BBC The Material World - Are medicinal plants safe to use?
- Use "listen again" to hear this programme on the
medicinal qualities of plants.
All through December, BBC Radio 4's weekly science
programme The Material World is broadcasting a series
of audience debates. The series is a co-production
with the Open University and is designed to support
the OU's Science in Context course, S250.
This week, Material World comes from the National
Botanic Garden of Wales, near Carmarthen, to discuss
Wales has a long history of using medicinal plants. In
mediaeval times, the Physicians of Myddfai became
skilled practitioners, and in the early fifteenth
century, they recorded many of their remedies in the
Red Book of Hergest.
As a result of our desire for 'natural' treatments,
medicinal plants continue to be popular in
But do we know enough about their active ingredients
to make informed decisions about whether they are safe
Quentin Cooper is joined by a panel of botanical and
Professor Terry Turner, pharmacist and expert on the
history of Welsh pharmacy; Professor Robert Nash,
Research Director, MNLpharma; and Dr Bob Wallis,
BioScience Sector Manager at the Welsh Development
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