Sustainable UCL


Medicinal Garden created in Brunswick Square

Volunteers from the Institute of Child Health and the Institute of Education joined forces with the School of Pharmacy's library team to lay the first plants in a bed in Brunswick Square.

school of pharmacy website

9 May 2017

The School of Pharmacy (SOP) Medicinal Garden was created on Tuesday 4th April 2017. 

The bed was given to the School by the Friends of Brunswick Square (FOBS), a society of local residents who preserve and promote the gardens of the Square.  A member of FOBS supervised the planting and all volunteers learned some top gardening tips. 

The team planted four species

  1. Hypericum perforatum (St John’s Wort)
  2. Valeriana officinalis (valerian)
  3. Lavandula  angustifolia (lavender)
  4. Calendula officinalis (marigold). 

All four have medicinal properties and were acquired thanks to a grant from UCL Sustainability via the Green Impact Programme.  

UCL Careers Service donated some fertiliser from their wormery which was used to nourish the soil.

Echinacea purpurea and Matricaria recutita (chamomile) will be planted later in the year and a schedule of weeding and watering sessions taking place over the year. 


The planting sessions have been tremendous fun and all participants agree that gardening is a relaxing and contemplative activity. 

It is hoped that the plants themselves, will be used in teaching and research in the School as part of UCL’s Living Labs programme.  In the meantime, the plants will be on display to the general public showcasing the role of botanics in healthcare and wellbeing and some of the research that is going on at UCL.y

Plants in the Medicinal Garden

Hypericum perforatum (St John’s Wort)
It is a medicinal herb with antidepressant activity and potent anti-inflammatory properties. It is currently available as a traditional herbal remedy in the treatment of low mood.

Valeriana officinalis (Valerian)
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved the claim that valerian can be used as a traditional herbal medicinal product in order to relieve mild symptoms of mental stress and to aid sleep.

Lavandula  angustifolia (Lavender)
Lavender is used extensively with herbs such as chamomile in aromatherapy. It is used in combination with other herbs in infusions to promote relaxation and sleep.  Lavender oil is approved for use as an anxiolytic in Germany under the name Lasea.

Calendula officinalis (marigold)
Plant pharmacological studies support Calendula officinalis use as extract for their anti-viral, anti-genotoxic, and anti-inflammatory properties in vitro.
It is used topically as an antiseptic.

If you are interested in joining in, please send your contact details to sop.library@ucl.ac.uk to be added to the volunteering mailing list.