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Grow Your Own Drugs

Updated on September 11, 2014

Make your own herbal remedies

I watched the BBC program, "Grow Your Own Drugs" presented by James Wong and found it to be utterly fascinating. Of course, when I found out the BBC had released a book to go along with the series, I had to get it as well.

I have a strong interest in herbal remedies and alternative healing methods. This book presents remedies simply, using ingredients that people probably already have growing in their own garden or have stocked in their larder.

Make your own simple home remedies using plants you can find growing in your own back yard.

James Wong on Richard & Judy - The Magic Plants of Harry Potter

James Wong can be seen on an episode of UK program "Richard & Judy" discussing the magic plants found in the Harry Potter books.

Grow Your Own Drugs
Grow Your Own Drugs

James Wong presented a very good and informative BBC program on herbs and simple ways to use them, and you don't need a degree in botony or a whole list of impossible to find herbs or equipment.

He has shown very clearly that herbal preparations are easily made and easily used, from plants that many people already have growing in their own back garden.


Unleash the power of plants and soothe the symptoms of everyday ailments the natural way.


Medicinal Herbs Poster

24 in. x 36 in.

James Wong's Top 10 Superstar Patch

10 plants that are as versatile as they are effective

  • Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) - soothes indigestion and colic, eases tension, and is good for skin irritations.
  • Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia) boosts the immune system, and lessens the severity of colds and flu.
  • Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) calms and relaxes, eases pain, and is antiseptic for cuts and bruises.
  • Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) soothes nervous tension and anxiety, promotes sleep, and is good for cold sores.
  • Marigold (Calendula officinalis) good for sunburn, and for acne and spots, soothes ulers and digestive problems.
  • Peppermint(Mentha piperita) good for digestion, wind, and headaches.
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) helps memory and concentration, improves mood, sweetens breath.
  • Sage (Salvia officinalis) for coughs, colds, and congestion, hot flushes.
  • St John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) anti-depressant and promotes skin healing
  • Viola (Viola tricolor) anti-inflammatory, good for eczema and skin eruptions, and loosens phlegm.

Beauty Remedy

Kiwi and Papaya Face Mask


  • 1 Kiwi Fruit
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 papaya
  • 2 sachets vegetable gelatine


1. Mash the kiwi fruit through a sieve into a bowl. Add the lime juice to the kiwi mixture.

2. Scoop the seeds from the papaya, and mash the flesh on a chopping board using a fork (this makes it slightly easier to press through a sieve). Press the papaya through a sieve into a separate bowl and mix with the vegetable gelative using a fork.

3. Put the bowl with the papaya mixture over a saucepan of boiling water and stir constantly until it forms a wallpaper-paste consistency. Take off immediately and continue to stir. Add the kiwi fruit juice slowly, bit by bit, stirring all the time. Leave to cool.


When cool or lukewarm, apply the gel to face, avoiding the eye area, and leave for 10 minutes to 1 hour. Wash off with warm water.


Most effective when used as soon as possible. Keeps in the fridge for up to 48 hours.


Viola and Chamomile Cream

Makes one 150 ml pot


  • 2 tbsp (20gm) viola flowers, stripped from their stems
  • 2 tbsp (20 gm) Roman or German chamomile, dried
  • 250 ml freshly boiled water
  • 1 tsp beeswax
  • 2 tbsp almond oil
  • 1 tsp vitamin C powder
  • 1 tsp glycerine
  • 2 tsp emulsifying wax


1. Place the violas and chamomile flowers in a glass bowl. Pour over the water to cover. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Put the infusion into a medium-sized pan (this will form the bottom of your double boiler or bain-marie).

2. In another glass bowl, add the beeswax, almond oil, vitamin C powder, glycerine and emulsyfying wax. Place on top of the infusion pan, and warm over a gentle heat, stirring until melted. This takes about 10 minutes.

3. Strain the infusion, then slowly whisk it into the oil mixture until incorporated - the texture should be smooth, like mayonnaise.

4. Pour the mixture into a sterilized dark glass ointment pot, then seal.


Apply to affected areas morning and night. Ideally, apply within a few minutes of bathing, to keep the moisture in the skin.


Keeps for up to 6 months in the refrigerator.

Home Larder

A few extra ingredients to keep on hand.

Most things that you will need to make your own herbal preparations will already be in your kitchen. However, if you want to make creams, balms, and lotions there are a few other ingredients you'll need to have on hand.

  • Beeswax and Emulsifying wax
  • Essential oils
  • Gelatine
  • Glycerine
  • Oils
  • Vitamin C powder


Valerian Hot Chocolate


  • 3 tablespoons fresh or dried valerian root
  • 3 tablespoons lemon balm leaves, better fresh
  • 3 tsp fresh lavender flowers
  • 6 leaves and 3 heads from fresh passion flowers
  • peel of 1 1/2 oranges
  • 900 ml full-fat milk (it's better for you than fat-free and makes the hot chocolate nicer)
  • 50 grams dark chocolate (minimum 50% coco solids)
  • dash of vanilla extract


Chop the top and bottom from the fresh valerian root. Add the valerian, lemon balm, lavender, passion flowers, orange peel, and milk to a pan and gently heat for 5- 10 minutes. Strain.

