In New Zealand the name Vogel’s is a household name, thanks to Vogel’s bread, but this is not a story about bread, although that is part of it.
It is also the story of Alfred Vogel and his visit to Sioux healer and holy man Black Elk, Vogel’s travels to indigenous cultures, his work developing natural herbal remedies, and also about holism and the healing power of nature.
Harmony with nature
Alfred Vogel was an extraordinary Swiss man born in 1902 who lived to the age of 94 having devoted his whole life to the philosophy of living in harmony with nature. He has also been called the father of Naturopathy.
Vogel was a renowned nutritionist, herbalist, naturopath and author of many books and articles. Vogel originated Vogel’s mixed grain bread in Australia and New Zealand. He developed the recipe in 1952, having the foresight to know food that was high in fibre and contained no chemical additives, fats and sugar, was healthy and nutritious.
His book, The Nature Doctor (1952) has been translated into 12 languages, with over 2 million copies sold, and is a recognized and renowned reference in traditional and natural medicine.
He firmly believed that everything we need to protect and preserve our health has been given to us in Nature.
Black Elk's Echinacea
His Echinacea remedy, Echinaforce is made from plants descended from the seeds he received from Black Elk. Alfred Vogel spent time with the Sioux in the United States in the early 1950s. The way they used the power of Nature for their health made a huge impression on him, according to the Vogel Institute.
Indigenous herbal lore
In order to study the relationship between diet, lifestyle and disease, he traveled throughout South America, Africa, the Amazon, Australia and New Zealand, bringing back medicines, which had served generations.
During his childhood, he learnt about plants and their therapeutic value from his father and grandparents. Phytotherapy - herbal medicine - and the desire to help his fellow human beings became his life’s work.
Fresh organic herbs
He soon realized that the tinctures, which were produced from freshly harvested and organically grown plants were more effective than those using dried herbs.
The A Vogel tradition Since then Bioforce, (available in New Zealand through Jim and Ruth Speck of R & J Speck Ltd), has grown dramatically and the company is now represented in over 30 countries including New Zealand, United Kingdom, Ireland, Scandinavia, Holland, Germany, the US, Canada and Australia.
Broadest spectrum in natural balance
The fresh herb tinctures, the Bioforce mainstay, contain the broadest spectrum of constituents in the balance created by nature, says Bioforce.
Using fresh plant material makes authentication easier. Herbs are generally dried using heat, which can destroy delicate constituents such as volatile oils.
Natural wild varieties
Seeds are selected from natural, wild varieties of plants. Each plant is harvested at a specific stage of development to ensure the optimal balance of active constituents.
Holistic herbal tinctures
The action of the multicomponent mixture of the whole herb is seen to be greater than the sum of its individual components — this is holism which contrasts with another form of standardization where the therapeutic action is assigned to one or two active components with no consideration given to the rest of the plant. Herbal extracts produced in this way are modified in comparison to allow for a predefined concentration of these compounds to be present in the end product, says Bioforce.
Testing is carried out throughout the manufacturing process, with the finished product being quality control tested for identify, purity, content and to guarantee the exclusion of any possible contamination.
Obtaining Bioforce products in New Zealand : For more information about A Vogel and Bioforce products, contact Jim Speck of R & J Speck Ltd.
The fresh herb tinctures, organic health foods and natural body care products, which grew out of his work, bore the A Vogel brand and are now sold as Bioforce, the name of the company he started in 1963.
As a pioneer of plant medicine, Alfred Vogel (1902-1996) traveled the world studying cultures acquainted with herbalism.
Black Elk and Initiation
“Black Elk familiarized Alfred Vogel with Native American healing and initiated him into the secrets of their medicine. He even imparted knowledge to him of the very plant that was to become so important to Alfred Vogel: the purple coneflower (lat. Echinacea purpurea).” The Sioux had known of Echinacea for generations and used it as an all round remedy: externally for snakebites, wounds and bruising and internally for strengthening the immune system.
Black Elk presented him with a handful of Echinacea seeds, which he took back to Switzerland to cultivate, which he did with great success.
He took what he had learned from the indigenous cultures and applied some of the advances of modern medicine, putting the herbal extracts through rigorous analysis.
In 1933 he set up a Naturopathic practice in the Swiss village of Teufen where he began producing remedies for his patients from his own medicinal herbs.
