|Georgetown University Medical Center|
|URBAN HERBS: Medicinal Plants at Georgetown University|
Save yourself a trip to the rainforest: Medicinal and edible herbs are all around us, even if we dwell in the heart of the city. Some medicinal plants, including echinacea and chaste-tree berry, are popular ornamentals, at home in a casual or formal garden. Other important medicinal plants are irrepressible wild plants that spill over curbs or line parking lots. Common “weeds” vital to the development of modern pharmaceuticals include yellow sweet clover, which provided a drug model for the widely used anticoagulant warfarin, and jimsonweed, which provided scopolamine, used today as an anti-motion sickness drug.
This sampling is designed to stimulate interest in the diversity of useful plants all around us, and provide some interesting tidbits about historical and modern use.
Our entries include descriptions, historical uses, modern uses, and adverse effects, but are not meant to be extensive monographs. If you are interested in more detailed information about herbs, please see our Resources section.
We have included both ornamental plantings and wild plants. Locations and descriptions have been provided, for those who want to do a self-guided tour, but be forewarned; wild plants documented in one location may well show up elsewhere next year! This is by no means a complete list, but it should be enough to inform a stroll around the urban campus of Georgetown. Do not miss the medicinal herbs in the Pharmaceutical Garden, a project of the Pharmacology Department that is maintained by the landscaping department. The Pharmaceutical Garden is north of the Basic Sciences Building, east of Building D and west of the Med-Dent Building.