Environmental impact of herbal medicine

The NHS carbon-reduction strategy for England, entitled Saving Carbon, Improving Health (January 2009), reveals that Pharmaceuticals represent an astonishing four million tonnes of CO2 a year which, according to The Ecologist magazine, is equivalent to three quarters of a million cars on the road.  Locally grown biodynamic organic herbal medicine therefore, contributes to the better health of the nation in more than one way.

Our Biodynamic and Organic Certification not only means complete traceability and sustainability, but also includes a total audit of the environmental impact of all our activities from raw materials, which includes our land, seeds and packaging, through to composting and drainage. Due to the many thousands of trees planted on the farm over the last twenty years, it is estimated that all our activities now absorb more greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide) than generated.

Wherever possible, we place considerable emphasis on any product sourced from poorer countries being independently audited as economically and ecologically sound, for example under the auspices of IFOAM, The Soil Association or Demeter.

Unlike most herbal medicine, we do not use water from the public mains with it’s associated risks, but use water from our own artesian well, that has been filtered for thousands of years through the prehistoric river gravels found 100ft under the farm. We have invested heavily in filtration equipment and, this way we avoid importing uncontrolled dissolved chemicals and microbes, normally found in public mains water, onto the farm or into processes and products. Water used in production of medicines is batched up for use and every single batch undergoes stringent tests before use and is typically found to be from 600 to 1000 times purer than public mains water.

Our hot water supply, for washing and for gentle heating processes is now mainly solar powered, thanks to a very extensive solar panel system supplied by local Rutland company Navitron.

A vast saving in carbon is provided by our 50KW ground- source space heating system, which warms the offices, farm and factory in the winter and cools them in summer. The heat energy is conducted by water in one and a half miles of piping, buried 2 metres under the naturally highly insulated permanent pasture fields, where it is stored. The energy is tapped in or out, as and when required.

Each winter we plant yet more trees (and have done so for quarter of a century), so that overall, the whole whole farm  activity has a reducing effect on atmospheric carbon.

Giving back to the land

All the Organic herb ‘marc’ left over after extraction is thoroughly mixed with farm-yard manure (from cattle) throughout the year and is composted on the farm before being spread onto the fields where it first grew. This way it is itself ‘recycled’ by the activity of micro fauna and flora of the soil, which with the help of sun, moon and stars, work the miracle of seeds back into herbs again!

Packaging & Recycling

To reduce the environmental impact, danger and cost of transporting heavy glass, we stick to the light-weight tough British food-grade ISO 9000 High Density PE bottles, which have been the tried, tested and preferred choice by herbalists over many decades. The importance of re-cycling and problems of pollution and energy wastage are some of the environmental reasons why we resist the move towards the convenience ‘foil-pack’ products . We recycle as much production material as we can, and we encourage others to do the same. Virtually everything sent out from here over the past decade is recyclable.

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