Junior Herbalist Club

“Giving a good herbal foundation will stay with children for their lifetime. Knowledge is empowering. Even though the majority may not choose to become professional herbalists, they will have a solid foundation of herbal knowledge which they will one day be able to pass along to their friends, family, community, and children of their own.” Mel HornbyCreator of JHC

Junior Herbalist Club is a brand new venture. It’s taking place with the support of the National Institute  of Medical Herbalists (NIMH). The aim of Junior Herbalist Club (JHC) is to let children learn about the healing and medicinal plants all around them in a safe and supervised environment – in this case, Dilston Physic Garden!

JHC meets at Dilston Physic Garden once a month from September to July and is led by NIMH medical herbalist Davina Hopkinson.

The children’s learning will include

  • Identification of common herbs growing all around them
  • Safety – which herbs are safe to use and which are poisonous
  • Folklore – taught through stories and songs
  • How to grow and harvest herbs
  • Medicinal uses of common herbs
  • How to use a variety of common herbs for first aid
  • How to make a variety of herbal preparations to keep and take home
  • Respect for all plants and their environment

By the end of the year, the children will be able to

  • Correctly identify many common medicinal plants growing in their gardens, parks, hedgerows and streets and distinguish between poisonous and non-poisonous plants
  • Know the medicinal properties of many common plants
  • Understand how to use some of these plants in first aid and how to use some plants for making medicines
  • Enjoy listening to the stories and tales of folklore and history surrounding the plants and plant medicine
  • Know how to cultivate and harvest plants whilst respecting their environment and all of nature

Junior Herbalist Club meets once a month.

Ten lessons are delivered over a year from September to July. At the end of the year the children are given certificates of attendance and a badge.

Each month we focus on one particular healing plant. The children are taught how to correctly identify the plant, about the origins of the plant name (both common and botanical names) and about the plant’s habitat and life cycle. Next, we look at the history and folklore surrounding the plant. This may include storytelling, songs and funny anecdotes. We then discuss the medicinal qualities of the plant, the primary constituents responsible for the healing activity, and the uses for the plant, both internally and externally. Children are encouraged to participate in the discussion, adding their own ideas and thoughts.

The children are also given a worksheet after each session to be completed before the next meeting. This helps them to remember what we have learnt and acts as their own portfolio of medicinal plant learning. JHC has been planned so that each month the children build on their knowledge and skills. We start off with lavender – a well-known and easily identifiable plant and make lavender bags and lavender-scented sugar and progress on to making sun-teas, infused oils, poultices, cordials, bath-bombs and lip balms. In the second year, the tasks become a little more complex, building on the skill set developed in the first year and include making marshmallows, syrups, lozenges, salves, creams and hydrosols.

JHC is aimed at children between the ages of 8 and 12. However, older children are welcome and children aged 7 can come but will require a parent or guardian to stay with them during the class. Parents of children over the age of 8 are welcome to stay if they wish! Please note that we are not able to provide supervision or care for siblings not registered on the JHC course. Please make sure that your child wears clothes suitable to the activities – comfortable old clothes, and shoes or boots that can get muddy, and bring a raincoat to each session as we always try to go outside, even if it’s wet.

The cost for the year is £80.00 payable in advance to secure your child’s place. This cost covers all tuition and materials. Children who attend regularly will receive an award and certificate at the end of the year.

To book your child’s place just email Davina Hopkinson davinaherbalist@gmail.com.

Meet the Grey Lady

The Grey Lady has been seen visiting the physic garden. We are hoping she will come again most Saturdays this summer to give a Magic and Medicine tour of the physic garden. Please book a place by 1pm and meet at the garden gate at 1.30pm £2 per person.

The ghost of the 3rd Countess of Derwentwater lives in the remains of Dilston Castle on the other side of the Devil’s Water river. She will appear to tell the magic stories about medicinal plants – the herbs she looked after before her castle was demolished 250 years ago. You will hear how the magic stories of old led us to today’s medicines and you will also meet:

Ellie the Mischievous Elf

The Plague Doctor

Belladonna the Witch

Mandragorum

The Archangel Angelica

The Devil Chaser

Kitty in the Sky

 

See you at the physic garden!

 

Dilston Dispensary 2021

The Dilston of Plant Medicine is back 2021, open 5th May to 15th September – Wednesdays 12.30 to 3pm – just click the image above for more details.

