The Nature Doctor
In 1923, Alfred Vogel established a health store in Basel, Switzerland to share the healing power of herbs, about which he had learned from his parents and grandparents, with all those who crossed his threshold. His greatest desire was to help people stay healthy and so he asked them to examine their lifestyles and diet, rather than simply seek a remedy when something ailed.
For those who could not get better by these changes alone, he worked patiently to create suitable herbal medicines which would bring the benefit of the whole fresh plant to those who sought his aid, painstakingly developing his own unique range of fresh herb tinctures. Having moved in the early 1930s to Teufen in the Appenzell region of Switzerland, where he was able to practice as a naturopath, he cultivated his extensive gardens there, always following his precept of working in harmony with nature. His plants were grown and cared for without the use of any artificial fertilisers or insecticides, hand sown, hand weeded and hand harvested to ensure the gentlest of environments for his herbs.
His reputation grew during the 1940s and his tireless work continued, learning about and working with many native European plants.
Realising that native peoples throughout the world had accumulated knowledge about plants native to their homelands, in the 1950s he began to travel extensively seeking further answers to his patients’ problems – answers which still work for us today.
One country Vogel visited was the USA from where he returned with Echinacea purpurea seeds which he painstakingly cultivated at his home in Teufen and in the Alpine region of the Engadine.
In November 1962 he wrote about his work with these plants.
“I have now raised Echinacea in the Engadine and have acclimatised it slowly, because it has gradually to become accustomed to the long, hard winter. In Teufen too, I have an Echinacea plantation which I have raised from seed. Five years ago, I tried my luck in Engadine with about one hundred plants. About fifty withstood the first winter and developed in a mediocre way because they did not come into bloom before the cold weather once again set in. For three years the plants fought against the cold weather until finally, in the fourth year, the strongest amongst them managed to produce a few flowers. At the time I increased the plants by dividing them so as to raise the annual production. At the beginning of September, in the fifth year, almost 90% of the plantation came into flower so assuring me that they had become accustomed to the climate as well as to the cultivation period.”
“Echinacea purpurea has been treasured by the Native Americans for centuries, not simply for its beauty but because of its exceptional healing powers. When we consult a medicine man about an inflamed, slow healing wound or a malignant boil, he gathers the Echinacea leaves, crushes them and applies them to the affected area. We are also invited to eat it to obtain quick healing both internally and externally.”