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The Dorothy Bradley Atkins Medicinal Plant Garden: Unique Venue and Resource

The Dorothy Bradley Atkins Medicinal Plant Garden is a garden oasis in the midst of the busy Illinois Medical District, located at the corner of Wood and Polk Streets, next to the UIC College of Pharmacy. The garden is a unique resource for researchers, trainees, and visitors alike to learn about medicinal plants, their history, their current uses, and their value for human health.

Thanks to the incredible generosity of Dorothy Atkins' late husband, Dr. Robert A. Atkins, Dorothy’s life as a pharmacist and her interest in medicinal plants are honored and commemorated by the garden and its associated activities.

The Annual Garden Walk: A Community Outreach Event Heading link

Atkins Garden Features Plants Researched by the UIC Botanical Center

Every summer, researchers from UIC’s Pharmacognosy Institute hold an Annual Garden Walk Event to engage with the public about botanical dietary supplements, the plant origins of medicines, and the role of edible and medicinal plants in human health.

The Annual Garden Walk is free and open to the public.

The first Annual Garden Walk was in 2007 by the Atkins Garden Curator at the time, botanist Dr. Djaja D. Soejarto, and PCRPS Director at the time, Dr. Norman R. Farnsworth. The Garden Walk offers a tour of the garden from the perspective of UIC researchers and features a lecture from a distinguished natural products scientist.

Click here for a list of plants in the garden.

Overview and Mission Heading link

Atikins Garden Features Plants Researched by the UIC Botanical Center

Not just an island of beauty and calm on the University of Illinois campus, the Atkins Medicinal Plant Garden is also a rich resource for educational and research activities with over eighty different medicinal plant species. Featured plants have a long history of use. Before the modern medicine emphasis on synthetic chemistry, these plants provided the primary source of organic chemical compounds used to treat disease. With an increase in the use of dietary supplements derived from plants today, there is a renewed emphasis on the study of these plants and their role in modern health care.

About 150 species of perennial temperate medicinal plants are growing in the Garden. We see the beauty of this garden at its peak during the summer months, especially during the months of June to August.

The garden features plants studied through the UIC Pharmacognosy Institute, such as the UIC Botanical Center (P50 AT000155, 1999-2022) including the prominent botanicals Red Clover, Hops, Black Cohosh, and Ginger.

The three missions of the Atkins Medicinal Plant Garden are to support health education, to support research at the UIC College of Pharmacy, and to serve as a public education resource on medicinal and dietary supplement plants and their value for human health.

Atkins Garden Funding for Education & Outreach Heading link

Dr. Janet M. Riddle

Dr. Janet M. Riddle Health Professions Education Fund (2021-2025)

Established in 2021, the Dr. Janet M. Riddle Health Professions Education Fund supports the activities of the annual Garden Walk, in the Dorothy Bradley Atkins Medicinal Plant Garden, at the UIC College of Pharmacy.  Representing a generous gift in the name and memory of Dr. Janet M. Riddle (photo), the fund supports activities in the 2021-2025 period that will focus on, but are not limited to, elements that enhance the educational value of the garden as a unique resource for academic learning and general education about the essential roles of plants in human health. As part of these efforts, we have recently been providing virtual tours are part of the Annual Atkins Garden Walk, which can be attended live via teleconference media.

Funding Opportunities for Medicinal Plant Education and Research

The educational and outreach activities of the Atkins Medicinal Plant Garden provide funding opportunities for individuals and organizations.

Interested parties are welcome to contact for inquiries and further information.

Atkins Medicinal Plant Garden at the UIC College of Pharmacy Heading link

833 South Wood St., MC 877, Chicago, Illinois 60612