Foundation Course

Botanicals for Your Health

Foundation in Plant Medicine at Dilston Physic Garden – 10 day Midsummer 2017 or Seasonal Weekend 2018

Discover how plants are effective medicines and maintain and boost your health. Learn how to gather and make your own safe botanical remedies for everyday ailments.

Dilston Physic Garden’s 10 day Foundation in Plant Medicine is an inspiring, unique and practical course.  Read more: Herb Society Article Foundation in Plant Medicine.

In 2017 the Midsummer Foundation runs for 10-days Monday 12th to Friday 23rd June (with a weekend break).  Escape everyday pressures and immerse yourself in the tranquil physic garden setting.

Scroll down for course details and dates for 2018/19.

To book simply email for our handbook & booking form.

The Herb House Dilston Physic Garden

Feedback from FPM students…


A really excellent course that greatly exceeded my expectations in its contents & the presentation of the sessions.

BobFPM 2013

I have found this a fascinating experience overall which has enhanced my life on many levels.

AlsionFPM 2013

Magical, I had waited for a long time for this experience and it was more than worth the wait, excellent tuition from experienced herbalists.  A balanced mixture of theory, science, herbal practice and practical work” 


“The physic garden & herbology house are the perfect place to do a botanical course, like a retreat” 


“Now knowing which herb I am looking at, dog walking is a whole different thing” 


To Book

For enquiries and bookings email to complete the Booking Form in the handbook* and send it with your deposit to: Dilston Physic Garden, Corbridge, Northumberland, NE45 5QZ
*please note this handbook & course content is for 2016 – the 2017 and 2018 format will change.
Elderberries | Dilston Physic Garden |

Course Dates

2017 Midsummer Foundation runs for 10 days from Monday 12th– Friday 23rd June (with a weekend break).

2018 Seasonal Foundation runs for 10 days over 4 weekends:

Friday 4th May – Sunday 6th May

Friday 29th June – Sunday 1st July

Saturday 15th September –  Sunday 16th September

Saturday 3rd November – Sunday 4th November

2019 Midsummer Foundation runs for 10 days from Monday 10th to Friday 21st June.

Course Costs

10-day diploma only £750 (or £650 if booked by the 1st December before the course)
*Please note that we have a maximum of 15 participants per course, so do get in touch soon to reserve your place.
You can pay by 6 easy installments of £108/mth if booking 6 months in advance


PLACES TO STAY Try Air BnB in Hexham, from £25/night. There are a number of nearby B&Bs in Corbridge & Hexham. Visit Northumberland has more places to stay including hotels, cottages & bothies. Or there are several Camping Barns & Hostels such as Demesne and Slackhouse Farm. And see Your Northumberland for other camping, caravan sites, glamping & wigwams. Shepherds Dene House accommodates groups.

The Foundation in Plant Medicine at Dilston Physic Garden is a truly inspirational way to learn about the health and medicinal uses of plants that grow around us. With our programme of study, in the beautiful tranquil setting of the physic garden, you discover how to use medicinal plants to treat the minor ailments and health issues we encounter in everyday life.  You also uncover some of the fascinating facts behind the principles of botanical medicine.  Each course is designed to be informative, friendly and fun, allowing you to make safe home botanical remedies for you (and your family) and are complete beginner’s guides – no previous knowledge needed.

This new Foundation Course series on the power of medicinal plants has been a huge success in its first 5 years.

  • Discover the remarkable medicinal properties of the plants that grow around us
  • Learn to use medicinal plants to the treat minor ailments and health issues we encounter in everyday life
  • Make your own safe Home Botanical Remedies for you and your family.
  • Uncover some of fascinating facts behind the principles of health and botanical medicine.
  • All our courses are provided by qualified Medical Herbalists (and other professionals – optional course).
  • Scholarships are occasionally available – please email We also have a limited number of concessionary rates.
  • The Foundation Course in Plant Medicine takes place over 10 days at the inspirational centre for learning and training, Dilston Physic Garden, in the beautiful Tyne Valley in Northumberland.  It is a hands-on series of courses, on completion of which you receive a Foundation in Plant Medicine Certificate.
  • NOTE: The Foundation Course in Plant Medicine is NOT a practitioner course and does not qualify you to become a botanical medicine practitioner or a qualified Medical Herbalist or to individually prescribe herbal medicines in any form – always consult a qualified Medical Herbalist before taking any herb. It does however give you an in depth and working knowledge of botanical medicine.
Sally Evans

May I just say that it has been an amazing summer in the garden and the learning experience has been inspirational. It’s quite rare to get interests and belief systems in such a balanced impartial environment that respects a wide range of scientific & holistic backgrounds.

That has very much been a positive impact on a personal note. I have enjoyed learning all aspects of herbs, botany and medicine from a great team of people and have been inspired to go on a journey with herbs in some capacity, wherever it leads me to. Thank you once again for sharing your knowledge and passion of herbs, I have found it to be inspiring and informative and will take much information with me.”

Sally EvansFoundation in Plant Medicine

Foundation Course Example Modules 2017 & 2018

Note:  the format and content may change 

Hedgerow Medicine: Introduction to Herbal Medicine Part I & II

With Ross Menzies
(including an Introduction the Physic Garden & your Medicinal Flora Monograph)

Hedgerow Medicine Parts 1 & 2 are designed to give a grounding in the philosophy and practicalities of botanical medicine.  Both sessions have a strong practical element and students will learn how to identify a range of medicinal plants and the techniques used to gather and prepare them. They will reflect on their own life and health journeys as a means to understanding how our bodies can talk to us and point to a wide range of needs and imbalances help us t live in balance  and in alignment with our deepest needs.

