Module – Remedies: How do you know they do well?

This module is intended to provide the student with an overview about what might be considered a medicine, remedy or poison and what are their possible interactions and effects on the body.

Message: Remedies: How do you know they do well?

1) Introductory dialogue – popular use of industrialized medicines and plants: A discuss with students about medicines and plants used for medicinal purposes in their daily life, with practical activity of collecting plants in the environment of the community.

2) Recognition and collection of medicinal plants of the region: Students are divided into teams to collect plants in different environments in the community, such as pasture, riverbank, roadside, forest, etc. The plants harvested will be classified by the students through an ethnobotanical questionnaire, consulting the literature for initial identification of plant species. The students then draw up a table containing various plant characteristics related to medicinal purposes.

3) Extraction of plant compounds from the community: From a chosen plant of the previous activity, the students prepare and extract their components by two different methods: aqueous extraction by infusion and hydroalcoholic extraction.

4) Chromatography of different plant extracts: From the hydroalcoholic and aqueous extracts obtained in the extraction of the components of a plant, the students perform the analysis of the extracted compounds by means of thin layer chromatography. In this way, they can observe that the plants have different substances that can be extracted in the form of alcoholic teas or mixtures. And that these substances are what can have effects on our body.

5) Forms and pathways of drug absorption: A practical activity in which students mimic a stomach (acid) and intestinal (basic) environment for the observation of how pH influences the disintegration and consequent absorption of acetylsalicylic acid tablets with different coatings. Subsequently, media resources are used to demonstrate how processes of disintegration, dissolution and absorption of drugs occur in the human body.

6) Drug Toxicity (dose vs. response) and the importance of animal testing: Practical activity in which students use different dilutions of previously extracted plant extracts for the treatment of saltwater crustaceans (Artemia salina). Thus, students can relate the dose used of the extract to the possible harmful effects on crustaceans.

7) Pattern Recognition: The students are divided into two teams, each one must recognize the design of a chemical molecule presented to them previously, among several that appear randomly in a projection. When a group recognizes its molecule, its leader picks up a rubber balloon filled with water and bursts into a bucket. At the end of the task, wins the group with the fullest bucket. The team must work to try to achieve the recognition of standards more quickly.

8) Game of drugs and receptors: Activity in which the students must turn on or off the lamps in a box by inserting pieces of wood of different shapes into the corresponding openings of the box. The students can make the analogy of such activity with the specific insertion of drugs into different targets in the body.

9) Effect of distraction – competing stimuli: Activity in which the students are asked to show their resistance by dipping their hand in a bucket of ice water, performing or not the parallel task of reading a text aloud. Subsequently, the data of all the students are analyzed, to observe the effects caused by the competing stimuli on the time of resistance of the organism against an adverse stimulus.

10) The placebo effect: This activity registers the normal change of heart rate, while the students watch a sequence of images on the screen of a computer. Before heart rate measurements, half of the students group are drawn to drink half a glass of artificial passion fruit juice, however it is said to them that it is natural juice of passion fruit and it has calming effect. At the end of the activity, the students plot the heart rate records of the two groups to compare if the juice had an effect.

11) Remedies, how do you know they do well? Module review: Final discussion with the students about what can be considered a real drug, and that both natural remedies and pharmacy drugs can act pharmacologically or only psychologically.