Maggie Pope
is a Medical Herbalist

Practising in
Bridgwater, Somerset

Get in Touch Maggie Pope

February, 2012

Growing Medicine

The Beginnings

OK, so having a website called Growing Medicine refers to two things.

1. The medicine I give my patients grows. It has been a living,¬†photosynthesizing, independent ¬†fresh plant. Full of natural goodness, as they say. Vitamins, minerals, secondary metabolites….all there in the various parts being made, ready and waiting to be used.

This is in stark contrast to the medicine produced by Big Pharma; synthetic chemicals produced in a factory.

2. I intend to actually grow some of my medicine myself. Lots of the stuff I use I buy in from specialist herbal suppliers, especially anything exotic or difficult to grow.

Lots of stuff I can pick freely from the fields, woods and canal path near my home. This includes Meadowsweet, Nettle, Cleavers, Elderflower, Elderberry, Hawthorn, White Dead Nettle, Comfrey, Yarrow, Ground Ivy, Ribwort…

But some stuff is elusive, like Marigold, Self Heal, Violets, St John’s Wort, Scullcap, Chamomile, Goldenrod, Boneset and more. Last week I was offered a share in an allotment and I didn’t need to be asked twice. I have my key to the gate of the plot, and went there today after lunch cleverly getting the timing right as the sun went in behind the clouds and the driving rain whipped the back of my head just as I started to dig.

The whole plot is a mess…

Dismal Plot

…so you can see it is quite a task. This is my end [above] where the compost will go. I have dug out a small 6′ x 3′ area ready to put cardboard on and cover with ‘soil improver’ from the local council at ¬£10 a ton. I will lay this to a depth of 6″ then put in out my little herb plants when they have started to grow.

I have sent off a big order to www.poyntzfieldherbs.co.uk who specialize in medicinal herbal seeds up in Scotland, so I know they should be hardy enough to survive Somerset.

Although I have been University trained in Herbal Medicine, and have been educated in Phytochemistry, Pharmacognosy and Botany etc, I haven’t been told how to grow the plants we use in our medicines.I think it is assumed we will buy them all in as I have been doing. But hopefully soon I will make some lovely fresh tinctures and will have an Open Day when you can drop in and taste some…

The greenhouse at the top of the photo belongs to the next plot up, ours starts where there is a square of freshly dug soil. Anyone with any allotments tips, please feel free to put them in the comments box. I am a novice here…

Long and thin, but all ours!

 

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