The Medicinal Garden of the Royal College of Physicians and a Brief History of the Role of Plants in Medicine

Professor John Newton FRCP FFPH FRSPH, Garden Fellow at the Royal College of Physicians

Monday 11th March

Reception 5:30pm / Live and Online 6:00pm-7:00pm

Francis Holland School, 39 Graham Terrace, Sloane Square, SW1W 8JF 

Photo © The Royal College of Physicians

The Royal College of Physicians was founded in 1518 and continues to promote standards in medicine around the world.  The current Medicinal Garden at the College originates from around 2004 following a deliberate decision to create something exceptional in terms of a modern medicinal garden.  The garden is widely recognised as one of the most unusual and important gardens in the UK and is internationally recognised and hugely valuable as a knowledge resource.  It is the focus for the work of eleven Garden Fellows all active in various fields, for a series of medicinal plant lectures from leading experts and for an impressive stream of publications.  

The garden has a strong educational focus: it welcomes 1200-1500 people each year on organised garden tours, participates in workshops for school groups and staff members, and invites students to visit accompanied by their own teachers or on their own. It is a haven for bird and insect life so important as we are in the midst of a biodiversity crisis. 

The talk will cover the history of the garden, the role of plants in medicine historically and in the present day, and highlight some specific plants of interest as the sources of modern medicines. 

Professor John Newton Professor John Newton FRCP FFPH FRSPH has been a Garden Fellow at the Royal College of Physicians since 2012 and the lead Garden Fellow since 2021.  He teaches in the Medicinal Garden with an especial interest in the use of evidence in relation to plants and medicine and how it has been understood and used over the centuries.  He has a related interest in designing and cultivating a garden that is resistant to large grazing herbivores, namely fallow deer! 

Prof. Newton is a public health physician and epidemiologist currently working as Director of Public Health Analysis at the Department of Health and Social Care and Professor of Public Health and Epidemiology at the University of Exeter, Centre for Environment and Human Health.   In 2020, he co-ordinated the national programme to increase coronavirus testing in response to the pandemic and oversaw the Government’s coronavirus dashboard.  He is also Professor of Public Health at the University of Manchester, and President of the Scientific Council of Santé publique France and was recently Vice President of the Faculty of Public Health of the Royal College of Physicians 

Tickets for Live Talk include wine and nibbles (Access up one flight of stairs). 

Bookable until Friday, 8th March.

The talk will also be streamed live via Zoom.