Vintage Weleda Poster from Italy
One of the highlights of last year and of writing this blog was when I received an invitation to go to visit the UK Weleda HQ in Derbyshire, so this year I was over the moon to be asked back again. You can see my post about last year and what I learnt part one and part two. This years trip had a very different feel to it, the focus of the day was more on the Homeopathic and Anthroposophic remedies manufactured and whilst I am a big big fan of the skincare I didn’t know nearly as much about the medicines side of the business so this was an interesting twist to day. My partner in crime for the day was the beautiful Jenny also known as Red head beauty diaries, Jenny and I have been chatting for quite a long time now, I randomly discovered her blog and loved it ever since so it was such a pleasure to finally meet her in person. Jenny is every bit as glamorous as she is in her photos, a true beauty inside and out it was such a pleasure to talk to her. After meeting Jenny in the Weleda UK car park we headed up to register and to have a drink, the building where Weleda is located is incredibly iconic with it’s pink exterior and traditional Weleda signs. Weleda is a brand steeped in tradition and has been around since 1921, the beauty production side of the brand actually came about to supplement the production of medicines rather than the other way around so the holistic element of the brand is incredibly important and deeply entrenched in their philosophy. Weleda as a brand was founded on Rudolph Steiner’s philosophies surrounding wellness, the person as whole, farming practises and most importantly nature and the human being working in harmony.
We started off with a talk from one of the Weleda Pharmacists about the medicines available at Weleda and some of the new launches. How homeopathic and anthroposophic remedies can be labelled and sold is tightly regulated, at the Weleda HQ they have pharmacists who can advise you either in person or over the phone but I also learnt that they have make products to order known as specials for anyone who is lactose intolerant ect.. they can cater for those needs too. The recent new launches are the new oral sprays targeting Hay fever, Muscular pain, Colds, stress, digestion and Dry skin. I have one of the stress sprays to test out and let you know how I get on with them. I am going to admit now that for myself I rarely buy homeopathic remedies but I used them with my son when he was teething, like most parents I would have done anything to take away the pain, the philosophy about how the medicines are prepared and formulated does take a little getting your head around and I can see why it does cause a certain amount of scepticism because to a certain extent it flies in the face of certain principles we have been told before, but I have to say the experience of learning more did open up my mind to some of the possible benefits.
After the talk we were very lucky that we got to experience where the medicines are actually manufactured, as you can imagine this is a restricted area, we were expected to wear white coats, hair nets and remove all make up and jewellery. The staff member who showed us around the medicines area had been with the company for 17 years, the knowledge they have is quite specialised and has to be passed down from person to person. The medicines are all mainly based around the use of tinctures and the plants used will mainly be grown in Weleda’s own gardens wherever possible, the tinctures are then diluted and they follow a procedure called potentization, which is the rhythmic movement of the fluid in what is a figure of eight, this is done in accordance with Steiner’s philosophies to awaken the full potential of the remedy. I had a go at potentizing a mock remedy and the process itself is very therapeutic swishing the liquid in a figure of eight, you have to get your whole body involved to get it just right, like I previously said the idea of diluting something to make it more powerful is something that goes against conventional medicine where the higher the dose the potent potent it is. The idea I took away with me about these medicines is the holistic approach to the person that is taken and the drawing on so many aspects of human functioning, it is certainly something that has sparked an interest and something I will research further in the future. After all of that we stopped for a very tasty lunch where we got to chat to some of the other guests, what I love about these days is that there is always a great mix of people, from a Pharmacy lecturer at the local university to health and beauty writers and health food shop staff who stock the products.
After lunch it was time to go on to the Biodynamic gardens, if you are unfamiliar with the term biodynamic it refers to a specific form of farming and growing organically that uses a more holistic approach and methodology. It emphasises boosting soil fertility through compost and manure and of course has sustainability at it’s heart. The gardens are a short 10 minute bus ride away from the Headquarters and they span across 15 acres of land, growing over 300 plant species. I apologise if the next part is a little picture heavy but I think they do speak for themselves. We were shown around by Michael Bate, former head gardener at Weleda and with a wealth of botanical knowledge spanning over 30 years, Michael is a real character and a true font of knowledge.
St John’s Wort
Beautiful Birch Trees
There are Bee hives on site and a Bee Keeper comes to take care of them, bees are incredibly important for pollination and thus an essential part of agriculture.
This wild flower meadow was full of life and some of the most incredible insects I have ever seen, allowing spaces for pollinators and other creatures is an essential part of the Biodynamic principles and is key to this idea of working in harmony with nature.
The gardeners who take care of these breathtaking gardens are not only skilled at growing the plants but are also incredibly knowledgeable about the properties and structures of each of these and their uses. The last part of the garden tour was making a tincture, I won’t go in to too much detail as I have covered this in my previous posts but we used chamomile and organic grain alcohol, the scent of the chamomile was incredible, so soothing and relaxing. One of the highlights for me is always seeing the beautiful calendula (marigold) plants which are some of my favourites, the name Calendula Officinalis comes from the Latin word for calendar and relates to it’s flowering cycle. Calendula is part of the daisy family and has a long history of medicinal use, a lot of the skincare I use has calendula as an ingredient and Weleda use it in their baby range as well as in their spectacular Calendula massage oil which I love.
The day went by in the blink of an eye and before I knew it it was back to the Headquarters where we were briefly introduced to the new UK launches in terms of skincare and given our goody bags, I of course had to also buy my favourite pomegranate body wash which is the best body wash ever. I will talk you through the new products and the new baby range another day as this post is now getting a little long. A big big thank you to all the Weleda staff who made us feel so welcome and always make these insight days so special. Lastly here is a photo of Jen and I in the gardens it was such a pleasure to meet her and she made the day all the more special.