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Science
THE MATERIAL WORLD
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Thursday 16:30-17:00
Quentin Cooper reports on developments across the sciences. Each week scientists describe their work, conveying the excitement they feel for their research projects.
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Listen to 29 December
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QUENTIN COOPER
Quentin Cooper
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Thursday 29 December 2005
Are medicinal plants safe to use?
Are medicinal plants safe to use?

Explore The Material World with the Open University 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 medicinal plants.

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 contemporary Britain.

But do we know enough about their active ingredients to make informed decisions about whether they are safe to use?

Quentin Cooper is joined by a panel of botanical and medicinal experts:
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 Agency.
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