Not all Echinaceas are the Same
Alfred Vogel’s meeting of minds with the Oglala Lakota medicine man, Black Elk, some 50 years ago helped bring one of the most amazing herbs, Echinacea purpurea (purple coneflower) to the attention of many people throughout the world.
Vogel tended Black Elk’s gift of Echinacea seeds in the organic garden at his clinic in Teufen in the north-east of Switzerland, creating a strong, healthy crop. The descendents of these plants can be seen each year in the magnificent fields of Echinacea grown in the canton of Thurgau where Bioforce, the company Alfred Vogel established in 1963, continues to grow and process his herbs using his exacting standards.
Don’t pick the flowers!
If herbs are gathered indiscriminately from the wild, as happens far too often these days, they will become endangered. This has already happened to many species of medicinally active herbs. Cultivating Echinacea purpurea means that the wild stocks are not diminished. `Check with your retailer, to ensure that the Echinacea on your shelf has not been ripped from the wild.
The effectiveness of Echinaforce Echinacea drops, a traditional herbal remedy for the symptomatic relief of colds and flu. This Echinacea tincture, which Alfred Vogel created using his purple-headed stems, was proven in a double blind placebo controlled trial (Brinkeborn 1998). It showed that the cold symptoms of people using Echinaforce decreased by 63% compared to 29% in the placebo group.
Look out for the butterflies
As Vogel was passionately concerned with the well-being of the environment and all his fellow creatures, he specified that the herbs must be grown using organic protocols, avoiding pesticides, insecticides, fungicides and chemical fertilisers. This is great for both the plants and the wildlife around them.
Get your back into it
When herbs are grown organically, harvesting is done by hand. Imagine the scene just after sunrise (when the herbs are most potent) as herb gatherers start to work amongst the dewy plants, gathering colourful armfuls to take indoors to be processed whilst they are still fresh. No wonder the end product leaves a tingle on your tongue, as it still contains all the goodness of that early morning peak.
Vogel always used fresh herbs when he could, to maximise the potency of the remedy. When herbs hang about, drying out, they lose vital ingredients and may not be as stable or as effective as their fresh counterparts. Think of the difference between fresh and dried parsley – there is no comparison in taste and potency. Vogel knew this from his years of experience treating patients in his clinic. Thanks to his foresight, you can still enjoy the benefits of his remedies, lovingly grown and carefully prepared, today.