Healing Gardens

Doctors will advise fresh air and exercise to make us feel better. Summer is here and it is time to get outside.

This week I went to visit the beautiful Chelsea Physic garden.

It was set up in 1673 to train medical apothecaries to identify plants. It is a wonderful place to start to learn about the healing properties of plants and also a very relaxing oasis in the city. In the Southfields Grid we may not have the luxury of gigantic gardens or rolling acres  but we do have our own lovely parks and gardens nearby. Even a small patio or windowsill can give us room to get growing.

Here at Elborough Street Surgery we are lucky enough to have a back yard and have started to make little medical garden of our own. We are learning as we go. Do you know that there are many simple healing herbs that we can use to make us feel better? My favourite is lemon balm.  Otherwise known as Melissa Officinalis. This lovely lemon- scented plant has been valued since ancient times. The ancient Greeks called it honey leaf and knew it eased worry and the Arabs believed it cured sadness. It is fantastic if you suffer from anxiety and poor sleep and  it can also be useful in creams to treat cold sores. It is a member of the mint family so is very easy to grow in your garden or in a pot. It smells wonderful. If you suffer from trouble sleeping grab a few leaves and throw them into boiling tea to ease sleep. It can be combined with other herbs to help.

If you are pregnant or breast feeding you must be careful, and if on other medications always consult your GP first to check that herbal remedies are ok.

So, I’m off to buy some lemon balm to plant at the practice. Get well soon!!

Dr Q