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3/11/2009
Feeling at home: cultivating calm and comfort
Feeling at home: cultivating calm 
and comfort

Calming, balancing and delicious:

Lavender flowers and the aromatherapeutic essential oil that comes from them soothe the body and the mind.

When applied to the skin, the oil helps treat conditions aggravated by stress, and when eaten, the flowers impart a distinctive flavor and fragrance that fill the senses far beyond taste.

“Lavender flowers pick you up and take you with them,” declares Michael Straub, head of Medicinal Plant Research & Cropping for Weleda Naturals. “The smell is nice. The taste is nice. You can really feel the effects of lavender.”

The strength and healing properties of lavender come from the entire plant. It solidly grounds itself in the earth with its roots, which reach deep into the soil to take in the water it needs. This allows it to survive in very dry areas over a long time. Above ground the plant is light, and its flowers move upward toward the sun.

What’s more, lavender and its many benefits are easy to attain. With good soil, a little water and a lot of sun, the flowers blossom prolifically. “Here in Weleda’s Biodynamic® gardens [located in southern Germany], we have good, brown soil,” says Straub. “When the lavender plant starts to flower, we fertilize the plant with powdered quartz, a mineral. This natural fertilizer helps the plant take in and use the warmth, light and power of the sun. It is very important for lavender to have sunlight because it gives the plant its form.”

Organic comfort from the outside:

The rich, black soil in Moldavia nourishes wide expanses of greenery. Here a single patch of organic lavender fields—stretching across 450 acres—emits the flower’s soothing scent. This joint project between Weleda and a local partner, Resendjer, yields pure lavender oil. Everything from soil and seedling through the cultivating, harvesting and distilling is managed by one integrated and quality-controlled system.

Weleda blends this lavender essential oil, and its therapeutic effects in skin care and medicine products to enhance the whole body’s health and well being. Since 2003, Weleda has supported the rural land, people and economy of Moldavia. “Weleda came to us for our lavender,” explains project manager Bob Ethrington. “Bas [Schneiders, managing director of Weleda Naturals] was extremely helpful from the very beginning. He wanted to support us, since part of Weleda’s social responsibility is to help developing countries. But he said we must grow our lavender organically and eventually become Biodynamic®.” Given the excellent soil, favorable weather conditions and good people in Moldavia, it is easy to ensure the best lavender for the highest-quality products.

Organic comfort from the inside:

Along the eastern edge of Weleda’s Biodynamic® Medicinal Plant Gardens, a visitor center offers pampering to guests in the form of wholesome, fresh-from-the-garden food and skin care. Professional cook and recreational gardener Brigitta Ulmer is at home here in the organic kitchen. Having grown up around her family’s restaurant and their large, organic garden, her passion for cooking is well cultivated. “Cooking with organic ingredients is best,” says Ulmer. “It is better for our health and better for the environment.” With the garden as her pantry, she whisks and blends each creation with her hands and heart.