College & University Visits
There are numerous opportunities for students and student groups to learn from the physic garden across a range of subject areas including botany, medical herbalism, history, horticulture, pharmacognosy, complementary medicine and folklore, including botanical medicine for the medical and pharmacy student.
For some of these topics, expert talks/teaching can be provided.
To a pharmacist, plant constituents are the active ingredients of the plant, the chemicals that have a marked, definable physiological and therefore, possibly medical activity upon the body. These constituents and their actions within the body are also referred to as their pharmacology.
New data pertaining to new discoveries within the field of plant pharmacology and clinical efficacy, using whole extracts and isolated chemicals from plants are published in scientific journals every week.
These active ingredients are not necessarily of immense interest to a medical herbalist (who commonly treats chronic diseases that are untreatable with isolated drugs) because the focus is on using whole plants (each containing a multitude of chemical constituents, a ‘multidrug’ if you like) to treat the whole condition of the person. Medical herbalism (botanical medicine) can be seen as (an as yet undefined) targeted poly-pharmacology.
Knowing chemical components and actions, in isolation from the rest of the plant, tells us all about the individual (and combined) activity (pharmacology) of the plant constituents but not necessary the whole activity of the plant itself. This exemplifies the value of studying whole plant extracts as well as the individual plant constituents – for drug discovery for example.