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Grow Your Own Drugs: Easy Recipes for Natural Remedies and Beauty Fixes Hardcover – February 18, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Readers Digest (February 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606521071
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606521076
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 7.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is not only a useful book, it's a beautiful book." --Martha Stewart

"The recipes in Wong's book offer remedies for a wide range of ailments -- from sore throats to hot flashes to head lice... Wong says humans have been battling with insects for only a few thousand years. Plants, however, have been at war with insects for millions of years. 'Over that huge period, there's been time for them to evolve all sorts of unusual strategies, many of which are natural chemical weapons -- insecticides -- that exist in the environment that can be used in all manner of ways,' he says. In his recipes, Wong says he hijacks what plants have evolved for themselves, and he uses that to treat humans and animals."
--NPR's "All Things Considered"

"A provocative title - which sounds even more provocative when you realize that the author's name rhymes with bong. Bonus! But back off, dude. This is actually a guide to growing home remedies - legitimate remedies - for a variety of legitimate ailments, from athlete's foot to water retention. And Wong is an ethnobotanist who trained at the famous Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew in England and now lectures at the University of Kent. This book is based on his BBC show of the same name, which airs in Britain. Despite the garden-focused title, most of the book is made up of recipes, which means that even if you don't have a green thumb, you can still try your hand at a homemade head-lice treatment (rosemary, lavender, neem oil, almond oil, garlic and tea tree oil) or beeswax lip balm (marigold petals, almond oil, beeswax, honey, vitamin E and aloe vera gel), among many other remedies."
--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"Yes, the title does conjure up images of pot plants and basements with grow lights, but James Wong's new book is about those medicinal plants that may already be sprouting in your yard. Wong, a well-known ethnobotanist and BBC star, has compiled a list of 100 plants (and their parts) -- fruit, vegetables, trees, shrubs, roots, herbs, flowers and leaves -- that offer remedies for a plethora of disorders."
--The Oregonian
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“The recipes in Wong’s book offer remedies for a wide range of ailments — from sore throats to hot flashes to head lice…Wong says humans have been battling with insects for only a few thousand years. Plants, however, have been at war with insects for millions of years. ‘Over that huge period, there’s been time for them to evolve all sorts of unusual strategies, many of which are natural chemical weapons — insecticides — that exist in the environment that can be used in all manner of ways,’ he says. In his recipes, Wong says he hijacks what plants have evolved for themselves, and he uses that to treat humans and animals.”
––NPR’s All Things Considered

“A provocative title - which sounds even more provocative when you realize that the author's name rhymes with bong. Bonus! But back off, dude. This is actually a guide to growing home remedies - legitimate remedies - for a variety of legitimate ailments, from athlete's foot to water retention. And Wong is an ethnobotanist who trained at the famous Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew in England and now lectures at the University of Kent. This book is based on his BBC show of the same name, which airs in Britain. Despite the garden-focused title, most of the book is made up of recipes, which means that even if you don't have a green thumb, you can still try your hand at a homemade head-lice treatment (rosemary, lavender, neem oil, almond oil, garlic and tea tree oil) or beeswax lip balm (marigold petals, almond oil, beeswax, honey, vitamin E and aloe vera gel), among many other remedies.”
––Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


“Yes, the title does conjure up images of pot plants and basements with grow lights, but James Wong's new book is about those medicinal plants that may already be sprouting in your yard. Wong, a well-known ethnobotanist and BBC star, has compiled a list of 100 plants (and their parts) -- fruit, vegetables, trees, shrubs, roots, herbs, flowers and leaves -- that offer remedies for a plethora of disorders.”
––The Oregonian

More About the Author

James Wong grew up in Malaysia and Singapore. He trained at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew and gained an MSc in Ethnobotany from the University of Kent, graduating with distinction. His research has taken him to highland Ecuador, as well as to China and Java. He lectures at the University of Kent and has also co-designed and built two RHS medal-winning gardens (in 2004 as the youngest medal winner and again in 2008), which were designed to show that there is more to plants than "looking pretty."

Customer Reviews

Very useful, informative, easy to use recipes.
Mary Williams
The book is also beautiful to look through, making it more likely you will feel motivated to actually try many of the recipes.
Norma Lehmeierhartie
This is one of the best books I've seen on using natural alternatives to drugs.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Norma Lehmeierhartie VINE VOICE on March 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Grow Your Own Drugs is filled with (mostly) easy to make recipes--all from natural ingredients that are readily available. The book is also beautiful to look through, making it more likely you will feel motivated to actually try many of the recipes. The book covers beauty recipes, and recipes to make you feel better or cure what ails you.

