On the ZHAW site in Wädenswil, in August 2016, the first garden with medicinal plants of Traditional Chinese Medicine will be opened in Switzerland. It serves primarily for study and research, but is also open to the interested public. This joint project was conducted in collaboration with the Swiss professional organization for TCM and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (IUNR) , realized with the collaboration of Phytonetzwerk by the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW).

Medicinal plants today

A lot of Plants have always been used for medical purposes by all peoples. Medicinal plants are the root of modern drug discovery, their ingredients are the basis and origin of all modern synthetic medicines. Even in our modern world, they have not lost their importance as an alternative to synthetic drugs.

Various holistic treatment methods, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, include mixtures of medicinal plants. Nowadays TCM is practiced not only in China but worldwide. The plants used for this purpose are, however, pretty much unknown to us. The design of the TCM garden was developed using the method of Narrative Environments, which visualises the factual knowledge in the room and makes it directly visible to the visitor. Narrative environments are designed environments where learning, experiencing and understanding is possible in an active way.

The realization of the garden brought the challenge of how a thematic collection of plants from a different continent and culture can be presented to us in a meaningful way. Thus the garden was designed as a self-contained world, which corresponds with its environment and is embedded in it harmoniously. Wherever possible and appropriate, design approaches and laws of Chinese philosophy have been applied and integrated. In the ideal Chinese garden, everything is in balance and whoever dips into it is touched by its inner harmony and feels its soothing and strengthening power and regeneration on us humans.

Meaning and purpose of the garden

The aim of the approximately 1000m2 garden is a modern and effective mediation of medicinal plants. The focus is on the usability of the garden for trainees of various phytosanitary professions in the healthcare sector. Thanks to innovative experience concepts, the classical teaching methods are expanded and the learning success is made more effective and sustainable. In addition, the attractive design of the garden is intended to sensitize a broad public to the benefit of medicinal plants and to arouse curiosity of this plant-based healing method.

Platform for exchange on a high level

The TCM-garden also serves as a platform for our partners . They form a network of high-level expertise. In symposia and discussion sessions, a regular exchange on TCM medicinal plants is to take place in Switzerland.