WALA Heilmittel GmbH produces all products for three brands, WALA medicines, WALA Vita preventive health products and Dr.Hauschka skin care products. It is sold in more than 40 countries and manufactured in Bad Boll/Eckwälden. Rose Day Cream is one of them of course!
So off we went, Matthew and I, on our long drive from our first destination in Germany, Köln to Stuttgart to pick up our friend Sally and onto Bad Boll/ Eckwälden. We got to drive the autobahn and see some amazing landscape on our 4hr drive.
As we arrived all we had with us is a map and an acceptance letter. But even with this map, we didn’t realize how huge WALA really is.
Dear Mrs. Bradshaw,
We are pleased that you have decided to visit our home. 3 places we have authentic reserved for you.
The event will take place on Wednesday, 28 May 2014 to be held in Bad Boll / Eckwälden. The meeting point is in the WALA building B2, Boßlerweg 2, on the outskirts of Eckwälden. Start is at 14:00 clock, end around 17:30 clock. The program for the event, see page 3.
It offers an interesting event – we look forward to meeting you!
WALA remedies GmbH
We were right on time, but trying to walk to this building from the main was way farther down than we realized. After jumping back in the car, we found it and were only 10 minutes late. Which Germans hate, but I wasn’t about to come all this way and miss my tour, strictly only spoken in German!
Cornelia was great, she added in a few bits of English along the way during the garden tour. I’m sure she saw we were trying really hard to understand and she tried her best to include us. We participated with a group of nurses learning about Hauschka and later on how to do the arm and leg treatment for patient care. How amazing would it be if our medical system did this?
The WALA medicinal herb garden
The medicinal plant garden was started by Dr. Rudolf Hauschka in the 1950s. WALA gradually purchased more land and extended the garden to its present area which totals 4.5 hectares. In addition, WALA has been practising biodynamic agriculture on the Sonnenhof farm in Bad Boll for 20 or more years. We briefly visited this farm down the road as well, where Medicinal plants are also grown. Plants grown on their more distant sites include witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), sage (Salvia officinalis) and wormwood (Artemisia absinthium).
Apart from the plants, many animals live in the garden. They are very proud of the beekeeping and currently have 17 colonies which have become an established element of the garden. When choosing the plants for the outside areas and meadows they are careful to provide the bees with a rich variety of nectar and pollen throughout the season. It is also important to them that wild bees and other insects such as beetles and butterflies colonise the garden. The pond is home to various dragonfly species, grass snakes, toads and frogs. They also have a large and varied bird population in the garden. Many different worlds come together here – plants, birds and insects. Variety is the spice of life; a lack of variety is deadly dull.
They strive for a closed system of materials. Rarely buying seed, substrates or fertilizers. Wala only use their own compost and potting compost and virtually all seed is their own. Wala prepares all their own soils and substrates. The compost is the heart of the garden. Tending to it and knowing exactly what is in it. Nurseries used to employ skilled compost makers, who could determine which composts were good and which needed working on just by feel and smell. Composts need much care and are a lot of work. We saw so many compost heaps while we visited the gardens, understandably when soil health is the main focus.
All work in the garden is almost exclusively manual, because a machine can’t be made to adapt to the need of the plants. Manual labour means that human beings, rather than machines, determine the pace. They believe it is especially important to do the harvesting only by hand. Of course they do use tractors for transportation and motorized mowers.
I chatted with Cornelia after our impressive garden tour and asked if there was anyway to skip the demo later on, as I already practice the treatments, and possibly see the Wala building? She responded with great enthusiasm that after the video she would collect us and take us on a private tour done in English! They only do one or two English tours a year for the garden, but never of the building. This was a great honour to be showed around further.
We were unable to take photos of the facility and some of the areas visited we were unable to view, because of sanitation issues, e.g. the laboratories and filling room.
All through the buildings there was amazing art, mostly depicting Rudolf Steiner beliefs on An Anthroposophical summary: “Keeping Track of the Planets”. For Rudolf Hauschka, founder of WALA, the encounter with Rudolf Steiner was positively crucial. Steiner’s suggestion to study rhythmic processes steered him through his research and development work, leading finally to the founding of WALA, 78 years ago. Some of the philosophies I still don’t really understand, when you get deeper past the biodynamic gardening, it gets a little spiritual. Steiner talks a lot about the 6 planets and how it effects us and even our gardening practices. Also each planet corresponds to a colour and a plant.
