PACE (Pan African Conservation Education) shares environmental success stories, practical ways in which people have overcome local problems. Our new Action sheet on Medicinal Plant Gardens is one such source of inspiration for educators and individuals in these challenging times.
Most people know some local plants that have health benefits, but may not know how to grow them or not realize they can be cultivated. There are many ‘medicinal’ plants that people use on a daily basis, species that are now universal like garlic, ginger, aloe vera or mint. Very often we buy these in the market not realizing that we could easily produce ourselves (even in an apartment or small compound). There are also many native species, growing wild, that we collect for medicinal purposes. Cultivating these at home makes it easier and cheaper to access what we need and when we need it and also ensures that wild stock is preserved for posterity.
Growing and nurturing medicinal plants is itself therapeutic, they add colour, scents, calm, a talking point, something to share, to the places where we spend time. Growing our own medicinal plants is a way to explore cultural heritage and to learn about its links to science and modern medicine.
This PACE Action Sheet tells you how to get started, some common plants that could be grown and ways of propagating and planting them. There is a section for schools, with links to curriculum teaching and we show how medicinal plant gardens in school can make teachers work and students learning easier and relevant to their daily lives. It is based on a successful initiative in Cameroon which resulted in some wonderful medicinal plant gardens in schools and education centres of ISTP (In Service Training Programme of the CBC & PCC). These gardens produced tasty and nutritious drinks and snacks, interesting flavours and diet supplements for staff, students and events, both saving and generating much needed income and improving the well-being of many at little or no cost.