Testing Plant Medicine at Dilston Physic Garden

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The Dilston Physic Garden charity conducts research into safe science-backed plant medicine which have evidence to show they enhance the mind, such as improving memory and sleep.

Our first pilot clinical trial for memory tested a combination of 3 European plant medicines on word recall in health people. Results showed that the group aged 63 years and under, who took the memory tincture, improved in their ability to remember correctly by over 50%, compared to those who didn’t take it in the same age group.

We are currently inviting people in South-East and West Northumberland to take part in our next Memory Trial – see more information on the right of this page. To take part please email info@dilstonphysicgarden.com.

We are also currently exploring a pilot study involving a combination of plants to improve cognitive function in long-covid and in carehomes in the North East of England – please email info@dilstonphysicgarden.com for more information.

More about our clinical research

In our research we study plant medicines that have the effects indicated by long-standing traditional use and focus on plants for the mind and brain, since so much of our well-being depends an optimal state of mind.

All volunteers in the studies are under the supervision of one of our associated medical herbalists, registered with the National Institute of Medical Herbalists and all studies go through our Ethics Board.

Rather than major multicentre trials involving objective measures, we plan to conduct small – but statistically valid – pilot trials involving objective measures, but also self-assessment – i.e. using individual subjective experience. Self assessment was used in our 2019 Dream Club pilot study currently under analysis 2021.

Such studies involve people of all ages (over 18) with normal mental health, voluntarily taking a safe medicinal plant preparation, once or twice a day for a set time (week or months). During this time they complete a self-assessment form or objective online assessment, before, during and at the end of the trial period. According to best clinical practice, volunteers would be randomly divided into two groups, one taking the plant medicine and the other taking a placebo, or with all volunteers taking the plant medicine or placebo at different times (called a cross-over study) and all with no one knowing which they are talking (‘blind’). We aim to publish all results in a peer reviewed scientific journal.

If you’d like to be part of one of these studies, would like to donate to a particular study or volunteer your help in designing and carryout out a useful and meaningful study, please email us.

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Please put up or pass on this poster if you can – Memory Test Study poster

Want to see if plant medicines can boost your memory? 

Take part in a natural Memory Test Study in South-East and West Northumberland.

flower-remediesScientists at Dilston Physic Garden, NIMH medical herbalists and The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew offer an exciting opportunity to take part in a second natural Memory Test 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 45 and 75, live in West or South-East Northumberland and have access to a computer?
  • 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 email info@dilstonphysicgarden.com  The trial is open to anyone between 45-75 years living in West or South-East Northumberland, provided you are not diagnosed with a condition such as Alzheimer’s. The trial is being conducted to test the effects of safe science-backed plants, reputed in history to improve memory, by scientists and medical herbalists at Dilston Physic Garden and The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, with support from Wesnes Cognition, Make My Day Better Charity with Kew Gardens, and The Ridley Family Charity.

Further information on medicinal plants for memory
There are prescription drugs derived from plants used to treat the cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease.  For example galantamine is derived from a compound in the bulbs of snowdrops and daffodils (though don’t eat snowdrop bulbs as they are poisonous!). However, for normal mild memory impairments, some of which may be a prelude to more severe problems, there are no approved medications or preventative medicines.

People concerned need to consider alternative options which include physical and psychological strategies, as well as regularly taking preventative brain boosting medicinal plants. There are number of plants that grow in the UK with memory enhancing properties.  For these medicinal plants there is both traditional evidence, based on long standing experience and practice, and scientific evidence, based on modern lab science and the results of controlled medical clinical trials.

However, none of this evidence is sufficient for any one plant extract to be accepted in orthodox medical practice, yet. Further evidence, based on standardised extracts, dose and testing procedures, and long-term use is needed. Such trials have been conducted in academic and clinical institutions. None, as far as we know, in the community where the investigators are practising medical herbalists. This is the focus of the new trials. The results of first trial we conducted in collaboration with medical herbalists and the BodyWorks Centre in Hexham, Northumberland, showed the plant medicine given improved word recall, in under 63-year-olds by over 50%.


To take part in the next memory trial email info@dilstonphysicgarden.com.


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