Tuesday, January 15, 2013

In a Monastic Garden

Herbs and drugs in the Middle Ages.
Monasteries in those past centuries had to have their own gardens: they needed vegetables for the daily food of their inmates, and fruit was grown in a special area. Flowers and aromatic herbs were raised for decoration of the church. But the smaller herbularies or physic garden was of high importance, too, particularly since the Rule of Benedict of Nursia – who founded the monastery of Monte Cassino, the cradle of the Benedictine Order, in 529 A.D. – stated solemnly: “Before all things, and above all things, especial care must be taken of the sick.”

The Benedictine monasteries, J. J. Walsh says, became the repository of important traditions in medicine and surgery, and their scriptorium or writing-rooms preserved many of the old Greek medical writings from perishing from the face of the earth in the midst of contemporary neglect of the intellectual life during the invasion of the barbarians in the early Middle Ages. Their gardens supplied the herbs which were considered to be so precious for the treatment of the various human ills even down to our own day. The beginnings of modern medical education can be connected with monastic influence. (Read entire article.)

1 comment:

julygirl said...

Many are still used today in various forms....