Spring at Dilston Physic Garden

A spring morning at Dilston Physic Garden – a 3 minute video by photographer David Taylor

Thyme – Plant of the Day

Grow Your Own Physic Garden: Use medicinal plants grounded in science

Science is now providing the evidence to show just how effective plant medicine is. In our new book we aim to help you to grow and use safe plants to treat many common ailments. When used correctly plant medicine is safe, effective and has other health benefits.

There are many plants that we can take regularly as beneficial foods which help boost and protect body and mind. These plants contain important compounds (like polyphenols and flavonoids which plants use in their environment) to help protect against oxidation, inflammation, cancer and bacterial and viral infection. And plants contain compounds which enhance the mind too – we can take a cup of calming chamomile tea to help relieve stress, or drink a cup of sage tea to help protect the brain and boost memory anytime.

But if we want to treat a medical condition, and treat that condition effectively, its all about taking a dose and combination of plant medicine that is tailored to our specific and holistic needs. That’s why we always say to treat a medical condition first consult a NIMH registered medical herbalist to ensure you are using the right plant medicine for you.

Plant medicine is a medicine! Please read this caution: When taking a plant at a medicinal level always first consult a NIMH registered medical herbalist and inform our healthcare provider if you are pregnant, have any medical condition or are taking any medication. Do not self-diagnose, stop taking drugs you have been prescribed or give plant medicine to a child without consultation. Be sure of the identity of your plant and source plant medicine from a reputable source, read the caution on any product and take only at the recommended dose and for the recommended duration, but note there is an effective dose and duration.

In the UK many of us believe that some herbs are beneficial in some way, but in Europe and Asia plant medicine is much more commonly used and in some cases the first choice for pharmacists and even GP’s. Humans have used plants throughout history to help protect against disease and to treat common ailments, it is only with the more recent chemical revolution that most of us have forgotten this knowledge.

Around the world today people safely treat many common ailments with the plants that grow around them. So while chamomile is used in Europe to calm, in the South Seas its the tropical kava kava (in the pepper family) that is used to lower anxiety. Both these plant medicines have clinical trial evidence to show that they work as effectively as conventional single drugs to lower anxiety symptoms, and with few side effects.

Self medication of plant medicine is safe as long as you first consult a NIMH to ensure you are using the right dose and combination of plants medicines tailored to your specific needs, and, as long as you correctly identify the plants you grow or buy your plant medicine from an established reputable source – and not an unscrupulous online retailer.

Grow Your Own Physic Garden, by Elaine Perry, Valerie Laws and Nicolette Perry, is designed to inform and inspire you to take control of your health, to safely treat common ailments before they become chronic and to use plants for their protective benefits. Elaine Perry is Professor Emeritus of Neuroscience at Newcastle University and founder of Dilston Physic Garden and Dr Nicolette Perry is a pharmacognosist (who studies medicines derived from plants) and directs the educational Dilston Physic Garden.

You can buy Grow Your Own Physic Garden right here on this website.

Read more, by Bunny Guinness on Grow Your Own Physic Garden here: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/how-to-grow/plant-medicinal-herbal-garden/

Memory Study

Worried about your memory? Want to see if plants can boost your memory ?

We’re recruiting volunteers now. Spread the word!…

Dilston Physic Garden, medical herbalists Ross Menzies and Davina Hopkinson and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew offer an exciting opportunity to take part in a second natural Memory Study in West and South-East Northumberland. 

  • Do you think your memory is not what it was?
  • Are you concerned about the current epidemic of dementia?
  • Would you be open to the idea that medicinal plants could help, bearing in mind that modern drugs like aspirin come from plants?
  • Are you between the age of forty-five and seventy-five and live in West or South-East Northumberland?
  • Would you say yes to any of these questions? Then why not volunteer in a simple safe 4-week medicinal plant study?

To take part simply email nic@dilstonphysicgarden.com. Study is open to anyone between 45-75years, provided you are not diagnosed with a condition such as Alzheimer’s. The aim of the study is to test the effects of safe plants reputed in history, and used today as Traditional Herbal Medicine, to improve memory and which have science to show how they work. The trial is being conducted by Dilston Physic Garden, medical herbalists Davina Hopkinson and Ross Menzies, Wesnes Cognition & Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, with support from Wesnes Cognition, Make My Day Better and The Ridley Family Charity.

Dilston Physic Garden  Corbridge  Northumberland  NE45 5QZ  T: 07879 533 875 E: info@dilstonphysicgarden.com