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History of German Remedies

A long-standing tradition focused on wellness.

An interesting question regarding medical history: When did medicine actually arise in human history? The answer is quite remarkable because it did not develop, as one would suspect, based on extraordinary human intelligence. Rather, primitive man, close to nature, observed animals. By instinct, animals search for certain medicinal herbs and plants when ill. For example: “The dog taken by fever seeks rest in a quiet corner, but is found eating herbs when his stomach is upset. Nobody taught him what herbs to eat, but he will instinctively seek those that make him vomit or improve his condition in some other way.” – Henry Sigerist, American physician, 1951.¹

In modern Germany, there are more than 100,000 biological remedies available. These remedies are manufactured by several hundred companies and are distributed by thousands of pharmacies. This production and distribution system first emerged in the nineteenth century - possibly even earlier.

Centuries ago, when doctors would write a prescription, the patient himself went to the pharmacist where the prescription was prepared from scratch solely for that particular ailment. When a formula became very popular because of its good results, the pharmacist would begin to prepare a certain quantity in advance. Naturally this process led to small, and eventually larger, manufacturing facilities.

These pharmaceutical companies grew solely on the basis of consistently good results and a high volume of demand. Consequently, the companies established themselves on results and reputation. Healthcare professionals did not concoct or “cookbook” formulas to quickly put together an easy sale using clever marketing tactics. Instead, with their limited resources they relied on remedies which had proven themselves to be safe and effective over several decades.

Of course, all remedies are standardized² and pharmaceutical grade. This means each active ingredient is always present in the same concentration, as tested via high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).

We now benefit from the decades of fine work these great pharmacists and physicians accomplished.


¹ “Wild Health, How Animals Keep Themselves Well and What We Can Learn From Them,”
Cindy Engel, 2002, Houghton Mifflin Company.

² For German companies, the term “standardized” means: The extraction process must be reproducible in relation to a precise concentration of one or more active ingredients. This does not mean isolated ingredients; all herbs have a natural composition ratio of their chemicals.
Uncontrolled variations, which can occur from harvest to harvest, are not accepted. For example, Nestmann’s emphasis is to exclude extreme high or low variations so that the same effectiveness of each remedy is always guaranteed.