Posts filed under ‘Chinese Herbs’

The Bristol Chinese Herb Garden

The entrance to the Chinese Herb Garden at the University of Bristol Botanic Garden.

The entrance to the Chinese Herb Garden at the University of Bristol Botanic Garden.

The Natural Health Clinic Chinese Herb Garden started on a very small scale in the back garden of one of the founders of the Natural Health Clinic. Chinese Herbal Medicine arrived in the UK about 30 years ago, some time after the initial wave of acupuncture. The garden was started by Tony Harrison in 1994 when studying Chinese Herbal Medicine. During the entire course, there was never a single living plant. Could the source plants actually be grown in the UK?  What is the quality of the living plant? Could the herbs be grown commercially in this country?  Is the practice of Chinese Herbal Medicine having an adverse effect on the survival of the wild plants in China? It was these questions which prompted the start of the garden and continue to be behind the garden as it has develops.

Salvia miltihorriza (dan shen) was first grown in the UK in 1994 at the Bristol Chinese Herb Garden.

Salvia miltihorriza (dan shen) was first grown in the UK in 1994 at the Bristol Chinese Herb Garden.

In 1997, the garden was adopted by the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine, which is the main professional body for Chinese Herbalists in the UK. In 1999, the garden won a Winston Churchill Travel Scholarship for research on existing Chinese Herb gardens in China. This enabled the collection to grow and also founded a partnership with Nanjing Botanic Gardens in China. In 2000 the collection was incorporated into the University of Bristol Botanic gardens as a teaching garden for herbal students.

The move of the Botanic Garden in 2006 enabled the Chinese Herb garden to develop new areas including:

•    A teaching garden for students and the public
•    A Chinese peony garden
•    Ferns in Medicine
•    Conservation of Chinese Herbs
•    Research bed
•    Tropical Zone

The Sacred Lotus var. sheng xian flowering in the tropical zone.

The Sacred Lotus var. sheng xian flowering in the tropical zone.

This last expansion into tropical plants has allowed more exotic species to be cultivated including a rare collection of the sacred lotus Nelumbo nucifera, donated by Nanjing Botanic Garden.

The new University of Bristol Botanic Garden, including the Chinese Herb Garden, will be opened in the Spring of 2008. Past and future developments of this garden can be followed on http://www.rchm.co.uk The new site also includes a modern course room for talks and training for a wide range of levels. Details can also be found on this website.

Here you can see how the garden has grown from quite humble beginnings to become one of the most active and detailed of its kind outside China.
For more information contact t.harrison@rchm.co.uk

Tony Harrison is currently vice-presidentof the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine. In this role he is highly committed to raising the standards of dispensary practice and herb supply.

Tony is one of the founders of the Natural Health Clinic, and still runs a busy practice, where he offers acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine.

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May 9, 2008 at 12:54 pm


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