James Wong

Learn more about James Wong, the host of Grow Your Own Drugs.

James Wong's Grow Your Own Drugs Christmas Special. Photo by Alex Maguire

James Wong's Grow Your Own Drugs Christmas Special. Photo by Alex Maguire

James is an ethnobotanist — in simple terms, he is a scientist who studies how people use plants. In his first prime-time show, Grow Your Own Drugs, James cooks up homemade herbal remedies, offering an alternative to over-the-counter medicines for a variety of common ailments as well as some great beauty fixes to make you feel fabulous. James has two best-selling books, Grow Your Own Drugs and A Year with James Wong. He joined BBC1’s Countryfile team when the show moved to its new Sunday evening slot in April 2009 and he has presented films on extreme tree hunting, guerilla gardening, mistletoe auctions and everything in between. In 2008, James was one of BBC4/2’s Fossil Detectives where he traveled around the United Kingdom in search of plant fossils like amber and jet to help unlock the secrets of our past, and also appeared on Gardeners’ World, the Chelsea Flower Show coverage, Channel 4’s Richard & Judy, The Alan Titchmarsh Show on ITV and BBC Breakfast.

James is half Malaysian; he was born in Singapore to an indigenous Iban father and English mother. He spent most of his childhood in the jungles of Borneo and other parts of Southeast Asia. His grandmother, an eccentric indigenous woman, used to teach him about traditional medicines and this is where James’ passion for plants originated — a passion that would see him travel the world in search of new plants and their fascinating uses. From incredible edibles to medicinal marvels, from harnessing the power of plants to help overcome civilizations’ great threats to learning lessons from the diet of the Stone Age man, James sees plants as much more than greenery for your garden.

James was trained to a master’s level at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, and graduated with distinction. He went on to work at BGCI, the world’s largest plant conservation network. His work involved educating and raising awareness by transforming information from botanical journals into engaging and relevant stories for the press, education projects and conferences, as well as contributing to scientific journals. He has also worked as a freelance ethnobotanical consultant, advising companies and organizations about useful plants and their applications.

James lives in London and speaks English, Spanish and Mandarin. Destined to bring new life to an old genre, his raw passion and untamable sense of adventure are infectious. James is a unique blend of explorer, anthropologist, gardener and, always, ethnobotanical adventurer.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Learn the Hole Truth About Bagels on the Food: Fact or Fiction? Premiere

Watch the Food: Fact or Fiction? Season 2 premiere online now for free with host Michael McKean.

How to Make Your Own Hot Sauce

Five ingredients are all that are needed to make a flavorful, almost shockingly red sauce that stands up to the stuff in the bottle.

Easy Rhubarb-Cherry Pie

Learn how to make an easy rhubarb pie with this recipe and step-by-step instructions from Cooking Channel.

Super Food Nerds: How to Make Gravlax

Learn how to make your own Swedish gravlax with this step-by-step how-to from Cooking Channel's Super Food Nerds.

Super Food Nerds: Make Your Own Sauerkraut

Make sauerkraut from scratch with this recipe and cooking tips from Cooking Channel.

Meet the Lab Assistants

What qualifies these individuals to decide the right and wrong way to eat besides decades of focused trial and error?

On TV

Donut Showdown

7:30am | 6:30c

Donut Showdown

8:30am | 7:30c

Sugar Showdown

9:30am | 8:30c

Sugar Showdown

10:30am | 9:30c

Unique Sweets

11am | 10c

Unique Sweets

11:30am | 10:30c

Unique Sweets

12pm | 11c

Unique Sweets

12:30pm | 11:30c

Unique Sweets

1pm | 12c

Unique Sweets

1:30pm | 12:30c

Good Eats

2pm | 1c

Good Eats

2:30pm | 1:30c

Unwrapped

3pm | 2c

Cake Wars

5pm | 4c

Cake Wars

6pm | 5c

Cake Wars

7pm | 6c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Cake Wars

8pm | 7c

Cake Wars

9pm | 8c

Cake Wars

10pm | 9c

Extreme Cake Makers

11:30pm | 10:30c

Cake Wars

12am | 11c

Cake Wars

1am | 12c

Cake Wars

2am | 1c

Extreme Cake Makers

3:30am | 2:30c
What's Hot
What's Hot

The Best Thing I Ever Ate

New Episodes Mondays 8|7c

So Much Pretty Food Here