The WeeCAIR Medicinal Garden
Where do medicines come from? Many medicines that we use today come from the active ingredients found in plants that would have been used in traditional herbal remedies. The well-known painkiller aspirin comes from willow bark, and artemisinins, a malaria treatment, comes from sweet wormwood.
We have built a public garden with many of these types of plants. All the plants in the garden have an active ingredient which medicine is made from, or a link to herbalism. Our garden shows the history of medicine as well as how plants today are still being researched to help create new medicines. Although we don’t focus primarily on medicines made from natural products, many of our visiting students from disease-endemic countries do. Some of them work in identifying the active ingredients within native plants.
Our garden will help to give an insight into the ground-breaking work that goes on within the Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research and provide a beautiful spot for passers-by to enjoy and recharge and get inspired by.
Where is it…
You can find our garden outside of LifeSpace Gallery in the Wellcome Trust Building entrance of the School of Life Sciences. This is across from the Whitehall Theatre. There is a public walk way through campus directly past the garden.
Previously this area was grassed over and not used in a meaningful way and we wanted to change this and bring this area of campus to life. As well as being a nice looking area of campus to visit, the goal of the garden is also to increase awareness of the drug discovery research going on. The garden also provides a good anchor for getting people aware of the creative corner of campus as they will also pass by the Lifespace Gallery.
We hope the garden will provide a relatable starting point for people to understand how science affects everyone’s lives. We also hope it might spark an interest in finding out more about the science and how to grow your own herbal garden.
Our scientists will gain an opportunity to connect with communities. We’re hoping the garden will help them build relationships and learn from our communities and make new friends.
In an age of ‘Green Prescribing’ becoming more widly known of, our garden provides a safe and calming space for the public to enjoy as well as get invovled and learn about the medicine making going on inside our builidings and around the world.
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