"Visits to the Bronx and Brooklyn Botanical Gardens inspired the idea of a medicinal herb and aroma garden," says Brodsky. Ganga Duleep , a master gardener at the Bartlett Arboretum , helped him come up with a design, which quickly grew from one small bed to the entire area behind the Center.
Larry Katz, a math teacher at Stamford High School organizes groups of students to help with the planting and weeding. "Some of them are interested in pre-medical studies," he says. "They get a taste of medicine by volunteering here."
Plants in the garden are labeled, and visitors are encouraged to snip off leaves and smell or taste them. There's a "beverage section" with tea, coffee, hibiscus and echinacea plants. Duleep says the best way to use echinacea is to make a tincture from the flowers. "I pick them early in the morning," she says. The petals go into a mason jar where they steep in 80-proof vodka for six weeks. "Strain the tincture and store in a dark bottle," she says. Echinacea can be used to fight infections.
"Herbs all have natural healing properties," says Brodsky. Ginger is an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory and l avender is an aromatic used for relaxation. Foxglove is purified to make digitalis, a prescription drug used to treat heart conditions. Angelica, or Dong Quai , is used in China to treat a variety of conditions such as premenstrual tension. Some believe it can relieve hot flashes during menopause.
Dr. Brodsky became interested in blending different traditions of medicine to solve challenging problems while serving as a Navy physician in Japan and Korea. Back in the US, he worked as a pain management specialist in California before being recruited by Stamford Hospital. He is the medical director for the Center for Integrative Medicine and Wellness. "Lifestyle coaching and natural approaches are an important part of my philosophy," he says. "The garden is a learning laboratory for health and healing."
Do you grow any herbs or healing plants in your garden? I'd love to hear what you think about using herbs for medicinal purposes.
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