If human beings did not have the powers of Mercury in them all the time they would not be able to digest … Venus lives in our blood. Everything that has to do with blood in us comes from the powers of Venus … The powers of the sun are above all active in the human heart … Mars is connected with everything to do with speech and everything we have by way of breathing organs … Jupiter has to do with our brain, really our sense organs, our brain with the sense organs … Saturn has to do with our organs of thinking ..
Rudolf Steiner conceived the Planetary Seals in 1907. They express the creative forces which lead to the cosmic evolution of the human being, from Old Saturn through Old Sun, Old Moon, Mars and Mercury to Jupiter and Venus. These Stages are everywhere through the building, in many colours and from paintings to sculptures. Really beautiful, but I still don’t fully understand the connection with the garden.
Today, more than 700 people are employed at WALA Heilmittel GmbH. They are distributed throughout five company buildings in two locations in Bad Boll/Eckwälden , including some 580 employees at Location 1 (Dorfstrasse 1 and 3, Badstrasse 62) and 160 employees at Location 2 (Bosslerweg 2 and Rossauchtert 2 and 4).
The building at Dorfstrasse 1, (where we mainly visited) houses a large share of the manufacturing facilities in addition to the Development, Purchasing, Marketing, Graphics, Shipping and Administration departments. Dorfstrasse 3 is home to the analytical control laboratory, where all incoming ingredients and finished WALA preparations undergo microbiological examination and purity and identity tests via thin-layer chromatography or quantitative analysis, e.g. using HPLC (high-performance liquid chromatography).
The Pharmaceutical Medicine, Clinical Research, Medicinal Registration and Finance departments are all located under one roof at Badstrasse 62. Certain divisions of Manufacturing, Public Relations, Skin Care Consultant Team, International Sales and Customer Service are located at Bosslerweg 2. Located behind this building is WALA’s own Demeter-certified medicinal herb garden, (where we started), lovingly tended to in accordance with biodynamic principles. Dr.Hauschka Estheticians undertake occupational training and continuing education in the two buildings at Rossauchtert, which were converted specifically for this purpose.
WALA Heilmittel GmbH develops, manufactures and distributes anthroposophic homeopathic remedies (WALA Medicines), natural special care products designed to meet specific needs (Dr.Hauschka Med), and natural cosmetics (Dr.Hauschka Skin Care).
All of the products are growing in popularity around the world, leading to steady sales growth in the past years.
WALA Medicines are distributed via pharmacies. Dr.Hauschka products are available from authorised retailers, including natural food stores, natural beauty shops, department stores, perfume stores, pharmacies and Dr.Hauschka Estheticians.
A video of our visit!
In this video when the music drops a little bit, listen to all the birds and nature in the background! You can’t hear it very well, but being there it was so alive! Simply amazing.
Food at WALA: fresh, organic products every day
The food is what I found very interesting, since I love good food, seeing the cafeteria at WALA was one of my highlights. It’s the most amazing room, all glass, and a view that would make you never want to leave.
Needless to say, WALA’s commitment to the environment is also central to its food and beverage services. By giving preference to local products, they help to boost the regional economy and promote agriculture in the area. At the same time, this helps to reduce shipping costs and packaging waste. As well as this, they know their suppliers and the high quality of their products, while the food received is perfectly fresh.
In purchasing products, they follow fair trade guidelines by establishing long-term business relationships according to fair, agreed-upon criteria. Paying higher prices improves the quality of life for people in the agricultural regions of poorer countries. 75% of the items on our menu are of Demeter or organic quality; numerous other products including tea, coffee, apple juice, granola, bread, biscuits, yogurt, milk and the salad bar are 100% organic. My understanding was it’s free for all staff as long as it’s local and organic, it’s only the bad stuff like pop you have to pay for.
Wala sets great store by natural cultivation with crop rotation and organic fertilisation. They are also concerned with keeping, breeding and feeding animals the natural way. Accordingly, all meat comes from the Schwäbisch-Hall Farmer Producer Association which, with the aid of local breeds, produces healthy food for local consumers with due respect for nature and livestock. They only serve fish from sustainable fisheries, chosen based on the recommendations of environmental associations.
The caterer that provides the lunches has been certified by an independent certification body for organic food. Naturally, they make a point of serving not only regional but also seasonal food. After all, fruit and vegetables harvested at their peak are fresher, richer in vitamins and simply taste better.