Because of its typical mountain climate, excellent soil rich in mineral nutrients, the flora of the Thuringian Herb Garden is rich in curative plants, forest and meadow herbs. The mountain meadows still bloom in their original colourful brilliance. Every year, around the time of the Feast of St. John, arnica colours the fields with its rich yellow and wafts its pleasant fragrance.
Pussy willows, Wild Camomile, dandelions and other medicinal herbs were in rich abundance. The forest was also rich in berries, roots, barks, the raw materials used by the forest dwellers in the production of their medicinals, called essential oils. Long before the production of these oils and ointments were governmentally regulated activities, the herbalists made "burned water" from berries and forest herbs. They cooked sauce from juniper berries, then used the tar from the carbonized wood as an ointment for rashes; they used the resin and pitch as cure-alls and produced the highly regarded "Mountain Oil" by a process of dry distillation of juniper twigs, and pieces of fir, pine, oak and birch trees. Thus they laid the groundwork for the oils trade which would have its base in the Thuringian Herb Garden for centuries.
In smoky laboratories, spirits, colognes, balms, pills, polstices, tinctures and extracts were created in mysterious ways, as the recipes were handed down father to son. In producing these herbal products, aromatic oils played an important role; in them were concentrated the healing properties of aromatic plants. With the help of steam vapor distillation and with the addition of fatty oils and spirits, they were turned into curative medicinals.
Many tasty spirits were produced too "Pomeranzen," carroway, cinnamon, and peppermint liqueurs. Myriad uses were found for fir needles and juniper berries.
The forest dwellers used the treasures of the Thuringian Herb Garden with great finesse.
many thanks to Winfried Mueller of Jena for the original text, Oberweißbach und die Tradition des Ölitätenhandels, from the Kräuterseminare in der Fröbelstadt Oberweißbach which was translated by J. Froebel-Parker, Albany, New York USA and edited by Bruce Watson.
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Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines by Mark Blumenthal (Editor), et al.
The most accurate information available on the safety and efficacy of herbs and phytomedicines.