Germany is globally reputed for its prominent modern and scientific research and technology. Other than that, it is also universally acknowledged for its longstanding tradition with herbs backed by scientific data. Back in the Middle Ages, Hildegard of Bingen, a scientist, healer and herbalist - renowned as the first woman physician of Germany, used the healing power of herbs as ancient medicine for correcting health imbalances.
With a well-established and affordable healthcare system, one might think the country has left behind its folksy herbal wisdom, when in fact herbal remedies continue to be the go-to cures in most German households.
(1) Three out of four Germans have used natural remedies, claims a heath report from the Robert Koch Institute.
Nature and herbal consciousness cuts through all generations in the country, having preserved the ancient wisdom of local medicinal and native wild herbs.
Increasingly, most Germans have taken to the benefits of alternative medicine, which in most cases is free of side effects in comparison to conventional medicine, and is recognized in Germany by school physicians and health insurances.
A large proportion of all pharmacists in Germany are also trained in natural methods like naturopathy and homeopathy, as parents particularly look for alternative medicine for their children. Because even when it comes to the use of herbal remedies, one should seek advice as certain herbs or teas can interact with other medications.
The pharmacy in German households
Pharmaceutical drugs have long exhausted patients with short term fixes.
The boom in natural methods and herbal medicine is a testament of the many deficits of conventional medicine, when conventional doctors reach their limits in the treatment of chronic diseases. A new trend has emerged here in recent years: people reach out for results-based holistic recommendations on social network groups, where they hope to find support and help.
The homeland to bread and beer also loves natural solutions with all sorts of herbal brews. Finding a herbal tea for every symptom at the pharmacy is no longer met with total surprise.
What then is an alternative approach to healing?
Ointments, teas, inhalation, poultices or baths form a vital part of the healing routine.
From herbal breakfast teas, to meals glazed with seasonal herbs and foraging for wild herbs in the forest, Germans historically have an irreplaceable knack for using herbs in varied forms.
Many traditional household remedies originate from herbal medicine, such as lavender for restlessness, anxiety and sleep disorders, or peppermint for cramping and gastrointestinal complaints. Nettle, sage, dandelion or turmeric are also used in tea infusions to alleviate several physical complaints.
Apart from having anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, the herbal agents have no side effects, are gentle on the intestinal flora and are therefore also ideal for mild infections. (Example: ginger, propolis, sage, onion, chamomile and thyme)
Medicinal herbs in cosmetics
Every one in six consumer in Germany relies on natural cosmetics.
It is not only what we consume in the form of food that is decisive, but also what enters our bodies through the skin, our largest organ. Conventional skin care products contain many harmful and sometimes carcinogenic ingredients that burden our body or skin such as synthetic fragrances, silicones or hormonally active preservatives.
Naturally, consumers are getting more conscious about clean and natural beauty that elevate their self-care. The focus is to lessen physiological damage and preserve and pamper their skin with complete natural and pure plant based ingredients that are cruelty and chemically free. The active plant ingredients are rich in anti-oxidants and support aging skin with a youthful glow, minus the side effects.
A herbal resurgence for Germany
We are still in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. It calls for a strong defense - on both a physical and psychological level. People are more aware that lifestyle has a major impact on their own health and life expectancy.
The basic attitude of routines has changed and there is more and more emphasis on "self-care". Consumers are reconnecting back to nature with concepts like indoor herbal gardens, aroma therapy rituals, community gardening and seasonal wild herb foraging.
Fitness and nutrition have become a separate focus apart from work-life, and balance has become key. Herbal supplements, organic food and natural therapies are positively becoming the new normal as the average customer heads back to the source and asks for more transparency.