Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Medicinal Gardens at Bastyr University

Yesterday was The Outlander Plant Guide's first anniversary. I celebrated by meeting a couple of Outlander fans at the Medicinal Gardens at Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington. I wanted to take a look around and prepare for the Outlander gathering we are having there on April 18th.

The Botany Beds have plants arranged by botanical family.
I've often thought that if Claire Fraser was to travel back in time to the 21st century instead of the 20th, she might have chosen Bastyr as the school where she would get her medical degree. Bastyr was the first university in the United States to offer an accredited, science-based, natural medicine program. Their approach is so like that of Claire's - combining science with botanical medicine. 

Since its founding in 1978, Bastyr has expanded its course offerings to include degree programs in nutrition, acupuncture, midwifery, psychology, public health, Ayurvedic medicine, exercise science and wellness, along with naturopathic medicine. 

The medicinal gardens at Bastyr are a collection of several gardens in one large garden space. All provide hands-on teaching experiences for students. One garden features Botany Beds, in which plants are grouped by botanical family. Another garden contains plants used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. There is a 4 Element garden, based on the ancient Greek "humoral" system of medicine, featuring plants that represent water, fire, air and earth. There is also a Nutrition Garden which provides fresh produce and herbs for the university cafeteria. 

This bed features plants that benefit the musculo-skeletal system.
For those of us who are most interested in plants used to treat specific ailments, there are the Physiological System beds. The bed shown above, for example, features plants that benefit the musculo-skeletal system. They include: crampbark (Virburnum opulus), comfrey (Symphytum officinale), St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum), and meadow arnica (Arnica chamissonis). Other beds have plants that benefit the brain and central nervous system, the reproductive system, genitourinary system, respiratory system, cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal system, immune system and endocrine system. All are clearly labeled. 

If you live near Kenmore, Washington, I hope you can join us for our Outlander gathering at noon on April 18. If you aren't able to stroll the gardens with us then, I hope you've enjoyed this brief virtual tour.