the role of women in herbal history

The Role of Women in Herbal History

The Course

Several factors, including the lack of formal education for the majority of women, has meant that herbals and other literature on herbal medicine have been dominated by male authors over the centuries. The role of women as carers and mothers however meant they developed skills in home medicine, and have long practiced herbal medicine to professional standards.

This course highlights the work of women in herbal history – as licensed midwives in early times and surgeons in the medieval period, through to the wives of religious ministers in the New World and ladies of the manor offering charitable treatments to their own families and servants as well as the poor seeking their help.

We will consider a range of herbs with recipes including those used by midwives for easing the pain of childbirth and comforting remedies for after the birth. We will make herbal medicine for babies and healing applications for wounds following surgery. Recipes for travel to the New World and herbs found in the stillroom will complete the picture. The herbs featured will include rose, wormwood, cinnamon, cumin, mastic, frankincense, chamomile and valerian.

The Tutor

Christina Stapley BSc (Hons) MCPP is now a retired qualified medical herbalist with a degree in Phytotherapy (plant therapy). She has grown some 300 herbs, studied and used them for over 30 years. Her Hampshire garden was featured on television several times. She has written three books on cultivating and using herbs in cookery, fragrant recipes, wines and liqueurs, crafts and home remedies. Christina has also edited and interpreted a 17th century book of cookery and physic recipes. Christina now lives in Wiltshire and teaches History of Western Herbal Medicine, Pharmacognosy and Materia Medica for the School of Herbal Medicine. In 2021 her two volumes of The Tree Dispensary were published by Aeon Books.

Participant Information

Please bring with you a pen and paper and suitable clothing footwear as you will spend part of the day outside. The course may take place in an historic building which can be cool, it is advisable to wear warm layers.

Fee & Refreshments

£75 per person for the workshop. This includes tuition, tools and materials, teas and coffees. Please let the Museum know if you have any dietary requirements. Lunch is available in the Museum cafe and at local pubs

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Tue 4 October 2022






Herbal & Garden