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Uniwersytet Przyrodniczy w Lublinie
Publication date: 2016-03-30
Acta Sci. Pol. Formatio Circumiectus 2016;15(1):125-137
Since the earliest times a man has been seeking help for health problems in holy groves or at healing rivers and springs. At that time, any illness was believed to result from a disapproval of spirits and gods, and magicians or wizards were the intermediaries between them and people. Herbal medicine was widely used. In Greece, the medics concentrated around the temples of Asclepius, the God of medicine. Temples, sanctuaries with springs, wells and altars had a cult-medicinal function. The medieval cloister gardens might be considered as the earliest therapeutic gardens. The monasteries established asylums, hospitals and hospices where those in need could get help, both physical and spiritual. In the 18th century in the West Europe the first city hospitals with accompanying gardens were established, for example in Paris, Marseilles, Florence, Pisa or Vienna. The development of medicine, hygiene and a role of a patient contact with nature in the process of healing as well as the ideas of Romanticism contributed to establishment of health resorts. In a Polish countryside, manor houses had a big importance in shaping the medical awareness. Possessing own stock of medicines and herbs (lime flos, chamomile, mint, dried fruits, jams, honey) resulted naturally from former needs and a lack of wider access to doctors and pharmacies. The development of gardens intended for active therapy in the USA is dated to the 18th and 19th century, when the contact with nature and working on a farm or in a garden was an important element of a treatment. In the 30s of the 20th century, in England, gardening became officially recognized as a method of therapy for physically or mentally ill. Fifty years later, a concept of a sensory garden appeared as a response to the needs of partially sighted. An article by Roger Ulrich, a German behaviorist and landscape architect, concerning a positive influence of nature on the ill and convalescents. At present, the importance of a therapeutic garden increases. It is not only a place for cultivation of plants, such as trees, shrubs and ornamentals, composed according to a specific design, but it is also a didactic garden presenting medical properties of plants as well as a place teaching compassion and understanding for sickness and old age.
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