Demand for A Vogel remedies rose to the point where his Teufen operation was no longer sufficient.
In 1963, at the age of 61, he founded Bioforce AG in Roggwil, Switzerland. He established strict guidelines for plant cultivation, and the production and quality of remedies.
Fresh Herb Tinctures
Based on Vogel’s guidelines, Bioforce continues to produce fresh herb tinctures and foods from organically grown produce from their own plantations, along with careful harvesting and processing of the fresh plants.
Bioforce not only produce fresh herb tinctures, but also organic health foods and natural body care products. They are made from organically grown plants certified by the Swiss Union of Organic Agriculture Organisation (VSBLO).
The preparations are manufactured from freshly harvested herbs, processed within 24 hours of being picked, which is only possible when herbs are grown close to the production facilities.
Many other companies buy in their herbs from raw herb wholesalers, says Bioforce. Other less expensive plant species can sometimes be added reducing quality, safety and efficacy.
Tobler’s study found that in certain cases the difference in the amount of active constituents was more than double - freshly harvested Echinacea contained 80mg of alkyl amides per 100g of herbs compared to 30mg of the dried herb.
Stability during storage was also better with preparations made from dried chamomile containing 29% of Matricine after 10 months of storage compared to 97 % for the fresh plant extract.
A complete 15 day cleansing programme.
-Recover after the festive season
-All year round aid to better health
Clears toxins, enhances health and wellbeing. Individual preparations in the programme work synergistically. The box contains 1 Echinaforce 50 ml, 1 Boldocynara 50 ml, 1 Linoforce Granules 100 g, 1 Solidaforce 50 ml, 1 Golden Grass Tea 70 g. Detailed information and instructions on how to do the programme are included.
A.Vogel - Golden Grass Tea : Oganically grown and wild crafted herbs. Supports functioning of kidneys and healthy urinary output. An effective urinary disinfectant.
A.Vogel - Solidaforce : Standardised, certified fresh plant remedy. Combination of 4 freshly harvested herbal extracts. Main constituents are Golden Rod (Solidago virgaurea), Birch (Betula pendula), Horsetail (Equisetum arvense), and Spiny Restharrow (Ononis spinosa). A ‘Kidney Tonic’.
A.Vogel -Boldocynara: Standardised, certified organic fresh plant remedy, a combination of ‘liver herbs’. A liver tonic which strengthens, cleanses and protects the Liver. Major herbs are Globe Artichoke (Cynara scolymus), Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) and Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). Peppermint (Mentha piperita) and Boldo (Peumus boldo) are added to support their actions.
A Vogel - Linoforce: Laxative for containing Flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum), Senna leaf (Cassia alexandrina), Buckthorn bark (Rhamnus frangula), talc, sugar, calcium carbonate, acacia gum, red and black iron oxide, calcium lactate, vanillin and ginger oil.
Cleansing programme -Retail price: $65
For more info and to order:
Email Jim and Ruth Speck
Alfred Vogel pioneered the system of holistic standardization. Many medicinal plants can be harvested several times a year. The concentration and pattern of constituents may differ in individual harvests.
Echinacea is harvested twice a year — in midsummer and early autumn, with different constituents predominating on the two occasions. Mixing batches together achieves a balance of these compounds says Bioforce.
The tinctures are produced through maceration — the traditional method of alcoholic extraction used by herbalists.
“This produces a tincture containing the full spectrum of active components as alcohol has a natural affinity for both fat-soluble and water soluble substances.”
There is no heat involved in the process, as heat has the potential of destroying some of the active plant constituents.
At Roggwil, the freshly harvested plant material is cut and immersed in an alcohol-water mixture and stands at a temperature between 12-18 degrees for 30 days.
After maceration the mixture is pressed and filtered to obtain the liquid tincture. The extracted plant residue is composted.
The advantage of using alcohol as an extraction agent for fresh herbs — Bioforce uses sugar-beet and potato alcohol — is that heat is not required, thus ensuring the constituents are not destroyed. Alcoholic tinctures are more easily absorbed in the digestive tract and alcohol is a natural preservative.
The amount of alcohol ingested with each dose of tincture is small, an amount that can be tolerated by most people, even those with dietary restrictions. Certain foods such as fruit juices, bananas, etc, contain the same amounts of alcohol naturally, as does the body as a result of normal metabolic processes.