Come and Meet our St John’s Wort Serpent

Our wondrous St John’s Wort Serpent has just arrived.  Hypericum perforatum is a plant with holes in its leaves.  It acquired its common English name, St John’ s wort (SJW), as it flowers in midsummer (this Sunday) on the day of John the Baptist.  So it is truly a holy plant!  The ancients believed the plant would exorcise the devil – that was the metaphor used when people felt depressed – they thought they were possessed.  So the old story of the magic has kept the medicinal use of the plant going all these years up to modern times when SJW is used as an antidepressant herbal medicine.

SJW is used clinically in modern botanical medicine today in the UK to treat depression. There are many clinical trials indicating it as effective as antidepressant drugs like prozac for mild to moderate depression, but without the side-effects.  A recent review suggests it “has a very favourable safety profile, with adverse event rates on the same level as placebo and lower than that of synthetic antidepressants, in randomised controlled trials. It may therefore also be an option for patients who do not tolerate other antidepressant drugs. Patients with polydrug treatment should nevertheless use the drug with caution, due to its potential for interactions.”

The new sculpture thus represents that fascinating bridge between magic and medicine. It is made by our sculptor in residence, John Rutherford.

We are always open to suggestions for new outdoor artworks, and artists.  The next may be an image of a plant that has given us a modern drug, like the foxglove, willow or opium poppy.  If people had isolated and identified a single potent chemical from SJW – which they haven’t yet, only a variety of partly active ones – the plant might have provided a new and safer antidepressant drug.

The Dilston Physic Garden exists to spread the word on such great plant potentials for new, safe and effective therapies.

 

Two New Booklets for Sale by our Curator Brain Booster Herbs

TALES FROM A PSYCHIC GARDEN :

STRESS-LESS HERBAL CHILL PILLS and IN PURSUIT OF HERBAL HAPPINESS

 

Buy in our Botanical Shop for £5

‘In Pursuit of Herbal Happiness’ is available to buy on Kindle

Or send us your address and a cheque or BACS for £7 & we can post to you

STRESS-LESS HERBAL CHILL PILLS

As part of a Herb Spirit series, this book focuses on plants that promote calm and dispel states of anxiety. The story is about a group from the local Angst society who visit the garden to discover herbs to help them. Some think it’s Physic, others Psychic.

They are informed, according to belief, in parallel ways of down to earth science and medicine, or less tangible folklore and magic. Anti-angst herb uses are conveyed by garden advocates, such as a hermit herbalist and clinical evidence conjurer, together with an assortment of serenity sprites and neurotic animals.

The group are treated to a show in the nearby jousting grounds, allegedly as entertainment, but actually to see how an Anxio-Lytic botanical concoction performs in high stress situations. The Society’s President pursues plans to capture the heart of the garden diva while marketing this product.

This book, as for others in the series, is intended to inform readers about the powerful properties of plants for mind/brain well-being, The content is factual, as regards effects of the herbs, set in the context of an fictional narrative designed to draw the reader in. Illustrations are based on pictures from Dilston Physic garden.

Like the garden – physic or psychic – the text shape shifts between story lines (in roman type), and factual details (in italics). Readers are invited to absorb fantasy or facts as they like, but not to actually take whatever herbs they like. The story comes with a health warning – not to ingest herbs without being very sure of their identity, safety (especially in pregnancy, mixing with other medications) and dose.

Further titles for the Mind / Brain Herb Spirit Series include ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’, ‘Sweet Dreams’, ‘Botanic Blues Busters’, ‘Plant Pain Killers’, ‘MedPlant Memory Matters’ and ‘Botanic Brain Booster Cook book’. Readership extends from young adults to adults of all ages.