Pinzgau's Natural Medicine
The Pinzgau region, tucked between Tirol and Bavaria, is a quintessential Alpine environment, with its forests, meadows and magnificent farms. Over the centuries the mountain dwellers of Pinzgau, often living isolated from the rest of the world, have found novel ways to survive, existing on what they could find on their doorstep.
Natural medicines on display in Pinzgau, Photo: Birgit Buchart
With his motto "ubi malum ibi remedium" - "where there's an illness, there's a remedy" Paracelsus (1493 - 1541), philosopher, doctor, alchemist and mystic, encapsulates the philosophy of natural medicine which is a tradition in Pinzgau. His grave can be found nearby, at St. Sebastian's church in the city of Salzburg.
The traditional natural medicine practiced by the people of Pinzgau has its roots firmly in the region's forests, meadows, lakes and rivers. "Pech", the resin of pine trees, is an essential ingredient of this form of medicine. Resin from larch trees is particularly powerful; blended with other resins it becomes milder and more easily tolerated. This traditional knowledge was handed down but with no written instruction by experienced natural medicine practitioners to selected students. Recently it has been elevated and made generally accessible. The knowledge will be conserved as Traditional European Natural Medicine (TEH), as a concept and in accordance with nature.
You can experience the fragrance, beauty and taste of the region's herbs and wild flowers by joining a medicinal herb guided ramble or following a sign-posted medicinal herb trail. This is an intoxicating journey through the plants of Pinzgau, which not only improve your health, but also waken your joie de vivre. Many of the herbs spice up our food, help us relax, or invigorate body and soul.
The TEH Association which is based in Unken offers a varied educational programme: As well as joining a medicinal herb guided ramble, visitors can learn about the preparation of herbal and pine resin salves and tinctures. You can also enjoy a tasting of regional specialities or dine on menus in which wild herbs, flowers and wild vegetables play a delicious part.
Saalachtal's Natural Medicine Festival takes place in June and explores a new theme every year. This annual festival is the flagship event for the Traditional European Natural Medicine Society. It offers a platform for regional traditional herbal medicine and invites experts and practitioners from the region to give lectures and demonstrations.