Your guide to natural and organic living

Book Review: Grow Your Own Drugs

May 6, 2009

Grow Your Own Drugs is a TV series recently shown on the BBC, where James Wong (an ethnobotanist at Kew Gardens) shows you how to grow and use plants for natural remedies.

Cover of Grow your Own Drugs Book

I bought the book so I didn’t have to scribble down the recipes during each show!

“Over the years we have lost the knowledge of how to make the most of plants’ health benefits in our daily lives. The fact that many remedies are cheap to make and can be prepared in five minutes at home, makes them all the more appealing and convenient.”

The Book

Grow Your Own Drugs contains information about many aspects of growing and using plants for natural remedies and is divided up into 4 main sections:

Getting started

This chapter gives you a basic understanding of the tools and ingredients to use for the job. It tells you which utensils you will need, base ingredients (beeswax, olive oil, honey etc), information about growing, planting and foraging and basic uses for plants.

“If your kitchen facilities and cooking ability can stretch to making beans on toast, you can make herbal remedies.”

Getting started section of Grow Your Own Drugs book

Remedies

The remedies section is the main reason I bought this book and I wasn’t disappointed. Some books of this type only really contain recipes for beauty, but I like Grow Your Own Drugs because it focuses on beauty as well as common ailments. The recipes are broken down according to the type of complaint: digestive disorders, skin complaints, kids, aches and pains, women’s stuff, under the weather, mind, face and body.

Recipe from Grow Your Own Drugs book

All of the recipes have clear, to the point, easy to follow instructions and a full page colour photo of the finished product. They’re also very inexpensive to make because the ingredients are those you probably already have at home (kiwi, lemon, honey, herbs, essential oils, oils).

Presentation of Grow Your Own Drugs Book

Top 100 plants

An index of the top 100 medicinal plants and their benefits broken down into fruit, vegetables, trees/shrubs, roots, herbs, flowers and leaves.

I think this is a very useful addition to the book because it gives you the knowledge to adapt the recipes for other ailments. This section also ties in nicely with the Getting Started chapter which tells you how to make infusions, macerated oils and tinctures.

Resources

A small but perfectly formed section that lists stockists (all UK based) of more specialist items. It also introduces some of the organisations undertaking medicinal plant research around the world.

Resources page of Grow Your Own Drugs Book

Conclusion

This book is a must for anyone interested in using plants to make natural remedies. As well as presenting you with recipes, it also gives you a fantastic grounding in the basic principles of herbal remedies which you can use to experiment and create your own recipes. Highly recommended!

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