Medicinal plants in the research laboratory
Professor Florian Stintzing is Head of Research at WALA. The food technologist works in a team of around 50 people, including pharmacists, biologists, landscape ecologists, chemists and food chemists. Together, they answer questions from the broadest range of WALA departments. Depending on their tasks, the in-house experts collaborate with scientists at universities and other research institutions. “We know what we can do but are also aware of the areas in which we depend on external expertise. Obtaining different perspectives on a question is an important part of knowledge advancement,” commented Stintzing.
“When we create a new product, we work extremely closely with our colleagues in Galenic Development. We work hand in hand from the outset – you could say that we pass the ball back and forth across the corridor. This gives rise to the creative vibrancy that is also reflected in the product.”
The understanding of plants plays a key role in product development. The questions of location, harvest time and processing technique must all be answered. Carefully collated data is extremely helpful in this regard: thanks to in-house research, for example, our gardeners only harvest our lady’s mantel (Alchemilla vulgaris) in August. By this time of year, the plant has formed its maximum content of skin-impacting tannins, which are of great value to products such as our Soothing Mask.
Different plants, different questions: in the case of echinacea, the matters of interest include the right plant species for the product and the right type of preparation – essence, aqueous extract or pressed juice? Our research department attests that the pressed juice from the little-known Echinacea pallida is most effective in lip care products. This result has been confirmed by the Institute for Virology at the University of Heidelberg. The pressed juice from this plant is therefore found in Dr. Hauschka Med Labimint Acute Lip Care, for example.
“These types of solid findings are not only important for WALA but also for the appreciation and differentiation of natural skin care products.”
Prof. Dr. Florian Stintzing
The ideal location for sage cultivation, the stability of essential oils, the quality of quince wax and the secret of the ice plant are all among the latest research topics. Our data is directly incorporated into product development, helps resolve recipe optimisation questions and provides information for adequate raw material analysis at a far earlier stage in the process chain. If research results are of general interest, we publish them in national and international journals.
Others therefore also benefit from the knowledge advances made within WALA.