On the 5-9th of July 2016 the representatives of participants in the project Transylvanian Herb Garden made a trip to Switzerland. During the field trip organized by the Swiss Biodynamical Association, rich in programs carried out in a punctual and practical way, the group of 6 representatives visited several institutions, companies, and farms and participated at different activities where they gathered lots of everlasting experiences.
The first venue of the trip was the anthroposophy center in Arlesheim, the Goethenaum established by Mr. Rudolf Steiner, where they gained an insight into the basic theory of the biodynamical agriculture and got known the practical side of the activity while visiting the herb garden and the processing workshop. The composting process was also presented to the participants, and then they learned about producing preparations in order to improve the compost’s quality.
One processing unit of Weleda (producing natural cosmetic products) is also located in Arlesheim, where the main steps of herb processing have been presented to our colleagues. The most important point of views while producing healing cosmetics: clearness, quality, accuracy and attention.
The visit of Klinika Ltd. from Arlesheim was also included in the program. In the institution using alternative healing methods based on the theory anthroposophy while setting the treatments there is considered the individual functioning of the whole human body and at the same time they pay attention to the actual state of mind of the patient. The healing process of each patient is followed by specialist who uses the curative power of teas, extracts and medicines made of medicinal plants through local production. The enthusiast team also won an insight into the producing process of medicines.
In Lengwil they visited the educational and physiotherapeutic center of the Ekkharthof Association, which was the closest to the interest of the group in terms of its activity and mission. The center offers activities for people with mental and other disabilities, part of which is the work related to cultivation and primary process of medicinal plants. The colleagues of the institution presented their everyday activity, among them the main steps of medicinal plants’ cultivation, gathering and drying. They talked in a good mood and with enthusiasm about their everyday work, both strength and weaknesses. It was a good experience to see their problem solving ability and feel the hope that everything serves the benefit of the people if turned submissively and lovely to both nature and human.
In Kesswil, at Ceres Heilmittel Ltd. they were received by a familiar face: Mr. Raffael Stucki presented to them step-by-step the processing process, from the fresh medicinal plant to the tinctures. The visit started in the herb garden in Ceres’ yard, where Mr. Raffael Stucki showed the role of the sample garden: they follow the development phases of plants and define – based on the active substances contained – the optimal time of gathering and processing of the given plant. The participants had the opportunity to experience the main characteristics of Switzerland: accuracy, attention and pursuit of high quality. They took a view at the new production line for packaging, but Mr. Stucki emphasized several times that it substitutes only one work phase, since Ceres mostly evaluates human work.
A further step of the field trip was in the Swiss Alps, at an altitude of 1200m, in Ernen, where the activity of Bergland Produkte was presented to visitors. The Bergland Produkte is a real model of cooperation: how can 3 families work together through 27 years, and a good example for everyone finding his place in different branches by cultivating and process of medicinal plants, vegetables or fruits, husbandry and sale or touristic services. These people talked honestly about the positive and negative sides of life and explained how they exchanged the problems into solutions and into targets to serve the interests of the community, the village.
Getting higher in the Alps, in Lötschental valley, at an altitude of 1400 m our team has visited the Haggs in Ferden. The couple is made of simple, well-learned and creative people, who shared with pleasure their experience gathered in the mountains regarding cultivation and process of medicinal plants. Mrs. Sabine Hagg taught the members of the team about processing of medicinal plants. She practically presented the preparation of marigold unguent, simple drying methods, preparation of herb vinegar and oils and the participants had the opportunity to try different dishes, teas and spice mixtures made with medicinal plants.
Consequently we can say that it is worth to deal with medicinal plants, but for the success we will need lot of submissive work, qualitative community commitment and cooperation to which the biodiversity of Transylvania offers us a perfect basis.