Students will experience the joy of making a wide range of traditional medicines and preparations using simple ingredients.  At the core of this module is an approach to plant medicine that is deeply respectful of the plants and the wider environment.  The Hedgerow Medicine modules will lay the foundations for other modules introducing many of the skills & ideas that will be used or developed as the course progresses. The plants used may vary depending on the season and which plants seem most appropriate to collect, other tutors may revisit some of the herbs covered in these modules , giving their own unique approaches and experience.

Ancient Folklore to Modern Medicine: Historical Context of Herbal Medicine

With Jill Schnabel

A look at the rich and fascinating folklore that surrounds many of our medicinal herbs and its place in the context of modern medicine.

Botanical medicine is the oldest form of healing.  This module explores some of the earliest historical evidence for the use of plants as medicine and then traces a timeline through to the modern day.  Alongside the learned scientific evidence of plant use that led to modern medicine there will be a special focus on domestic botanical traditions and how these can enrich our view of many plants.  Throughout the day we shall be working with plants from the Physic Garden via guided walks, observations, tastings, quizzes and individual worksheets.

The Plant Itself: Be engrossed in Botany, Plant Families & Ecology

With Jill Schnabel

Enter the mysterious botanical world of plants: what we know about them as living organisms and how we strive to categorize and label them as a way of understanding them better.

Using the wealth of plants found in Dilston Physic Garden this course will delve into the realms of botany, ecology and plant classification systems as a way of stimulating and expanding our perception of plants, and how to work with and identify them.

Becoming familiar with modern plant classification and Latin names of herbs can be an invaluable tool in understanding plant relationships. Several of the major plant families (e.g. rose family, daisy family, mint family) will be examined in detail with a focus on their botanical and medicinal qualities.

Alongside conventional scientific methodologies space will also be given to discuss alternative “energetic” approaches to plant study.

Green Fingers: Medicinal Plant Gardening & Botanical Gathering

With Jill Schnabel

This module follows the journey from seed sowing and nurturing your medicinal garden to gathering leaves, flowers, seeds and roots for use as botanical medicines.

The joys and skills of gardening can enrich and enhance our relationship with plants and deepen our understanding of their healing potential. This course explores our various individual approaches to growing medicinal plants, drawing out both the guiding principles and the practical techniques inherent in sound sustainable gardening practice.

There will be a mix of theoretical and practical sessions plus time in the Physic Garden working with specific plants.

Nature’s Pharmacy Part I: Discover your Digestion

With Sarah Hughes

Did you know that the gut contains more immune cells than any other area of the body? Did you know that it produces more serotonin (affecting mood and sleep, among other things) than the brain does?
With this in mind, we will have a day learning about the crucial and influential role the digestive system has in health and disease, and how herbs can be used both for problems within the digestive system and for promoting health.

Nature’s Pharmacy Part II: Uncover secrets of a healthy Skin and Nervous system

With Ross Menzies

How these 2 systems are associated together – their imbalances and how plants can help correct these by calming and strengthening both the skin and the nervous system. How we can listen to these systems and use their messages to bring alignment on all levels.

A discussion of your skins important functions.  Explore how the skin is associated with other bodily systems and how skin problems may be locally caused but also how they can often be associated with imbalances in other systems and in our life. Students will learn how to maintain good skin health and will also explore how diet, fluid intake and lifestyle can have a great influence upon the health of the skin. A number of useful and effective plants will be studied that can be used to correct a range of skin problems.

Consider the functions of the nervous system and explore some of the common imbalances.   Stress is perhaps the most common imbalance having many disruptive effects on a person’s state of health and well being.  A range of techniques to reduce stress will be practiced alongside a comprehensive study of herbs that can be used to calm and strengthen the nervous system. Stress will be considered as an indication that one has stepped away from ones deepest needs and calling.

Nature’s Pharmacy Part III: Maintain Cardiovascular & Respiratory Health

With Sarah Hughes

A day learning about the cardiovascular and respiratory systems in health and disease, and finding out how herbs can help specific problems as well as promoting healthy heart and lungs.

The cardiovascular system is not just about the heart but also helps to regulate our body temperature and provides the transport system to move essential nutrients including oxygen to all parts of the body. It is affected and influenced by several other ‘systems’ in the body, as well as our emotional state.

A brief overview of the respiratory system, exploring how some of the body’s defence mechanisms affect it and the naturopathic approach to this. Some of the common conditions of the respiratory system including infections and allergic reactions. We will look at a range of botanicals that have specific effects on the respiratory system with reference to common health issues, including how and when to use such herbs. We will also look at the different ways of using medicinal plants, internally and externally.

Optional Subject

Your choice of course from the Workshops* held at the physic garden. Details & dates as stated in the years list.

This course is an Optional Module that allows you to discover more on an area that interests you most. Select your own choice of subject from the Workshop Courses available. Please note Foundation in Plant Medicine students can only select the courses marked with a ‘ * ’. The price of this (one day) course is included in the Foundation in Plant Medicine – please book direct with the course tutor for your chosen workshop and state that you are an FPM student. Please note Gardening Scholars pay for their Optional Module