Saturday, 18 June 2011

An Appointment with the Doctor

Town centre location, short walk from bus stop, café just round the corner – sounds like a good location for a surgery. This surgery is in the heart of a delightful small town in the Vale of Glamorgan.

The ‘surgery’ is something rather special as it contains a range of medicinal plants which would have been used by the local population before 1800. We forget that, except for the last 75 years, we humans have relied almost entirely on plants to treat all manner of sickness, from coughs to TB and malaria; even today we rely on the curative properties of plants in over 50% of our medicines. Elsewhere in the world, people still rely on herbs as a primary source of medicine

There are 12 beds in the Cowbridge Physic Garden, each one relating to parts of the body or to a medical condition. Bed 9 contains plants for the liver, bed 2 the eyes, bed 4 the nerves, bed 10 infectious diseases and so on. Work on the Garden has transformed a derelict site into a place where passers-by pop in to relax and meet friends and into a very special place with history, beauty and a strong reminder of ‘what biodiversity does for us’!

Work began in 2005 to transform the half acre space, now maintained by an enthusiastic band of volunteers linked to the Welsh Historic Gardens Trust. They are only too happy to show you round and explain their story and that of our reliance on nature.

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