I've just returned from Switzerland where I visited Alfred Vogels of A. Vogel, home and residential clinic in Teufen and Bioforce Plant in Roggwil. It is here that he discovered that the action of fresh plants have better health benefits than dry. He believed nature offers us everything that we need to help us maintain our wellbeing. At Hätschen in Teufen he had clients stay with him for a period of time learning about the importance of sleep, sunshine, water, whole foods, exercise and medicinal plants. He would send them out hill walking to improve fitness and believe me when I say this; those Swiss hills were a big challenge. There they would pick vegetables and salads for their meals, and he would select the correct herbs from his garden and make their own unique herbal remedy. At meal times everyone would sit together taking a few hours over meals chatting about their day however no problems were discussed at the dinner table as to allow proper digestion of food, for overall health and wellbeing. Today's A. Vogel Echinaforce comes from the seeds gifted by Black Elk. The workshops there are as they were when he worked in them; one that stood out to me was a copper drum to mix seeds, frangula and senna to make Linforce. The same model is used in the Bioforce plant. We went into the gardens to choose and pick fresh Echinacea, which we weighed, finely chopped, ground it to a pulp (it took a lot of elbow grease) but the result smelt beautiful and mouth-watering, added organic alcohol, mixed and poured it through filter paper into a bottle, the result been our own fresh Echinacea tincture.
Remo Vetter an organic agriculture expert and protégé of Dr. Vogel, along with his wife Frances gave us the tour of the gardens and house explaining the importance of Organic farming and recycling. I found it strange that the plants are not watered at all, the roots of each plant goes deeper in the soil absorbing the minerals that are deep within the earth. We built houses for the earwigs; terracotta flower pots filled with straw and popped on a stick and into the ground. We also got to plant kale, it was all hands on deck and it was marvelous.
In 1963 Alfred Vogel founded Bioforce AG in Roggwil, where our precious Herbal remedies are grown cultivated and produced. The plants are left in the soil until the optimum harvesting time to enable them to develop their full healing powers. Plants are cut with great care, usually starting at sunrise; the time when they contain the highest levels of active substances and the freshly harvested plants are prepared immediately. We saw three fields of beautiful Echinacea at different stages of growth.
Overall this was a trip of a lifetime, opening my eyes to how we live, eat, garden and use the resources Mother Earth has kindly given us. From eating directly from the ground to making our own Echinacea tincture Im still in awe of the whole experience. Thanks to Wholefoods Wholesale and A. Vogel UK for this experience and especially to Evergreen Healthfoods for the time off to go.