Missionaries established Bethabara—Hebrew for “house of passage”—as a temporary settlement. It is the earliest documented colonial medicinal garden in America. Established in 1761 to serve the medicinal needs of Bethabara, the first Moravian settlement in North Carolina, this garden from the same time period has been reconstructed at Historic Bethabara Park.
The original garden contained more than seventy different herbs, including such familiar ones as tansy, angelica, fennel, chamomile, lavender, basil, borage, sage, nasturtium, sorrel, thistle, yarrow, comfrey, and wormwood. Among those less familiar to us as medicinal plants were common centaury, rhubarb, scabiosa, viper’s grass (Scorzonera hispanica), plantain, muskmelons, and Pyrenean dead nettle (Horminum pyrenaicum). Most of the plants identified as grown in the original garden have been included in the reconstructed garden. Here is a map of the garden.