Medicinal Plants. Tour of RCP Garden

Michael de Swiet
RCP Garden
Wednesday 23 June 10.30am - 12.30pm

This tour is planned for those interested in plants and their past, present and possible future uses in medicine. Although herbal medicine will be discussed, the tour is not designed for those primarily seeking information regarding herbal medicine. No knowledge of botany will be assumed.

The Royal College of Physicians is housed in a stunning Grade 1 listed building designed in the 1960s by Denys Lasdun of National Theatre fame. It is situated at the bottom of Regents Park near the Euston Road. The Medicinal Plants Garden was started about 15 years ago and has an outstanding collection of over 1000 different plant species of medicinal interest with a further 200 that are named after famous doctors.

Topics that will be covered include:

  • Plants that were milestones in the discovery of medicines (e.g. Foxglove Digitalis purpurea)
  • Plants as sources for modern medicines (e.g. Artemesinin Artemisia annua)
  • Plants illustrating the Doctrine of Signatures (e.g. Pulmonaria officinalis)
  • Plants for treating cancer (e.g. Yew Taxus baccata)
  • Herbal medicines (e.g. St John’s Wort, Hypericum perforatum)
  • Poisonous plants (e.g. Deadly nightshade Atropa belladonna)

The RCP (11 St Andrews Place, NW1 4LE) is in Regents Park near Great Portland Street Underground station and easily accessible by public transport from Highgate. There is wheelchair access to the College and the garden.

Recommended reading:
A Garden of Medicinal Plants. Oakeley H, Knowles J, de Swiet M, Dayan A. Little Brown, 2015 available from RCP The Gardener’s Companion to Medicinal Plants. Simmonds M, Howes M, Irving J. Frances Lincoln Ltd, 2016

Tutor: Michael de Swiet is a retired professor of medicine and has been a garden fellow at the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) for six years, sharing responsibility for the management of academic aspects of its medicinal plants garden. He also serves on the Advisory Committee of the Chelsea Physic Garden.

All Short Courses at a glance

Wednesday 23 June
10.30am - 12.30pm
Non-Members: £20 (1 session)
Members: £15 (1 session)