We’re pleased to have been working in association with renowned Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz, for his current exhibition The Waiting Gardens of the North at Baltic. Commissioned by Baltic in partnership with the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund, this major project responds to conflict by, figuratively and literally, nurturing a community and an evolving indoor garden landscape.
Exhibition Garden - Valerian
The exhibition’s garden will grow and develop during its run. Alongside the artworks, the installation presents a collection of plants at different stages of their growing process. Some of these plants are key medicinal plants particularly relevant to those people with experience of forced displacement.
For example the medicinal plant valerian is abundant in the exhibition and it is a key plant medicine used in the UK to lower anxiety and insomnia. Plants contain chemicals that act just like drugs and, when taken at a medicinal level, valerian has been shown to be as effective as the drug Triazolam in treating insomnia, but it does not carry the risk of addiction that Triazolam does.
Add to this the fact that a combination of valerian, passionflower and hop has been shown to be as effective as the sedative Zolpidem to treat insomnia, and that the plant medicine did not have the serious side-effects such as daytime sedation, ataxia and amnesia that are associated with Zolpidem, should we not be aware of safe plant medicine alternatives?
Sage Tincture & 'Herb Hub'
The exhibition garden is meant to be harvested and features four stations: for tea-drying, spice-grinding, distillation of tinctures, and cooking, which will be activated on specific dates throughout the next year. The tincture station features Dilston Physic Garden Memory Tincture which contains a key locally grown plant for memory, sage (Salvia officinalis). Sage improves memory and lowers agitation in the young, the old and those with Alzheimer’s. Read more about sage.
The tincture station also features tinctures for sleep, pain, chest infections and skin healing and even for increasing lucid dreaming, which has been shown to help with the symptoms of PTSD.
Sage plants are nicely nestled in the exhibition alongside other medicinal plants that can help mental wellness. This is part of an exciting new project called Herb Hub, with Big Local Gateshead. In partnership with Dilston Physic Garden, Herb Hub is creating opportunities for North East residents and organisations to create an herb corridor of locally grown medical plants for nature and urban communities’ wellbeing to flourish. Read about Herb Hub