On Sunday 15th October War & Peas joined up with Digging In for an open day on medicine in the First World War. Before the war, the UK was very reliant on the pharmaceutical industry in Germany so during the war was cut-off from vital drug supplies. Gardeners were asked not only to grow food but also medicinal plants in their allotments and home-gardens that the UK could use in its own drug production. These included poppies for morphine and foxgloves for digitalis. We will be growing these medicinal plants alongside herbs in the War and Peas plot, along with plenty of garlic!
Garlic is an antibiotic and, as penicillin wasn’t discovered until 1922, was used on wounds at the front. It is likely that garlic was also used by many people for medicinal purposes at home too. Children visiting the open day learnt how to make garlic poultices; crushing garlic and wrapping it in muslin then plunging it into hot water. It was quite stinky! They also created mini ‘garlic gardens’, decorating plots and planting a clove of garlic to grow at home.