Medicinal Garden, Royal College of Physicians, London
Wednesday 3 August 2022
The visit to the Medicinal Garden at the Royal College of Physicians in London, postponed from mid-July due to very high temperatures, took place in early August.
Dr Henry Oakeley and Dr Tim Cutler were our guides and filled our heads with lots of facts and interesting ways that plants are used for medicinal purposes. This came alongside sensible advice, that “all plants are poisonous” and ‘it isn’t wise to create your own herbal remedies”.
The garden is set out with plants grouped in geographical areas. It contains 1,300 plants connected with medicinal use or medical figures e.g. Abelia × grandiflora (synonym Linnaea × grandiflora), named after Dr Clarke Abel, who was shipwrecked and attacked by pirates on returning from an abortive ambassadorial mission to meet the Emperor of China, losing all his seed samples. Only around 45 of these plants are still used in medicine today.
It was a fascinating and entertaining tour which was enjoyed by all, as was the buffet lunch provided at a nearby pub before the visit.
Many thanks to Denise Pawlett for organising the day, and to Henry Oakeley and Tim Cutler for informing us in such an engaging way. We are curious to know more.