In his book, pharmacist Christoph Bachmann shows how plants heal


The well-known Lucerne pharmacist Christoph Bachmann has written a book about herbal remedies

First give the medicinal plants a chance. That is the motto of Christoph Bachmann, who has managed the Hirschmatt pharmacy for decades. In his new book, he provides a useful overview of herbal remedies.

Christoph Bachmann in the medicinal plant garden of the Lucerne Pharmacists’ Association in the Wesemlin monastery.

Image: Boris Bürgisser (June 30, 2021)

Wanting to introduce Christoph Bachmann in more detail almost inevitably evokes the phrase “carrying water into the Reuss”. At least in Lucerne and the surrounding area. The 68-year-old ran the Hirschmatt pharmacy for 32 years and is well known. It was not until the end of last year that he retired from his job and closed the pharmacy.

Now he’s unemployed to come up with the next figure of speech. For example, he is currently working in Munich. And he just published a book. “It’s a kind of professional legacy,” he says. In the book, he advocates using herbal remedies whenever possible before resorting to chemicals. In addition to general explanations and justifications, in which he also goes into the thousands of years of experience with medicinal plants, the work presents specific plants arranged according to health areas (box).

Why does he recommend products and not just plants?

One could now ask the critical question as to why Christoph Bachmann does not simply describe and recommend the plants themselves, but primarily products based on these plants. Of course, there are also commercial interests on the part of manufacturers, drugstores and pharmacies. “It takes a lot of knowledge to look for the right plants and use them correctly,” the doctor of pharmacy points out. “The advantage of these products is that their composition is standardized and coordinated.”

And on business: “Schwabe Pharma, the largest manufacturer of herbal products in Switzerland, has an annual turnover of less than 1 billion Swiss francs. A pharmaceutical multinational can achieve multiples with a single drug.” Bachmann is bothered by the fact that health insurance companies often do not pay for herbal products. This in turn makes research less attractive. “90 percent of all plants have never been examined for possible healing powers. The potential is enormous.”

“Nature is like a shower, chemistry like a pressure jet”

But what is the advantage of plant-based products compared to purely chemical products? “The latter usually consist of a single active ingredient, while various substances work together in herbal products,” explains Bachmann. “This increases tolerability and reduces side effects. You can compare it to a shower, whereas the chemistry is more of a high-pressure jet.”

Bachmann is by no means opposed to conventional medicine and chemistry in principle. “There are situations in which only chemistry can help. But I would argue that herbal products should be considered and that this should also be discussed with your family doctor.” With his book, which in terms of amount of information and clarity is as well dosed as a good remedy, Christoph Bachmann offers the perfect basis for this.

The book: From St. John’s Wort to Butterbur

The topics of the book show immediately that almost everyone could feel addressed: In the case of stress or depressive states, for example, Christoph Bachmann addresses the well-known and controversial St. John’s wort. Many plants help with respiratory problems, and for laypeople there are also surprises such as elder or primula. Not only classics like chamomile work in favor of digestion, but also dandelion, for example. And who is never plagued by flatulence. One would like to know that fennel or anise, for example, help against this. Blood circulation is a big topic, for example in the context of blood pressure. There are products based on hawthorn, for example. The book also explains why older men in particular should chew pumpkin seeds. Products for the musculoskeletal system, skin, eyes and throat are also presented. And those who suffer from hay fever will read the chapter on butterbur with particular interest. (are)

Christoph Bachmann: More nature – less chemistry. Cameo, 220 pages, CHF 26.90.