Past Seminars

2017 – ‘Preservation matters in the History of Herbal Medicine’. Birmingham Botanic Garden.

The aim of this day seminar is to bring together researchers in the history of herbal medicine and others interested in explorations into preservation and the practice of herbal medicine. The theme of preservation can be understood at varying levels, from a practical concern with preservation of medicinal remedies to the continuity or otherwise of traditions of knowledge and understanding of plants as medicines. This seminar will incorporate talks on doing research, relating past and present practice, practical aspects of preservation, and continuities of herbal knowledge.
Download PDF 2017 Programme here

2015 – ‘Trade, Discovery and Influences in the History of Herbal Medicine’. Wellcome Trust, Euston, London.

Trade in medicinal plants has always been part of human culture. Historiography has tended to divide medicinal cultures into discrete traditions, but may obscure the extent to which they interacted through trade in medicinal products, learning medical skills in the process? What were issues of correct identification, of the quality and preservation of material, of over- harvesting or habitat degradation? A primary driver of early modern Western exploration to distant cultures was to gain direct access to precious herbal commodities. What impact did these exotic medicines have on herbal medicine practice?
Download PDF 2015 programme here

2014 – ‘Illustration and Identification in the History of Herbal Medicine’. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

Correct identification of plants in the past has been of great importance, whether for foods, medicines or other purposes. But to what extent did people in medieval and early modern times learn about plants with medicinal uses from illustrations in herbals or elsewhere? Matters of interest include ways in which illustrations were produced, the role of illustrations, dissemination of information about plant identification, significant observers of plants and their approaches to plant description. This day seminar has been organised with a particular focus on presenting research into finding and interpreting archival and other sources relating to the history of herbal medicine.
Download PDF 2014 programme here

2013 – ‘Gardens and Herbal History Research Seminar’. Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, Bath.

Herbs, as useful plants, have featured strongly in gardens throughout the ages, but there has been relatively limited research which has closely examined the relationship between people and medicinal plants in the garden context. Many forms of managed growing environments can be considered from the past, defined by both physical and social boundaries, from kitchen garden to orchard and botanic garden. Matters of interest include preferences for wild or cultivated sources of medicinal plants, the extent of knowledge of plant cultivation and how this was passed on and controlled, relationships between plants grown for food or medicine, social and cultural aspects of growing and harvesting.
Download PDF 2013 programme here

2012 – ‘Herbal History Study Day’. Quaker Meeting House, Bradford-Upon-Avon.

The aim of this day is to bring together current and interested researchers in herbal history to report on progress in current projects and share ideas and problems. Our theme for the day will be about communicating herbal knowledge in the past. The cost is £10 and kept deliberately low to enable research students to participate although others are most welcome. As this cost is low, please bring your own sandwich lunch! We will arrange for hot water, tea or coffee to be made available.
Download PDF 2012 programme here

2011 – ‘Explaining the Actions: Researching Herbal Pharmacology in History’. School of Pharmacy, Reading.

The focus of this event is on the pharmacology of herbal medicine in historical context. Contributors will provide an overview of methodological issues in identifying herbs and their sources, considering efficacy as well as exploring the constituents and actions of selected herbs with their uses and preparations. This event will be of interest to a variety of researchers, practitioners and lecturers including ethnobotanists, historians of medicine, medical herbalists, pharmacists and other academic and independent researchers.
Download PDF 2011 programme here

2010 – ‘Researching the History of Western Herbal Medicine: Appraising Methods and Sources’. (2 seminars) Middlesex University, London & Institute of Historical Research, London.

Seminar 1: Classical & medieval medicine 
Download PDF 2010 S1 programme here

Seminar 2: Branching out in early modern herbal medicine
Download PDF 2010 S2 programme here