Do you know what a physic garden is? I have to admit that until I attended design school at the Chelsea Physic Garden, I had no idea what the term meant either. So in case you don’t know, a physic garden is a special kind of herb garden whose purpose is to grow medicinal plants.
The first known physic garden was started by Matthaeus Silvaticus in Salerno, Italy in the 1300’s and many more followed as the main suppliers of medical apothecaries. With the use of modern medicine and the loss of a collective knowledge of the healing and medicinal powers of plants, it is rare to see a new Physic Garden so that is why the Urban Physic Garden is particularly exciting.
The Urban Physic Garden, which in its original home was a pop-up space in Southwark, London, is currently a travelling exhibit that is making its way through Asia (anyone want to help me see if we can bring it to the states?).
The Garden, which hosts a variety exhibits, a cafe, and lots of related arts and science events, is organized into wards – just like a hospital so you can learn about plants as related to their medical application.
The most clever part is that the kitchen for the cafe is in a converted ambulance and it is called the Rambulance Cafe (get it, rambling and abulance cafe….cute right?).
(click on the images above for a bigger version where you can read more about some of these elixirs)
I have made cocktails with mint and other herbs but despite a few lessons from a friend who is very good with this sort of thing…I don’t think to head outside or garden my way out of a headache. I think this is a lost knowledge that we need to regain for the benefit of better understanding our world and how to make sure that our pharmaceutical companies are serving us well.
I’m curious if you use any plants from your garden to treat ailments? And If you do use plants medicinally, I would love to hear your remedies and methods.
images from Urban Physic Garden