolate, identify and quantify them. After passing these courses, pharmaceutical students are able to deliver these drugs in pharmacies and clinics while acquainted with herbal medicines or medicines of natural origin. On the other hand, students learn how to identify and quantify natural compounds from natural sources and biologic studies such as antioxidant, antibacterial, cytotoxic, etc. and how to formulate drugs. For this purpose, the required laboratories including, medicinal herbs, pharmacognosy, HPLC, GC-MS and bioassays are considered in this group. Moreover, graduated students of pharmaceutical sciences and phytochemistry can enter the undergraduate programs, by which educational and research needs of pharmacy schools, research centers, and pharmaceutical industries are met. Besides, conducting applied research to evaluate the pharmacological effects of natural compounds, production of natural herbal medicines, and conducting common research projects with other international scientific centers are among the other achievements of the group. In their PhD projects, PhD candidates get familiar with not only with basic knowledge about isolation and identification of natural compounds but also with new topics in the field such as metabolomics.

The message of the head

Iran with an area 1648000 Km2 has 11 climates out of 13 world climates. About 75000-85000 plant species are grown in this country of which 2324 are endemic. The role of natural products in the development of novel medicines is disputable. These valuable resources from animals, plants, and microbes of both terrestrial and marine origin have been used by human beings for the treatment of diseases from ancient times and remain the best sources of drugs and drug leads so far. In the recent years, with the advent of high throughput screening technology and analytical instruments, there have been significant progresses in the field of Phramacognosy. Metabolomics is one of the new approaches in this regard. The metabolome comprises all metabolites in a biological organism, which constitute the end products of its gene expression. Metabolomics consists on the systematic study of the chemical fingerprints resulting from specific cellular processes or, more particularly, the study of an organism’s profile of low molecular weight metabolites.


Basic Information:
Program Type: Degree Based
Level Of study: Ph.D.
School / Faculty: Pharmacy
Department: Pharmacognosy
Major (Name Of Program): Pharmacognosy
This program contact information:
Telephone: +98 5131801269
Fax: +98 5138823251
Mobile: 09153214134
Email Address:
Address: Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Mashhad University Of Medical Sciences
Contact Person Name: Javad Asili
Program Detail:
Length of Training:

5  years


Language Requirement:


  1. Language requirements: Evidence of English Proficiency (TOEFL or IELTS). The minimum score for TOEFL PBT, TOEFL iBT and IELTS is 500, 70 and 5.5 respectively.
  2. Applicants from Persian (Farsi) speaking countries (They shall both speak and write in Persian) who have applied for graduate Degree-based programs may be exempted, based on the decision of the department, from submitting any certificates regarding their English Language Proficiency. Nevertheless, they are required to hand in their English language certificate which meets MUMS minimal language proficiency requirements, within one year from commencing their studies at MUMS.


Admission Requirement:
  1. Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm D)
  2. M.Sc. in Pharmacy or  Phytochemisty or equivalent certificates for the applicants of Ph.D. degree


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