Speick Blog

Prized, cherished, forgotten – and rediscovered

The Speick plant is not just a botanical rarity. It quite literally has a fascinating history of use – being cherished and almost worshipped over centuries.

The plant was already in use in the Roman Empire and Palestine in the BC era – although this involved the navigation of long trade routes. It has also been established that the Speick plant was long prized in Asia in the form of fragrance and care oils as well as as a medicine. Legend has it that the physician Galen cured the stomach illness of his patient, Emperor Marc Aurel, with Speick extract in olive and almond oil.

In the Renaissance period, the physician and botanist Pietro Andrea Mattioli recommended a mixture of wine and Speick as a cure for stomach ills in his “Book of Herbs”. Mattioli also described the busy trade routes to Syria and Egypt via the trade centres Venice or Genoa – making the Speick plant a real globetrotter.

Both soothing and invigorating

The Speick plant was already cited in historical “drug books” as having a calming effect on the central nervous system while simultaneously stimulating the vegetative nervous system, and harmonising the two. The same thing that we find so amazing about the effect of the Speick plant was already recognised and prized in earlier times: Speick relaxes without tiring – and revitalises both the body and soul.

In the mid-19th century – in the context of increasing industrialisation – people in Europe rarely made use of the Speick plant. This was very different in Asia, where large quantities were still being imported. Eventually, the plant was almost completely forgotten in Europe.

Rediscovery in the 1920s

Walter Rau rediscoverd the Speick plant in the 1920s and was fascinated from the first second. He decided to incorporate the unique plant into a gentle, natural soap for body care: Speick soap was born in 1928.

In 1936, after centuries of overexploitation, the Speick plant was threatened with extinction and was placed under protection. Then, a scientific study in the 1990s supported something which the alpine farmers already instinctively knew – that the plant reproduces best of all when a partial, and thereby sustainable, harvesting model is used, which is exactly how our biologically regulated wild harvesting is structured.

Using these sustainable methods, the special, high alpine Speick plant is continuing its unique legacy in each of our products. This is something we take joy in and also something that makes us a little proud.

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