I have been waiting for this book to be available in the States, as a friend from the UK had been raving about it.

I already use (almost) only natural/organic beauty products and drugs, but look forward to replacing some store-bought with home made. Furthermore, I cook from scratch and make most of my cleaning products from scratch. Finally, I do use essential oils and flower essences to help alter my moods and for medicinal purposes--and they work. (For example, lavender is calming, tea tree for blemishes, etc.) So, Grow Your Own Drugs this is a natural step forward for me.

I also like that the author, James Wong, is a scientists who has also studied the properties of plants around the world--this is no hobbyist! (As someone who has dabbled with the property of plants, I recognize many of the cures as those that are well established.) So, I feel comfortable will his advice and recipes.

A quick look shows me that I already have many ingredients necessary to get me started on making several recipes, including one for inflammation, sore throats and for the upcoming season--bee stings.

Highly recommend.

Author of HARMONIOUS ENVIRONMENT.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Lady Bird on March 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I'm always skeptical about home remedies, but at the same time want to use products that are locally-grown, homemade, and not infused with unnatural chemicals. So I decided to give this book a try. Not only is it GORGEOUS--the photography is really phenomenal--and not only is the author gorgeous too (and British! His BBC show is on Youtube and he's got that great accent!) but the recipes really, truly work! I made the sore throat recipe and found it instantly soothing. And for fun I tried out the bath bomb, which was much simpler than I thought it would be and worth it for the nice soak!

Would recommend in a heartbeat to anyone who wants to take care of their body the natural way.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Ms. H. Tooth on January 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
My mum gifted me this book and A Year with James Wong, as she enjoyed the series n thought it would be right up my street, which indeed it is. It is full of colour and very visually pleasing to the eye but I cant help that feel it was written for the authors fan club, as it includes no fewer than 15 full page colour shots of himself...I'm sure he's a lovely guy but personally I would prefer more step by step pics of preparing the recipes (with explanatory notes!)...or else more recipes!
This book is full of very nice ideas, but not all of the recipes are simple! I live on a farm in Central Portugal and have a lot of established aromatic herbs, nettle patches, medicinal herbs and flowers, shrubs softfruit and trees..including pine and eucalyptus trees, but even so only a half dozen or so of these recipes would i be able to make immediately, and some of the combinations of ingredients are not seasonally compatible.
I think Wong could mention for a lot of the recipes that they can be simplified, and that the glycerine etc is not entirely necessary if you just want to use beeswax and make a salve rather than gel. I'm not entirely sold on adding white soap, gelatine or vitamin C powder either, but have the knowledge to make my own adaptions.
I like the top 100 plant section at the back of the book, which makes this book worth having for the beginner, but as another reviewer pointed out the contra indications of the herbs are rather overglossed. Hops for example can have the opposite of the desired sedative effect on the insomniac...individual herbs do have a very specific effect on each individual person, so use with caution!! I would never make such a potent mix as his headlice lotion for my little ones hair...
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Laura Covell on April 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
God gave us everything we need for health maintenance and healing (for the most part) and this book spells out the most beneficial herbs and plants, identifying them, and how to utilize them. Lots of great recipes for everything from lip balm to athlete's foot remedy. It's a great read - I did it in about 2 hours. Highly recommended!
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19 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Erin K. Simons on April 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The first thing I need to say about Grow Your Own Drugs is that this book is gorgeous. Page after page is filled with beauty shots of herbs and other close-up, photographic plant porn. (And incidentally, there are also some great shots of author James Wong, who's not too hard on the eyes, either.)

The name may raise eyebrows, but Grow Your Own Drugs is actually a no-nonsense home reference guide of natural, herb- and plant-based home remedies and beauty treatments. I love that Wong includes a list to help newbies like me set up shop for home remedy making, including stock items needed for many of the recipes.

But that aside, I don't know how well making most of Wong's remedies would work in my lifestyle. Number one, many of the recipes require ingredients that might be hard to find and pricey if you don't grow them yourself. The time to make some of the recipes also seems prohibitive for a working mom, but if you're dedicated to a holistic, organic lifestyle, I imagine you'll find the time.

One final thing I have to point out, though: a lot of the remedies call for vodka to make tinctures or popsicles, etc. The idea is that you steep or distill therepeutic herbs in the alcohol, and yes, many cough syrups today still have alcohol as a main ingredient. But really? One of the cold remedies was basically echinecea steeped in vodka, and the directions recommended ingesting several small cupfulls every few hours. Yes, I imagine that would distract me from my cold symptoms and make me feel quite a bit better. ;-)
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