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on 10 March 2009
I have suffered with eczema for years and have used every moisturing/steroid cream I can get my hands on. I've also been highly sceptical of so-called "natural" remedies (though, come to think of it I always drink peppermint tea for indigestion...) - but my friend bought my this book and I decided to give James Wong's viola cream a go - with the help of said friend and a local garden centre. I've now been using it for about two weeks - it hasn't totally 'cured' it, but it's definitely a lot better. And cheaper! I really couldn't believe it - I have to admit that I've been proved wrong. I know there is a lot of cynicism around alternative therapies like this but you have nothing to lose by trying it out - and it's a really beautiful book anyway!
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VINE VOICEon 10 March 2009
I bought this book after seeing the first BBC programme primarily becuse I have a large garden and am in the midst of revamping it entirely. So, thank you, Mr. Wong, I now have orderded (and received) for example, a Goji berry shrub. We have elder trees by the hundred around us so I look forward to the home-made lozenges in due course! Frankly, this is a book (and a series) which opens the mind to the beneficial effects of local natural plants. It's not a cure-all and should not be treated as such. I don't suffer from insomnia so I guess I won't try the hops pillow but there's plenty to go at elsewhere and I thoroughly recommend the book - with a caveat: do your own research before trying out these ideas. There's plenty of follow-up information on the net so don't shoot the messenger but do buy the book. He seems such an enthusiastic and pleasant person, anyway!
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on 4 March 2009
Wow, I saw the TV show and could not resist buying the book. I hate taking drugs for my insomnia .. I tried the natural remedy prescribed by James in his book and I had the best night ever. This will be a reference book for all my family's ailments. If it cured my insomnia who knows what else it might do ! The book is so enjoyable and easy.
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on 23 June 2009
I have just come across this book, as a general nurse have seen the damage 'Western medicine' can do! We treat patients with chemicals then more chemicals to cure the side effects from the first one! Constant use is detrimental to the body's immune system and they don't always work! So for years have been looking in to more natural remedies to prevent as well as treat illness. As well as the fact that eating healthily can prevent the need to be treated in the first place. I have some knowledge of foods which can help heal- like papaya kills thread worms, licorice puts up low blood pressure, rosemary can help with migraines... but this book is fantastic! Couldn't put it down and have just brought a huge amount of herbs and other plants.
I never have really needed to visit a Doctor myself as I am a really healthy eater-active person but over the years become my friends advisor to all ailments they have come across. I am so sure this book will be used on a weekly basis for this.
As for beauty products, I never understood why people spend a fortune on a bunch of chemicals which increase this risk of cancer!?! Save your money and either make your own or rely on a healthy diet to help with this, (Blue berry's can help prevent wrinkles!)
To any one thinking of buying this book DO SO! It is one of the best buys I have ever made in my life and I have a library with over 1000 books in my home.
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on 5 July 2009
I bought this book to use with my 5 year old son after we watched a couple of episodes of James Wong's TV show. It is a beautifully presented book with gorgeous photos, with a nice variety of different herbs etc used, different types of products made, and almost entirely easily available ingredients. But I did find the instructions very basic and vague at times - two different methods are given for making a salve, for example, and only one really realiably works, and there wasn't a lot of explanation for why the plants work and why the different methods are used. It is a great book for someone who wants to "play with plants" but if you want to be more serious or have any experience with making your own medicines, you will maybe want something different in my opinion
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on 7 March 2009
I've always been interested in the nutritional qualities of different foods and how important they are to your health and wellbeing and this book takes that a step further. It's amazing the properties that some plants have! With things like eczema where I've long been wary of over-using standard medication, especially steroids, it's really exciting to read about alternatives. I'm not sure I'll be trying everything out in practice, but the book is a really good, interesting read. It's so nicely laid out and full of beautiful, fresh photos - one of those books that's just really lovely to pick up and have a flick through.
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on 7 April 2009
This is a really interesting book that I am sure will encourage people to try natural remedies for themselves. It had that effect on me. Previously I have bought herbal teas from shops but this has given me the confidence to try making them myself. I am looking forward to getting all the ingredients I need to whip up the creams, lotions, tinctures, etc. It has inspired me to try some of these native wildflowers in my garden and I went straight to the online seed catalogues.
The book is very well presented in an easy to read format. The pictures are beautiful, although I can see that some people might get irritated by the James Wong eye candy snaps; didn't bother me though! The recipes are well set out and very easy to follow.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in natural remedies or gardening.
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on 9 March 2009
I bought this because I was intrigued by the programme - more because I seem to have a lot of allergies to harsh chemical products, rather than any green-fingered tendencies. It's a lovely-looking book - the proof will be in the pudding when I whip up more of the remedies, but the lemon balm lip salve has been a great start.
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on 14 April 2009
I thouraghly enjoyed this book, well worth the price.


1) Easy to get ingredients
2) East to prepare recepies
3) Easy to read format
4) Overall nice "feel" to the book.



1) Only every second page is a recepie
2) There really arent enough contra-indications, for example the "hops" debate in the earlier reviews of this book.

The author does go to great pains to say that you should always check with your doctor, but a handy list of contra indications for each recepie/treatment is really called for.

Granted, anyone trying any new medicine should fuly research the full background before trying new treatments willy-nilly, and that is their own responsibility, but given that people are inheritantly lazy/stupid, the author should have done more to make people clearly realise the possible dangers.

All in all, a good book. Well worth a purchase, and I will certainly be using a lot of the recepies given. Id call it inspiring and think that a lot of people will find themselves looking for alternatives to pharmaceuticals". Hope that there is a second series on TV.
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Some of the reviews for this book imply that the author's advice is great in theory, but no good in practice, because it is impossible to purchase or find some of the ingredients mentioned.

I disagree with that!

I bought this book, because despite my best efforts, I missed the series. Having heard several acquaintances talk about it, I bought the book as a compromise. Quite rightly, the blurb points out that this book might have the answer to several common ailments, and it could be argued that the remedies have a distinct "old wives' tale" flavour to them. However, the fact remains that it is a selection of relatively easy to produce recipes.

The book goes through the basics: how to grow your own, and how to forage, without depleting the local environment, along with covering a quite extensive list of "useful kit". There is a list of herbal suppliers in the back of the book, coupled with a reasonable glossary of the top 100 plants to assist in finding some of the ingredients whilst out and about.

That said, I would still suggest using this book in combination with something like Bartram's Encyclopaedia of Herbal Medicine, to be aware of the potential contraindications for a remedy, and a really good plant identifier e.g. Press & Gibbons "Wild Flowers of Britain and Europe". Also, there is a reason for the amount of training medical professionals undergo, whether in conventional medicine or to become a licensed herbal practitioner.

Some of the recipes are just great, my particular favourite being 'Valerian Hot Chocolate', which has the note, "even if you don't have valerian or lemon balm ... you will still enjoy it.". I also like the fact that there are options for some ingredients that may be difficult to find, e.g. using vodka instead of the usual absolute alcohol to make up the deodorant spray.

My one criticism of this book is that there are several illustrations which seem to serve little purpose, other than being photo opportunities for the author. There are a couple of illustrations which appear to be of recipes or ingredients from the preceding pages, but there is no indication as to whether they really are, and if they are, what they are illustrating.

Overall, I would describe this book as an easy to read addition to an existing library. I would not suggest it as a book for a complete novice, and nor would I suggest it as a substitute for consulting a professional (and no, I am not a herbal practitioner myself!).
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