On a rectangle of cement tucked between the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine and Huntington Avenue, a garden grows. Begun with a wish for vine-ripened tomatoes uttered by some of the Countway librarians during one of their “salad club” lunches, the garden now produces tomatoes, basil, chard, and other green-meal ingredients. But in keeping with the day jobs of the librarians and others who tend the patch, the garden is also advancing education and research by showcasing some of the herbs and flowers that have been used as medicines in the twentieth century.
“While we see the medicinal herb garden as a tool in the education of medical students, pharmacy students, and the public,” says Julia Whelan, a reference and education services librarian at the Countway and a natural medicines expert, “we also hope it will facilitate research into the role that natural pharmaceuticals have in the clinic today.”
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