11 April : Talk - Herbal medicine past and present

Updated: May 3


By Anne Stobart at St Swithun's Church, Woodbury.



The first event of the Festival featured Anne Stobart - a medical herbalist, Fellow of Exeter University, author of Household Medicine in Seventeenth Century England, and founder of Holt Wood Herbs and the Medicinal Forest Garden Trust. An audience of 40 were treated to a tiny fragment of Anne's knowledge, which left us all wanting to know more.

Anne Stobart brought some products from her project at Holt Wood Herbs

Anne brought a range of fresh herbs from home — including wormwood, yellow archangel, and rosemary — and she passed around medicinal bottles filled with interesting smells. She regaled us with medical histories of the past and reminded us of words such as costive, dropsy, posset, blood-letting and humours, and the reason why we call a cold a cold. Anne answered many questions about her subject and at the end of the talk was surrounded by more of us keen to dig deeper.


Anne's work can be discovered here. Holt Wood Herbs is in N Devon close to Torrington and RHS Rosemoor, and for anyone eager to know more there is an Open afternoon on 20 July, as well as a number of courses.