40 years Terra Medica celebration

70 percent of the medicinal plants used in homoeopathic medicines are cultivated by DHU itself. Ecologically, sustainably, lovingly by hand – that’s how “Terra Medica” near Staffort has been working for 40 years. The jubilee was celebrated on 17th July with an anniversary ceremony. The guests included the mayor of Stutensee, Klaus Demal, the chairman of Staffort parish council, Ludwig-Wilhelm Heidt, representatives of local media and the press, and representatives from the Dr. Willmar Schwabe Company Group, to which DHU also belongs.

The first highlight of the festivities was the guided tour of Terra Medica with Dr. Heiko Hentrich, the director of the complex. In addition to viewing medicinal plants important for homoeopathy, such as Cimicifuga, Belladonna or Rhus toxicodendron, this time the programme included witnessing a Calendula harvest. In 1977, Calendula was in fact the first harvest to be brought in by the then 16-year-young DHU. Today, as then, harvesting is only done by sickle.

After the welcoming addresses and speeches, an oak tree was planted as a symbol of a stable and successful future for both Terra Medica and natural medicine. Incidentally, in future the tree’s acorns will also serve as a homeopathic raw material. The ensuing programme item was the unveiling of a large Terra Medica logo, which from now on will adorn one of the outer walls of the visitors’ centre.

Background information about Terra Medica:

Nineteen trained professionals work on the approx. 13-hectare site in Staffort. They cultivate, nurture and harvest up to 600 different medicinal plants. In 2017, a total harvest of 60 tonnes is expected. From March to October is our main season, but we are very busy in winter, too. In the greenhouses, seeds are obtained by hand from capsules and flower heads. In spring, up to 200,000 seedlings await transplantation into the open. The medicinal plants grow there without the use of herbicides or insecticides of any sort. Cultivating our own crops has many advantages. Harvesting can be done during the most favourable period, planning can be on a long-term basis and protected plants can be obtained in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner. And, most importantly for the users of DHU’s natural medicines: The medicinal plants come from German cultivation and are guaranteed to be of highest quality from certified organic farming.

Even during the last century, Dr. Willmar Schwabe cultivated medicinal plants himself in Leipzig. In 1946, on starting the company afresh in Karlsruhe-Durlach after the war, our own plantation was again included for the cultivation of medicinal plants. In the 70s, increasing importance was assigned to environmental protection and ecology. Our own cultivation of medicinal plants was therefore the best way of ensuring a sustainable medicinal plant supply of high environmental and quality standard.

Medicinal plant cultivation in Staffort started with a warehouse for dried medicinal plants (called herbal drugs). The surrounding area was later acquired and further property leased in order to be able to cultivate the medicinal plants on site. The areas lie well away from traffic and industry and were therefore optimally suited from an environmental point of view. In 1977, cultivation of the open spaces began; in 1989, new greenhouses for cultivation of the medicinal plants were brought into operation. Since 2007, the facilities have belonged to DHU, which was founded within the Schwabe Company Group in 1961. There has been a modern visitors’ centre since 2014, and the whole horticultural complex was christened “Terra Medica”. The motto: “See medicine growing”. Because you can, in fact, feel the pulse of nature there. Today, as you could 40 years ago.