Garden of medicinal plants

The Royal College of Physicians' garden contains over 1,100 plants, all with links to medicine. The myriad stories they tell come from diverse cultures, different countries and from every age in recorded history.

The garden has been beautifully designed and is a wonderfully calm space in the centre of London. The real joy of the garden is in its unique and bespoke collections of plants that offer living examples of the history of medicine from the era of the pyramids of Egypt to today’s life-saving prescription drugs.

[The plants] offer an illuminating window into the history, beliefs and culture of medicine through the ages.

There are also plants whose names commemorate physicians such as Rudbeck, Dahl, Fuchs, Kniphof and Zinn and a descendant of the tree under which Hippocrates taught medical students 2,400 years ago. Many of the plants have no current medical use but they offer an illuminating window into the history, beliefs and culture of medicine through the ages.

Available to buy from the RCP shop, A garden of medicinal plants describes 50 plants from the medicinal garden that are sources of ancient and modern medicines.

For a full list of publications produced by the Garden Team please click here.

Garden tours

Tours by the garden fellows are held on the first Wednesday of each month at 2pm from March to October. Please call +44 (0)20 3075 1200 to book.

Group tours can also be arranged Monday–Friday by sending an email with details of the group, along with the preferred date and time, to garden@rcplondon.ac.uk with the subject ‘Garden tour’. Tours are usually 11am–12.30pm (tea/coffee/biscuits at 10.30am) and 2–3.30pm (tea/coffee/biscuits at 3.30pm) but other times can be arranged.

Medicinal Garden lecture series, 2020 

Wednesday 24 June lectures and garden tours
2 - 3pm: Prof. Tilli Tansey: 'Ergot: from a dreaded poison to a treasure house of drugs'
3 - 4pm: Tea and garden tours
4 - 5pm: Prof. Pratik Chakrabarti: 'Materia Medica and the Empire: Plants, Medicines and Global history'

Monday 13 July lectures and garden tours 
2 - 5pm: Sir Richard Thompson: 'Horticultural therapy in hospitals, asylums, and sanatoria'
3 - 4pm: Tea and garden tours
4 - 5pm: Prof. Ian Graham: 'The medicinal plant genome project'

Monday 7 September lectures and garden tours 
2 - 5pm: Details to follow

For details and updates see: https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/events/event_type/social

Booking fee £10 per afternoon
For further enquiries email garden@rcplondon.ac.uk heading your email ‘Garden Lectures’

Visiting

Garden location, accessibility and journey planning information (including transport accessibility) is available on our visiting page.

If you would rather discuss visiting arrangements with staff at the RCP please contact us via email at reception@rcplondon.ac.uk, or by telephone on +44 (0)20 3075 1200 or +44 (0)20 3075 1363.