Potted History

  • passifloraThe company was founded by Paul Chenery, who gave up a life in conventional science to focus on developing a sustainable and natural lifestyle that addresses the environmental and welfare issues of the day, before studying and qualifying as a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists.
  • 1986: The farm has been farmed organically for many decades and was a member of the Soil Association in the not so long ago days when the BBC was in the habit of portraying organic farming as ‘cranky’ and both the National Farmer’s Union and Farmer’s Weekly declared that it was a dangerous threat to world farming! Later we were able to aspire to join the Biodynamic Agricultural Association and eventually becoming Demeter certified growers.
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    Planting

    1995: We began by growing herbs for the then two large manufacturers in the UK but, when we didn’t get paid for our labour, we started selling to the herbal profession.

  • 1996: When we started making extracts, with the notable exception of Granary Herbs in Kent, we were the only herb farm in the UK making (a) farm fresh tinctures or (b) making organic tinctures available. We were first publicly derided – and then copied by the very same firms that derided us loudest. Perhaps ‘often copied but never equalled’ might be a fitting description of our first decade in the business.
  • By 1997, we were making tinctures according to British Herbal Pharmacopoeia and British Pharmacopoeia monographs and selling these to members of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists and fellow students at the College of Phytotherapy. At this time the farm was both organically certified and UK ‘farm assured’, which was the beginning of a natural progression to cGMP certification.
  • 1998: The small one-man lab opened in a former stable with thin layer chromatography experiments. Over the next decade, this grew to a highly equipped lab capable of most routine phytochemistry and phytopharmacy operations, run by a highly qualified scientists and specialising in R & D and QC of herbal medicines.
  • 2000-2004: The business gradually expanded into 1000 sq. metres of existing farm buildings that were progressively converted to medicines manufacture.
  • 2006: Visitors from Whitehall made a Regulatory Impact Exercise, looking for information on how to minimise damage to the industry after the THMD.
  • 2007: Sales, marketing and distribution was moved to Kingham in Oxfordshire, allowing the farm to focus on the production of herbal medicines. The number of staff gradually shrank to 10. Inflation was rampant and poor weather drove up farm costs.
  • 2009: As a result of last year’s successes and further good growing conditions in 2009, we were able to drastically reduce prices at several points during the year. It proved too difficult to maintain the link with Kingham and on 11th September 2009 we re-opened our sales office with a super new system designed to improve the prevention of out-of-stocks and formally cancelled our contract with Kingham.
  • 2010: Manufacture of first 16 licensed herbals and acquisition of some of our own herbal product licenses. A great growing year, despite the wet autumn, with almost everything harvested before the weather broke.
  • 2011: Our first of many contracts to manufacture herbal APIs for international companies
  • 2012: Laboratory expansion with installation of seconds HPLC system
  • 2013: Large-scale contract manufacture of fully licensed GSL finished products (Valerian sleeping mixture)
  • 2016: Purchase and installation of Perkin Elmer Gas Chromatography system and IQ/PQ validated software