Plants used in today and in traditional herbal medicine

Potion Club EXTRA

As well as regular Potion Club over the summer at Dilston Physic Garden medical herbalist Davina Hopkinson has created a new fun and fascinating course for children aged between 8 and 12 (guide) who want to learn more about the intriguing world of plants for medicine.
Potion Club EXTRA brings 6 unique and interactive sessions in 2018 that are monthly on Saturdays, starting in March through to September 2018 (except one Sunday and excluding August).
Delve in to the magical world of herbs. Learn all about local plants you find in the garden, hedgerows, woods and fields. We’ll be going out to forage for some of these. Each month we’ll explore which plants are growing and how they can be turned into medicine. Like spring tonics to give your body a kick start after the long winter months, or roots and berries in autumn to make cold and flu remedies.
We’ll choose a plant of the month and explore it – what it does, how it does it, and see how to turn it into a real effective potion! Different plants can be used for parts of our body – like to help digestion, boost our immunity and even help us sleep – we’ll discover just how these plants can be used to help healing.
With a little scintillating history (herbal medicine goes back 60,000 years!) thrown in, there’ll be some telling of mysterious magical herbal folk tales and of course plenty of safe remedy making. Each month children can enjoy filling in a their own Potion Book where they can add their own thoughts and artwork.
Cost for each Potion Club EXTRA is £15 or £25 for two, with a discount for booking the whole course. Please bring your own packed lunch. For further information and to register your interest in future Potion Clubs or home education groups contact Davina on 01661 842897 or davinaherbalist@gmail.com.
Dates* of Potion Club EXTRA 2018 :
10am to 2pm 
Saturday 17th March
Saturday 21st April
Sunday 13th May
Saturday 16th June 16,
Saturday 14th July
Saturday 22nd September
*please note these dates are provisional

St. John’s Wort: Demon exorciser | Dilston Physic Garden |

BY POPULAR DEMAND ‘Dilston Dispensary of Herbal Medicine’ 2018

Enjoying its 3rd year the ‘Dilston Dispensary of Herbal Medicine’ returns in 2018 to give you easy access to qualified information on the use of plants for health and medicine.

Ensuring you’re using the correct herb for your needs is essential since if plant medicines are used inappropriately, just as with drugs, they can be unhelpful and problems can arise. Our registered medical herbalists and qualified herbal pharmacist are here to help you explore effective herbal medicine to support you back to health and to keep you healthy.

Just drop into The Physic Shop – every 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month 12 to 3pm May to August and every Thursday 2-3pm June and July 2018. 

Wednesday’s dispensary is led by medical herbalists Ross and Davina and Thursday’s by pharmacist Milena.

  • No need to make an appointment – just come along to the Dilston Dispensary of Herbal Medicines situated in The Physic Shop.
  • £5 per short consultation and individual prescription (herbal medicine is purchased separately).
  • Milena is offering a free consultation when you join her ‘Thursday Talks‘ (1-2pm every Thursday in June & July 2018).
  • For more complex ailments, Ross or Davina can arrange an in depth consultation with you.
  • Don’t forget you can enjoy the Physic Garden while you’re there – physic garden admission charges do not apply if you’re just visiting the Dispensary.  If you’d like to visit the physic garden too, entrance is £4 and the Season Pass only £10
  • The Physic Shop also stocks a range of organic or wild crafted teas, tinctures, creams and other herbal products.

Read more information here or email info@dilstonphysicgarden.com or contact Ross (rossherbalist@gmail.com), Davina (davinaherbalist@gmail.com) or Milena (milena.kopkowska@gmail.com) directly.

*Please note: The Dilston Dispensary of Herbal Medicine does not dispense conventional medicine products; the dispensary is only open on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday 12-3pm (May-Aug) and every Thursday 2-3pm (Jun-Jul) 2018; dispensary times may change for 2019.

Botanical Brain Balms

Dilston Physic Garden’s director and curator are publishing a book on plants for the brain – ‘Botanical Brain Balms: Essential plants for memory, mood and mind’ with Filbert Press UK and publishers in the U.S., France and Germany.

‘The benefits of a plant-based diet to physical health are well-known and scientific research now shows that plants can improve mental health too. Many leaves, roots and berries contain ingredients that boost cognitive skills and alleviate common problems like stress, fatigue and mood swings – without the side effects of conventional drugs.
In this authoritative guide, experts in herbal medicine and neuroscience recommend plants for a wide range of problems. They explain the science behind how they work and suggest easy remedies and exercises that are pleasant to take and make part of your daily routine.
Beautifully illustrated, Botanical Brain Balms is packed full of safe and natural ways to improve the way you think and feel.’

“A great book and the one I’ve been waiting for – scientific, accessible and eminently useable.” Bunny Guinness

Sage, Rosemary & Melissa to boost memory

This pilot clinical trial was carried out with the Bodyworks Centre in Hexham and Dilston Physic Garden and is published in the journal Phytomedicine.

At a glance:

The results showed that a medicinal tincture (an extraction of the plants in alcohol) of sage, rosemary and melissa given for 2 weeks improved word recall by over 50% in under 63 year old’s.

Summary:

A randomised double-blind placebo-controlled pilot trial of a combined extract of sage, rosemary and melissa, traditional herbal medicines, on the enhancement of memory in normal healthy subjects, including influence of age

N.S.L.PerryR.MenziesF.HodgsonP.WedgewoodM.-J.R.Howes,H.J.Brooker, K.A.WesnesE.K. Perry

Abstract

Objective

To evaluate for the first time the effects of a combination of sage, rosemary and melissa (Salvia officinalis L., Rosmarinus officinalis L. and Melissa officinalis L.; SRM), traditional European medicines, on verbal recall in normal healthy subjects. To devise a suitable study design for assessing the clinical efficacy of traditional herbal medicines for memory and brain function.

Methods

Forty-four normal healthy subjects (mean age 61 ± 9.26y SD; m/f 6/38) participated in this study. A double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled pilot study was performed with subjects randomised into an active and placebo group. The study consisted of a single 2-week term ethanol extract of SRM that was chemically-characterised using high resolution LC-UV-MS/MS analysis. Immediate and delayed word recall were used to assess memory after taking SRM or placebo (ethanol extract of Myrrhis odorata (L.) Scop.). In addition analysis was performed with subjects divided into younger and older subgroups (≤ 62 years mean age n = 26: SRM n = 10, Placebo n = 16; ≥ 63 years n = 19: SRM n = 13, Placebo n = 6).

Results

Overall there were no significant differences between treatment and placebo change from baseline for immediate or delayed word recall. However subgroup analysis showed significant improvements to delayed word recall in the under 63 year age group (p < 0.0123) with Cohen’s effect size d = 0.92. No adverse effects were observed.

Conclusion

This pilot study indicates that an oral preparation of SRM at the selected dose and for the period of administration is more effective than a placebo in supported verbal episodic memory in healthy subjects under 63 years of age. Short- and long- term supplementation with SRM extract merits more robust investigation as an adjunctive treatment for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and in the general ageing population. The study design proved a simple cost effective trial protocol to test the efficacy of herbal medicines on verbal episodic memory, with future studies including broader cognitive assessment.

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.