Pour the infused milk back in the the pan, then add the dark chocolate and vanilla extract and stir until melted. Drink at once.

Or save in a flask and drink throughout the day.

Makes 3 cups

Foraging Rules

Guidelines to be followed when harvesting your own plants from the wild

  • Don't pick something unless you are absolutely sure what it is.

    Take a well-illustrated field guide with you to identify plants.

  • Don't pick from besides busy roads or on agricultural land

    The plants are likely to be polluted or sprayed with pesticides and chemical fertilizers.

  • Don't pick plants that look diseased or stunted

    You want the healthiest specimens you can find

  • Harvest only as much as you will use

    Don't take more than half the leaves, fruit, or stems of any plant. Always leave enough for wildlife to eat and to ensure future plant generations.

  • Check with the local landowner before you dig up roots.

    You have a legal obligation to get the owner's permission before being on their property as well

  • Don't dig up roots unless it is a prolific plant

    Don't harvest too many roots in one area either.

  • Never pick a rare or endangered species

    Check with your local horticulture society.

Head lice

Neem nit treatment


  • 20 tbsp (approx 100gm) fresh rosemary leaves
  • 20 tbsp (approx 25g) fresh lavender flowers
  • 200ml neem oil
  • 200ml almond oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp tea tree oil


1. Strip the rosemary leaves and lavender flowers from their sprigs.

2. Combine the neem and almond oil together in a measuring jug.

3. Crush half the rosemary and lavender with a little of the oil, to help ease the crushing process. Place the mashed up herbs in a saucepan. Repeat with the second half of the rosemary and lavender, again adding a little oil for crushing.

4. Place the crushed herbs, neem and almond oil in the pan, and add the chopped garlic. Heat gently for about 20 minutes.

5. Strain through a sieve lined with muslin. Add the tea tree oil to the reserved oil, stir, then filter into a sterilized 500ml bottle.


If using immediately, apply to dry hair, making sure that the hair is completely covered and that the oil penetrates to the scalp. Cover with a towel and leave on for at least 1 hour, or overnight if possible. Then wash off with two applications of shampoo. Apply conditioner, and comb through with a nit comb. Use the next application 7 days later, to deal with any nits that may hatch during that time. Comb through with the nit comb every 3 days.


Keeps for 6 months.

Are you interested in making your own herbal remedies?

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    • hartworks lm profile image

      hartworks lm 

      7 years ago

      Amusing title! I can vouch for lemon balm, very easy to grow, lovely lemon scent, and relaxing. Bought some seeds last winter and started it in my greenhouse, where many soothing cups later, it is still taking up too much space!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I loved this series when it was on tv, glad to find a list of all his remidies!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great list of healing herbs to grow this summer, many thanks.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I use herbs for everything... :) Thanks for this great lens!

    • EmmaCooper LM profile image

      EmmaCooper LM 

      7 years ago

      I loved the tv show - thanks for the lens :

    • BusyQueen profile image


      8 years ago

      Great lens about herbal remedies NanLT.

    • RHLiving profile image


      8 years ago

      Love your lens. Loved the Harry Potter video link! Keep up the great work!

    • sulcatamandy profile image


      8 years ago from Montana

      great lens on herbal remedies. I suffer from anxiety and I cannot wait to try out the hot chocolate recipe!

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 

      9 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      A top notch lens from you again, but what else would it be given the calibre of your work. Blessed by a Squid Angel today. ( )

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 

      9 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      fantastic! lensrolling to my top 10 immune system boosters

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thanks so much for the lens. Very informative.

    • papawu profile image


      9 years ago

      Unfortunately, I tried herbal healing many years ago for my cancer and it didn't work. I had to take the chemo and surgery route. However, I do believe in the healing power of natural herbs for more of the garden variety ailments. Wonderfully done, but you forgot about the cannabis. Just kidding. Great lens.

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 

      9 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      Well done! Love the intriguing lens title, too. :)

    • Nochipra profile image


      9 years ago

      Great info! Very interesting! Thanks

    • wordsmithen profile image


      9 years ago

      Compelling information. Thank you for an interesting lens! :)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      What an interesting concept -- to grown your own drugs! I love the information you have presented -- we can all learn something here!

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 

      9 years ago from Canada

      Interesting & well done & blessed by an Angel today!


    • chefkeem profile image

      Achim Thiemermann 

      9 years ago from Austin, Texas

      Very useful info on this lens! 5*s and a SquidAngel Blessing for you. :-)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      managed at last to sign into my squid and so can leave you a message!

      love your writing !

      love teen xx

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thanks for joining G Rated Lense Factory!


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