Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a world famous centre for botanical and mycological knowledge. Over the past 250 years Kew has made innumerable contributions to increasing the understanding of plants and fungi with many benefits for humankind.
Jason Irving is a writer, forager and qualified herbalist. He works at Kew Gardens on the Medicinal Plant Names Services project, developing and promoting a global resource for plant names. His passion for plants was sparked during the two years he spent working for the UK's leading supplier of wild foods, Forager Ltd. Over the last five years Jason has taught hundreds of people how to find, identify and use wild plants on his popular foraging and herbal medicine courses in London. His essay on the history of cocktail bitters was included in the book Kew's Teas, Tonics and Tipples and he was botanical consultant for the book Edible City by John Rensten.
Dr Melanie-Jayne Howes is a registered pharmacist and Chartered Chemist. She obtained a PhD in pharmacognosy prior to her appointment as a phytochemist at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Her research has focused on investigating the scientific basis for the uses of plants, particularly those used as medicines and for human health. She also leads research on the chemical authentication of plants at Kew, using different techniques in analytical chemistry. She has written numerous scientific publications on the medicinal uses of plants and their constituents, and on their analysis. Dr Howes is also Visiting Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, King's College London, and is a Member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry.