URBAN HERBS is a project of the Department of Pharmacology & Physiology, Georgetown University School of Medicine  

Save yourself a trip to the rainforest: Medicinal and edible herbs are all around us, even if we dwell in the heart of the city. Some medicinal plants, including echinacea and chaste-tree berry, are popular ornamentals, at home in a casual or formal garden.  Other important medicinal plants are irrepressible wild plants that spill over curbs or line parking lots. Common "weeds" vital to the development of modern pharmaceuticals include yellow sweet clover, which provided a drug model for the widely used anticoagulant warfarin, and jimsonweed, which provided scopolamine, used today as an anti-motion sickness drug.

This sampling is designed to stimulate interest in the diversity of useful plants all around us, and provide some interesting tidbits about historical and modern use.

Our entries include descriptions, historical uses, modern uses, and adverse effects, but are not meant to be extensive monographs. We have included both ornamental plantings and wild plants. If you are interested in more detailed information about herbs, please see our Resources section.

About the Gardens

The purpose of Urban Herbs is to create gardens in strips of neglected land on campus to demonstrate urban gardening, xericulture (water-thrifty gardening) and permaculture techniques. 
  • The gardens combine Western and Asian  medicinal plants (including echinacea, aconite, black cohosh, and malaria-fighting qinghaosu)   culinary herbs, prairie wildflowers (including Gaura, Rudbeckia, Gaillardia, and Baptisia), fruits and unusual ornamentals. 
  • Nectary plants, including a dozen varieties of Salvia and many mints, attract a variety of butterflies, bees and other pollinators; hummingbirds are regular visitors. 
  • The gardens are used in several Georgetown courses, including Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman's course in Medicinal Plants and Pharmacognosy PHAR-604-01 and Dr. Edd Barrows Forest Ecology course (BIOL-355). 
  • Student volunteers care for the garden and create the plant monographs. Gardening internships are available. Please email Dr. Fugh-Berman at ajf29@georgetown.edu for more information. 
  • To learn more about our M.S. program in Pharmacology with a concentration in Natural Products, please see Department of Pharmacology & Physiology.

Also, check out The Biodiversity Database of the Washington D.C., Area associated with the Georgetown University Laboratory of Entomology and Biodiversity. It is a fantastic site for those who wish to identify organisms in the D.C. area and want to learn more about them. 

Recent Announcements

  • It's bush cherry season!

Showing posts 1 - 0 of 1. View more »

Recent Announcements

  • Urban Foraging Workshop: Fall 2017

    Displaying IMG_6916.JPG
  • Urban Foraging Workshop Fall 2017 In October Dr. Martha Weiss and Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman hosted a workshop for gathering and cooking wild foods foraged from the campus gardens.  The dishes were artfully plated by ...
    Posted Dec 28, 2017, 9:31 PM by Vi Nguyen
Showing posts 1 - 1 of 1. View more »

Copyright Adriane Fugh-Berman MD. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint any text, contact Adriane Fugh-Berman at ajf29@georgetown.edu. For web or accessibility issues, please contact webmaster Vi Nguyen at vnn3@georgetown.edu 

Disclaimer: Information on this website is for educational purposes only. Many herbs historically used for medicine are considered too toxic to use today; some of these herbs have caused deaths. Do not ingest these herbs based on information on this website. We have not provided sufficient information for the safe medicinal use of any of these herbs, nor sufficient information for treatment of poisoning. All recreational use of these herbs is dangerous.