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.

Next Up

Super Food Nerds: The Making of Sausages

See how sausages are made with this behind-the-scenes look at one of NYC's acclaimed butcher shops on Cooking Channel.

Why I Like Using a Cleaver (More Than a Knife)

Santos Loo decided to make a cleaver the main tool in his kitchen. He shares new uses and tips for making a cleaver work harder in your kitchen.

7 Fake Movie Foods You Can Actually Eat

Find fake movie foods and drinks you can buy, like Pepsi Perfect from Back to the Future Part II and Harry Potter jelly beans.

Scientists Invent New Ring-Shaped Pasta

Madcap physicists create a new ring-shaped pasta that is virtually impossible to detangle.

Creamy Corn Hushpuppies

These fried corn hush puppies are a little sweet and a little salty, and just about perfect. Get the recipe from Cooking Channel.

Watch Full Episodes

No Log-in Required

So Much Pretty Food Here