About Us

Wander up a country lane in a panoramic stretch of Northumberland to find a unique tranquil physic garden on the banks of a winding river.  Not only do visitors say its natural design has a soothing effect on the mind, but science now shows exactly how medicinal plants enhance aspects of our mind (like sleep, memory, mood) with few, often no side-effects.

Plants contain a wondrous array of chemical ingredients and many have powerful effects in the body. Cutting edge medical drugs derived from plants are used by doctors (like pain-killing morphine from the opium poppy and anti-cancer taxol from yew) and 50% of all new medical drugs come from plants. Whole plant extracts are used by medical herbalists worldwide to effectively treat many common ailments.

Plant chemicals also promote our health, acting as preventative medicines. Many contain antibacterial, anti-viral, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agents. Making plants part of your life could be the best thing you ever do to maintain good health. Science shows exactly how plants work in the brain and body – come and visit the physic garden – bring your friends, family, group or school – discover the power of plants for health and medicine.

Beside each plant read the traditional medical herbal use, the science of how they work including clinical trials and medical drugs, as well as the folklore and magic! Many visitors, especially children, like the folklore better than the science.

Dilston Physic Garden has a distinct character. A physic garden steeped in the history and folklore of medicinal plants, but also in the modern science of how they work as medicines today. Follow winding paths to discover over 800 medicinal plants, with a focus on those for the mind and brain. Dilston began in the 1990’s because of the team’s pioneering scientific research showing that sage and other European herbs boost memory and are active in the brain. To take part in our next clinical trial – looking at 4 plants to boost and maintain memory – email info@dilstonphysicgarden.com.

The Dilston Physic Garden’s charity mission to educate and research on the benefits of plants for mind and body. The charity embraces the importance of medicinal plants, natural organic growing methods and also the benefits of being in a tranquil outdoor space – come and volunteer with us!

Opening Times

AUTUMN OPENING October

Wednesday and Saturday 12-3pm

Closed November to February (though open for workshops & events)

NOTE: Please bring suitable footwear for a muddy lane! We’re not open when temperature is on or below zero oC.

SPRING OPENING April

Wednesday & Saturday 11am-4pm

SUMMER OPENING May – September 

Wednesday, Thursday & Saturday 11am-4pm

Parking Workshops & event visitors please only park in our Top-up Car Park (directions) and enjoy the 8-minute flat country walk to the physic garden.

Bring your Group or School we’re open any day of the year by appointment.

Dogs are welcome on a lead but do not let them near any plant or leave any waste.

Payment We take cash, transfer and cheque and usually have a debit card machine. Please bring change if you can.

Takeaway Drinks Enjoy our our new signature range of aromatic infusions – tea rooted in science-backed botanicals – Calm, Happy, Sleep, Uplift, Memory, Pain or Physic Tea. Or try our Botanical Hot Chocolate, cold drinks & oatie biscuits (contains gluten). Please note that we do not have a cafe.

Explore Trails that enhance the mind! We highlight plants shown by science to calm & relieve anxiety, enhance memory and attention and boost mood and relieve mild depression. Children can join the Explorer Trail.

Workshops We’re open all year round for school & group visits and for workshops & events – visit our workshop page for the latest courses or for our 10-day Foundation in Plant Medicine course info here. Hire the physic garden and Herbology House.

Herbal Dispensary The Dilston Dispensary of Herbal Medicine will be back in 2020 with NIMH affiliated medical herbalists in The Physic Hut Dispensary. Please call back in January for dates & times.

Lots to See & Do

Relax, take 2 minutes out, watch a snap shot of Dilston Physic Garden.  Come to unwind and take it easy, away from life’s hustle and bustle. Relax on our calming Chamomile Lawn, wander our Medicinal Meadow or the 100 Willow Coppice – dedicated to the commonest plant derived drug available). Follow the Labyrinth,take a break at the AromaSeat and enjoy our SilentSpace by in the Woodland area.

Make a wish at the Cloutie Tree! Watch the Wind Sculpture or stop by a TimeSpace Zone, dedicated to medicinal plants from round the world and through history. Soak up the sun at the SunDial Seat and meet our botanically minded sculptures Mandrake, Mugwort Goddess, Belladonna, Horned God, Angelica and the Phoenix. Visit the The Physic Shop with locally produced botanical products including our new signature collection of brain boosting teas and new book Botanical Brain Balms – medicinal plants for memory, mood and mind. Find a small collection of potted plants that are good for the brain – why not grow your own physic garden? Our new book coming out soon is focused on science-backed effective plants you can grow yourself. May to September visit the Dilston Dispensary of Herbal Medicine (click here for opening times) with registered medical herbalists – just like visiting a GP with effective medicinal plants rather than drugs.

Children love the Witches Den, Drawing Hut, Croquet, Giant Chess, Planting a Magic Bean or following our Explorer Trail and can discover more by booking on Potion Club. Follow our trails Calm, Memory, Happy. At Dilston we love plants which are good for mind and brain. Our next Memory Test Study in collaboration with medical herbalists, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Wesnes Cognition will test a combination of 4 European plant extracts on memory in volunteers – in our last trial results showed those under 62 years, who took the extract, improved in their ability to remember correctly by over 50%, compared to those who didn’t take it in the same age group. Email info@dilstonphysicgarden.com to register your interest in taking part.

Plants & Modern Medicine

Dilston Physic Garden is a Registered Charity for education.

With links to the University of Newcastle in several ways, including interactions with Northeast Universities Medicinal Plant Research Group (MPRG), educational visits from North East university medical students, groups from other university departments.

As well as taking interactive educational visits from schools, college and other groups, Dilston has research links to Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and other research bodies.

Volunteer

Our volunteers are central in caring for the plants at Dilston Physic Garden and say they experience many rewarding opportunities and in a number of different and exciting ways.
As well as keeping all of the physic garden herbs healthy and happy and harvesting them to make tea or to dry and package them, volunteers also show visitors around and answer questions.

We provide any training needed and volunteers pick up herbal tip bits, enjoy good company and the odd healthy herbal lunch!

Volunteers can be reimbursed for traveling expenses and also have the chance to join a workshop of their choice, free of charge. Just contact us to start your experience !

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What others say about us

I have had the good fortune to visit this beautiful garden over a number of years and so have seen it grow and develop. Each visit is a new and thrilling experience.

Lucy Carty, London

It’s a nice and interesting garden to be visited. I use it for benchmarking, cause I build the same garden “spice garden” in tropical country Indonesia containing more 400 species of medicinal plants. Thank you

Heru D. Wardana, Indonesia

“What a fantastic find! Thank you.”

L.S., Salford

I found your site by accident while looking for something else. It looks wonderful! I am involved in a small garden of health behind one of the departments in Glasgow University so I am very interested. I hope to be able to pay you a visit before too long and will be in touch.

Susie Stewart, Glasgow

“A beautiful and peaceful garden and a real source of inspiration.”

M.R., Newcastle

“Absolutely fabulous. Thank you.”

P.N, Sheffield

“The most exquisite magical garden you could find”

A. Robson

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 […]

Sage, Rosemary & Melissa to boost memory

Our next clinical trial has just reached its target funding – thanks to The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew & Make My Day Better Charity, The Ridley Family Charity and Wesnes Cognition. Email us if you’d like to register interest to partake in the 2019 trial – plans of which are underway (you must be aged between 45y to […]