Medicine Matters – Romy Fraser

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Our series of July talks, Medicine Matters, were off to a flying start on Tuesday with founder of Neal’s Yard, Romy Fraser.

Romy told a rapt audience how her childhood inspired her to want to teach people about medicinal plants. She also divulged how she set up Neal’s Yard in 1981. A timeline of Neal’s Yard’s history is available here.

Romy Fraser has also set up Trill Farm, which she bought with her family in 2008. They bought the farm with ”the aim of developing an education centre, and community of small businesses based on the farm, working together to use resources of the diverse landscape.”

Our series of Medicine Matters talks continue throughout July. All talks are £15 including a glass of wine. Book online.

Tuesday 8 July – Medicines in Apothecary Jars
English Delftware apothecary jars are the familiar tin-glazed jars with elaborate blue cartouches indicating their contents – mostly plant based mixtures compounded according to the requirements of the Royal College of Physicians’ Pharmacopoeia Londinensis of 1618. In his lecture, Dr Henry Oakeley (Garden Fellow at the Royal College of Physicians) will describe the history and uses of these jars’ bizarre and fantastical ingredients, tracing the origins of these medicines to 2000 years ago and explaining why our ancestors thought they worked.
Tuesday 15 July – Phytotherapeutical preparations in a modern day pharmacy
Health is one of the most important aspects of human life. The service of promoting health has evolved throughout the centuries along with the evolution of mankind, and the plant world has provided fundamental means during this process. Although modern day drugs and pharmaceutical studies focus mainly on synthetic or semi-synthetic substances, there are still a lot of benefits to be gained from rational Phytotherapy. Georgia Syllignaki will present some examples of Plant pharmaceutical preparations that are nowadays dispensed in a Greek Pharmacy; she believes that in this context, Phytotherapy will continue to have an important place in the present and future of Health services.
Tuesday 22 July – Steam engines, overhead projectors, film cameras… and medicines from plants
Flowering plants have been the source of medicines for most human societies for generations and the chemicals that they contain are still the source of many important drugs today. However it has been proposed that their current role is more of historical interest than as a source of novel therapeutic materials. Professor Peter Houghton of King’s College London will examine the past and present use of flowering plant constituents in Western medicine before discussing current perceptions and prospects for flowering plants as providers of medicines by established and novel ways.
Tuesday 29 July – Medicine, marvels and mesmerists
Roll up, roll up… from book wheels to flying machines, Georgian Quacks to Victorian medicine shows, this talk will guide your way through some of the dreamers, opportunists and charlatans whose magical medicines and outlandish schemes are contained within the collections of the Wellcome Library. Ross MacFarlane is Research Engagement Officer at the Wellcome Library.
New Garden of Medicinal Plants takes shape – opened April 2014
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