Drugs on the tube

I’ve been alerted to the existence of a new television series from the BBC of definite agrobiodiversity interest, called “Grow your own drugs.” It is presented by James Wong, a young ethnobotanist who trained at Kew and now lectures at Kent University. There’s a book that goes with the series. James “passionately believes that safe, natural remedies can be made from the everyday plants you find in hedgerows, the back garden or local garden centres.”

”Nowadays we think of plants as pretty objects, as soft furnishings in an outdoor room,” he says. “But just two generations ago they were your hardware store and chemist all rolled into one.” In Malaysia, where Wong grew up, everyone treated themselves with natural remedies. Food, too, was used as medicine – not only herbs, but ginger, chilli and garlic to ward off the symptoms of a cold. “My grandmother had a tiny patch of garden,” says Wong, “which to anyone else would just look like a bunch of flowers, but she could make soup, or a face pack, or something to treat insect bites, in a matter of minutes. It was magical – real Harry Potter stuff.”

Sounds intriguing. Has anyone seen it? Drop us a line. And thanks to Tom for the tip.

LATER: Of course, traditional medicine is going mainstream in some places.

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