Behind the scenes: Discover where the alp roses are growing
End of summer is the perfect season for a hike to the Swiss mountains, to see where the alpine roses are growing and where our supply for the ingredient Alpine Rose Active is coming from.
To learn more about the harvest of this plant, we decided to visit our local farmer, Urs Heinrich, who is responsible for the supply of these leaves. He lives with his family in Bergün, a charming little village up in the mountains in the South-East of Switzerland.
The alpine rose belongs with edelweiss and the blue enzian to the most iconic Swiss alpine plants. Alpine roses are not endangered, on the contrary, they are thriving on abandoned alps and therefore not protected, except in a few regions.
Alpine roses are not a rose species from the rose family of Rosaceae; they belong to the Rhododendron genus which is part of the heath family Ericacea. Alpine roses are evergreen woody shrubs reaching over 100 years of age and distributed in the European alpine range up to 2800m altitude.
After talking to Urs about where to find the alpine roses, we drove up a very tiny curvy road into the Tuors valley until the road ended. We put our mountain shoes on, rubbed some sunscreen on our face, grabbed the camera and hiked up to the place (2000 m) which had described to us.
Urs and his family had collected in the surroundings dozens of kgs of Alpine rose leaves during summer. It’s hard manual work, but the harvesting method is simple. The leaves are carefully picked with gloves protecting the fingers from the twigs. The leaves are regenerated in the following year, like the woody alpine rose bushes, why the practice is sustainable. Following a sustainable practice is very important for Mibelle Biochemistry.
The controlled wildcrafting gives Mibelle Biochemistry the chance to extract leaves from plants stressed by natural environmental factors with temperature gradients from 0 to 40°C and extremely high UV irradiation. During the winter alpine roses are covered by snow for many months. It was shown that stressed plants synthesize higher concentrations of protective secondary metabolites (adaptogens) compared with plants growing in greenhouse conditions.
After taking pictures of alpine roses in this beautiful region, we made the descent to Bergün before driving back to the Swiss lowlands. We know that our alpine rose supply is in good hands!