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Time Travel Adventure to the 12th Century as a Healer

Become a Healer, either at a Monastery Infirmarian or become a village Folk Healer...


Introduction:  Outside the gates there are the suffering townspeople, waiting patiently to see Brother Paulus, Disibodenberg's Infirmiarian. As you enter the gates you cannot help but notice the tender care given to the monastery's herbal gardens. It is here he turns to the herbs and other plants he grows to add to the ingredients of the salves and potions he prescribes to all the sick people who come to him for care. He must consider the space available, the lighting needs of each plant, the size of a full grown speciman, and its water requirements. 

Assignment:  Plan and layout on graph paper a design of an ideal medieval cloister garden. Keep in mind what is known in the 12th century, that is, the typical ailments and treatments prescribed at that time. Be sure to incorporate: plants for paints to be used by the scribes; healing plants for the sick and infirmed; and lastly plants that would be used in preparing and seasoning the meals served to the poor and to the monastery monks and nuns.

Be sure to comment found surprising in your journey back into time.

Research Links and Videos

Inspiration for the Medieval Monastery Herbal Garden...


Healer Checklist...



The garden landscape design has a compass rose [decision made on northern exposure, etc.] and an appropriate key.

The garden landscape design has a title and appropriate labels.

All necessary information has been included on the garden design:  plants for medicine; plants for food; and plants for paints.

The garden landscape design is neat, clean

PRESENTATION:  did a good job in presenting their ideas and the reasons behind each aspect of their design and plant choices.


Historical Details...

Medieval Abbeys & Monasteries usually kept within their grounds an area for the cultivation of herbs and plants which could be used to produce medicines. They would also have included plants which could be used for coloring wools and other fabrics.


In reconstructing such a garden, it must contains herbs & plants believed the Benedictines would have grown. Many of the plants in the garden, will predate the formation of the monastery for their medicinal use was known to the Ancient Greeks, Egyptians & Romans. Some of the knowledge of Arabic physicians came to Europe after the Crusades from the 1100s on. Benedictine monasteries were often the primary source of herbal medicine in Europe in the early middle ages. By translating Greek and Arabic text into Latin they broadened their knowledge base. Through a system of trial and error medieval man used many of the herbs to treat common ailments. These were used in teas, ointments, tinctures, baths, soaps and simply strewn on the floor of a room. Many were dried and could be stored for upwards of a year. Some were only harvested on certain days of the year when they were believed to be at their most potent. During a time when the letting of blood was considered a cure, it will come as no surprise to visitors that medieval man also attributed magical powers to some of the plants. Many were used in love potions and to keep evil spirits away from the home. A guided tour of the Garden you design needs to incorporate these plants and herbs attributes as well as their  claimed medicinal uses. 

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