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Ethical Sourcing Arnica
Collecting Arnica from the Wild in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania
A soothing plant for tired muscles
For centuries, Arnica (Arnica Montana) has been used to alleviate muscle soreness, and shorten the duration of the results of bruises and sprains. With over 150 identified active compounds, arnica’s natural chemistry makes arnica extract one of the most important plants in Weleda’ s development of cosmetics, baby care, and bath and body products, which are certified natural by NATRUE.
Collected from the Wild
Fresh-processed arnica plants are principally sourced from partner companies in Germany, while dried arnica flowers come from wild collections in Romania.
Together with partners in Romania’s Carpathian Mountains, Weleda plays a pioneering role in the sustainable procurement of plants, like arnica, from the wild.
Arnica is very sensitive to sudden intensive use of pastureland. The use of methods such as chemical fertilizer alters soil’s nutrient balance and disturbs the plant’s delicate nature. Intensive harvesting also negatively impacts arnica’s growing conditions, often resulting in the disappearance of the once-flourishing fields and can even disappear altogether from a place where it once grew strongly. Plants like arnica have adapted to their natural habitats over long periods of time. However, even man-made pastoral and agricultural landscapes can, over time, become a suitable habitat for plants like arnica – if farmed consciously, as we do at Weleda.
We’ve been proactive in addressing this increased risk of extinction through our own experiences of a similar project in the French Vosges. We worked with the World Wildlife Fund and landscape ecologists to develop a reliable collection environment which ensures sustainable plant crops. For this carefully controlled wild collection, only a certain number of flowers are picked, all by hand. Meanwhile, the land is used exclusively by livestock – there are no additional fertilizers. To make sure our high standards are maintained, the farmers who harvest the arnica, mostly livestock farmers or timber growers in the off-season, are trained regularly by the local cooperative. By working together during the flowering period they receive an extra fixed income. Since 2010, Weleda has worked to expand sustainable wild collection to other parts of the Carpathians, spreading the idea of sustainable use and protecting more pastureland with its precious biodiversity.
Locally Sourced, Sustainable Energy
The newly constructed drying facility we commissioned in 2007 is also of great importance for the arnica project in the Carpathian Mountains. The building itself was constructed from locally abundant wood resources used for heating. The importance of the design is that farmers and cooperative members are more independent and can improve their position to become self-employed Weleda partners. We benefit from high-quality arnica flowers through constant exchange with the cooperative and their experience in the drying of plaints, like arnica. To ensure the whole project is working well, we support scientific monitoring of plant populations through detailed observation of arnica stocks on survey plots. This research gives early indications of any changes and provides valuable data for long-term collection and harvest management.
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Arnica Montana Flower Extract
Arnica Montana Flower Extract helps soothe tired muscles.