Grow Your Own Drugs

Eeek! Not something you’d expect from a person who has never taken a recreational drug in her life, apart from alcohol. Today, though, I am making one great exception. I plan to promote a book by that name. I will not receive any royalties or drug money for the promotion – just satisfaction that I have pointed you in the direction of really good information.

Now having got your attention, I will confess. This book, by ethnobotanist James Wong, is a book about using plants for medicine.

Plants “are the basis of a large part of our (commercial) medicine, with up to 50% of the world’s top proprietary drugs being originally derived from natural sources,” points out James. Brought up in Malaysia watching his grandmother using plants in health concoctions, James sees plants as “warehouses of infinite possibility”. In Grow Your Own Drugs: Easy recipes for natural remedies, he takes us through a wide variety of natural medicinal uses for common-to-garden varieties.

Return to natural

When it’s put like that, the return to using natural remedies makes total sense. Instead of pharmaceutical companies making millions from putting a natural plant property into a pill, we can go out into our garden and pick a few leaves or flowers and brew a tea for what ails us. The issue is that the knowledge of plants and their properties has become so protected and so subject to testing behind the laboratory doors of pharmaceutical companies, we’ve forgotten what to use for what.

Grow Your Own Drugs” blends the knowledge of herbalists with up-to-date scientific facts, and provides a list of 100 Top Plants to grow. And if you can’t grow them all, you may be able to find the essential oils and dried herbs at health food shops. James is quite clear about the role of your GP in diagnosis of any illness or disease, and views the remedies and recipes in the book as complementary to conventional medicine in treating everyday ailments.

My joy at finding this Kindle eBook is that I have not only found a list of useful plants to go in the herb garden, I have also found a list of useful household products I will need to make the lotions and potions.

Looking through James’ Top 10, I find I need to add Echinacea to my list – a plant I knew nothing about, but which turns out to a very pretty daisy-like plant. A particularly interesting description of Echinacea I found on Patty’s Feel Good Teas page. (No I don’t hold shares! I just appreciated the research repeated here.)

I’m also keen to grow some ginger. This will be a windowsill or hothouse plant because it is used to growing in warmer climates than ours. But that will be part of the Herb Garden adventure.