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Grow Your Own Drugs and Medicines

Backyard Biotech

We are thrilled with the signing of the landmark healthcare reform bill yesterday. The fight was brutal and those opposed to the new law are still actively seeking to hinder it in any way possible. We would like to ask…did any of the following pass without opposition?

  • Emancipation Proclamation by Lincoln
  • Women’s suffrage by Wilson
  • Lend/Lease by FDR
  • Desegregation of the military by Truman
  • Civil Rights Act by Johnson

Who would stand against these today?

Regardless of how people feel about the new law, staying healthy is probably one of the items on most people’s top-ten list. There are many ways to approach that goal: eat properly, exercise appropriately, and have regular medical checkups. When we do get sick, today’s pharmaceuticals have a cure for many of the the things  that in previous genenerations would have caused our demise. There are also things we can do for ourselves when we have some of the more common conditions like acne, anxiety, cold sores, and general aches and pains.

Herbs and plants have been used for thousands of years to treat common ailments. The common view is that plant-based remedies are natural, inexpensive, and less harmful to the body than manufactured drugs. Plants have provided Western medicine with some of its most effective drugs: penicillin, morphine, aspirin. Of course, there are plenty of plant-based “treatments” that are poisonous, do not do much of anything, or are just plain useless. The same can be said of some pharmaceuticals. The key is knowledge of what is effective and why.

James Wong, a 27-year-old ethnobotanist, believes that safe, natural remedies can be made from the everyday plants we can grow in our own garden. Grow Your Own Drugs: Easy recipes for natural remedies and beauty fixes,  is a book which shows how we can growmakepreparations, and use plants to soothe the symtoms of everyday ailments the natural way.

The second bookA Year With James Wong, has 100 new remedies, a seasonal guide and planner, and foraging tips. The planner takes the reader through from Spring to Winter, advising on what and when to plant, the best time to harvest, and how to create a mini-apothecary at home.

Both books (GYODGYOD+) help interested readers navigate the old wives’ tales, look beyond the aesthetics, and to see plants as sources of medicine. The books are informative, beautifully photographed, and are wonderful additions to any library. We will try many of the recipes, adding some of the plants to our garden, and report back on how they perform as part of our Backyard Biotech series.

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