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A meaningful impact

The spirit of partnership: Elisabeth Kurz (right) having an conversation with a Rosarum resident.
Photo: Christine Joos

Responsible partnerships

naturamus is committed to maintaining open lines of communication with all their partners, on both an international and local level. In 2018, the company entered into an extraordinary agreement with Rosarum. Founder Elisabeth Kurz describes Rosarum as a ‘life and work initiative for young and old.’ Her idea was to create a flatshare with four rooms in Heiligenberg, close to Lake Constance. The flatshare hosts four people on the autism spectrum. They have a set schedule that includes time for customised and individual medical and therapeutic interventions.

From idea to implementation

A mutual acquaintance from the Filder Clinic in Stuttgart informed Elisabeth Kurz that WALA was in need of horse chestnuts to create their natural cosmetics and medicines. Shortly afterwards her daughter, Andrea Müller, who runs an organic farm close to the Rosarum flatshare, got in touch with naturamus. The supported living facility is always on the lookout for purposeful tasks that the residents can carry out with appropriate support, and having them collect the chestnuts from a tree on the farm seemed like the perfect fit.

Soft shell, tough seed: horse chestnuts.
Photo: Christine Joos
Everyone comes together to collect the chestnuts.
Photo: Christine Joos
Life here is lived in harmony with humanity, animals and nature, and these values are passed on to the next generation.
Photo: Christine Joos

A family tree

The tree in question is no ordinary tree: it has a very special history. Four generations ago, an ancestor of the Müller family travelled to Heiligenberg to pay interest to the reigning Fürst, or prince. While waiting to be seen, the man collected chestnuts – it must have been autumn. He then returned home and planted a chestnut seed on his farm. The tree has been growing for 120 years, and is now almost 20 metres high. A truly impressive specimen that provides a rich harvest to be collected and dried each year.

The chestnut provides the perfect backdrop for valuable conversations, both for the Müller family and for the Rosarum residents while collecting chestnuts.
Photo: Christine Joos
The Müller family’s organic farm also features a modern goat stall, located right next to the chestnut tree. This young goat is enjoying pets from one of the women living at Rosarum.
Photo: Christine Joos
Mutual respect is key when it comes to living together in Gütle, where all four autistic adults currently reside.
Photo: Christine Joos

Carefully dried

Once the chestnuts have been lovingly collected, they are transported to Andreashof, a Demeter farm, to be dried. They are carefully placed in their own drying cupboard at temperatures between 36 and 38 degrees. The drying process is overseen by Christine Freistetter, the master gardener. She monitors the seeds by randomly selecting a few to be cut open. Once the pit in the centre is no longer raw, they are ready for further processing. The dried chestnuts are delivered to naturamus, ready for WALA manufacture.

A tiny treasure chest: the horse chestnuts are protected and kept safe and warm in a drying cupboard.
Photo: Christine Joos

Ready for use in WALA medicines and Dr. Hauschka natural cosmetics

WALA manufactures aqueous-alcoholic extracts from the chestnut seeds. The seed, of course, is the dark brown piece found within the green shell. To create the extract, an alcoholic blend is mixed and then treated with a rhythmic process for seven days. Horse chestnut extracts can be found in a variety of WALA medicines, for example those used for vascular diseases and rheumatic pain. These healing extracts are also used as ingredients in Dr. Hauschka’s natural cosmetics, such as the Foot Cream and Moor Lavender Calming Bath Essence.