Artemisia annua cultivation in the Bergische Land area.

art-text-oben-lIt has now been 14 years since i started producing herbal extracts using organic alcohol in Waldbröl (Oberbergisches Land). For the first five years, these extracts went by the name of Edelwürze (Noble Seasoning) and were made specfically for a highly acclaimed institute for kinesiology. At the time i produced extracts from only a few plants, namely wild garlic, coriander, melissa and wild teasel.

A few years ago, i was asked for annual wormwood (artemisia annua), also known as "sweet annie" by a therapist, and subsequently this was added to the collection. NB: This shouldn't be confused with artemisia vulgaris, or common mugwort. This is how the herbal liqueurs came into existence. Since then, these products have become much more sought after. In 2015, this herbal liqueur was officially approved as a foodstuff by the district government of North Rhine Westfalia, in Cologne.

At my company, Physiologika Naturprodukte, only pure, homogenous seed varieties produced by the seed propagator Dreschflegel e.V. are used. I do not allow or approve of the use of hybrid or F1 seed. After sowing the seeds in the propagator, each seedling is then transplanted into my handmade soil pellets. Two to three weeks later, the small plants are transplanted again into 10cm pots containing Bio-Potgrond (organically fertilised compost) and EM-Bokashi (the end product of the composting process, with the help of efficient micro-organisms, or EM). The 10 cm wide, 50cm deep holes for each of the thousandfold plants were drilled into the hanging garden, no mean feat considering the stony terrain of the Bergische Land!

Each hole is filled with about six litres of soil mixture (a combination of Bio-Potgrond, Terra Preta, some dung from my own small herd of goats, and once again, with EM topsoil. After this, the plants are watered only twice and are subsequently left to fend for themselves. The latest crop was harvested after budding in august 2015, and contained more than 300kg of clean, green plant material.

The principles of the founder of Anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner, and sowing dates according to Maria Thun, are adhered to, both for the sowing and the harvesting processes, as well as for maintenance measures. The water for the plants runs through a water energiser before reaching the plants (Water Evolution und VI-AQUA).

Once the harvest is brought in for storage, it is chopped into very fine pieces by a high-performance cutting unit and is put directly into high grade organic alcohol (apple-pear 3:1, from the Allgäu). Before the addition of the plant substance, the alcohol is filtered using active carbon, in order to remove its dominant aroma.

After a minimum of 28 days, on which the macerate is stirred twice daily, the mixture is ready for further processing. The pulp is separated from the alcohol and is then squeezed out using a strong, hand-operated press. After pressing, the resulting substances are added back into the mixture in equal parts. Finally, the liquid is filtered and decanted into bottles.

 

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Artemisia annua cultivation in the Bergische Land area (Germany).

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