by guest-blogger Joanna Fell, of the Geographical and Life Sciences department.
As part of the Bioversity initiative a new medicinal garden is to be installed at the back of Johnson, reflecting the historical importance of herbs in medicine. Many of the specimens would have been used by monks such as those from Augustine Abbey which ties in with the importance of this historic site. The herbs were used for teaching and for concocting various medicinal compounds which were used both to treat the monks, and members of the public which came to them for aid.
The beds will be divided into the following categories of herbs according to their medicinal uses.
Analgesia/anaesthesia, Cardiology, Dermatology, ENT and Lung disease, Gastroenterology, Gynaecological, Neurology and Rheumatology, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Parasitology and Psychiatry.
Some of the plants will be used in Science projects and undergraduate teaching, for example lavender which yields pungent oil could be the basis of an undergraduate practical session, involving the extraction of volatile oils. It is also envisaged that the gardens will be open to members of the public at certain times of the year.