Mountain Gardens

Information on Chinese Herbs



Notes on Chinese Materia Medica for American Gardens

These notes summarize ten years’ experience with the cultivation of Chinese medicinal herbs at Mountain Gardens, a botanical garden of useful plants, located near Mt. Mitchell in western North Carolina (USDA hardiness zone 6, elevation 3100′). Species listed are those cited in the widely available Materia Medica of Bensky & Gamble. (Spp. not mentioned in Bensky will be included in future revisions of these Notes.)

Here are enough plant species to landscape a home or office, or (if there were time and world enough) to conduct a Chinese herbal medicine practice. Two major problems inhibiting the growing of Chinese herbs in this country are lack of sources of seeds or plants and lack of information on propagation and culture. Planting material for most of the plants listed here is available from Mountain Gardens, where the plants may also be observed in a display garden.


Easiest Chinese Herbs to Grow

This is a list of the herbs in the 3rd edition of Bensky's Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica which are easiest to grow (at Mountain Gardens), including those considered weedy or invasive.