Speick Natural Cosmetics are the only products in the world that contain the extract of the Speick plant, which has been prized for centuries for its exceptional soothing and harmonizing properties. The company was producing natural cosmetics long before public awareness created a booming market for natural skin care products. The tried and tested, effective line of hair, shave, fragrance, and body care products are crafted with the rare Alpine valerian plant – Valeriana celtica – which is highly aromatic and healing.
It was in 1928 that anthroposophist Walter Rau established the “WALTER RAU Fine Soap Works”, a real risk in the midst of a crisis-shaken economy. As the offspring of the Stuttgart-based family business “United Soap Factories”, Rau wanted to continue the soap-making tradition of his parents. However, this was not enough – he dreamt of manufacturing more than just the curd soap that was popular for washing clothes in those days. His idea was to produce a gentle, natural body soap that would be useful even for shaving. This idea was teamed with a special fascination – Rau was inspired by the unique harmonising medicinal properties of the Speick plant, (Lat. Valeriana celtica), which had been prized for centuries. It became his vision to harness the benefits of this almost forgotten plant, and to make them accessible to people again. A unique product emerged from this fascination and vision: Speick soap. This natural, extramild soap was a cosmetic revolution – for body care!
In 2018, the company celebrates its 90th birthday and the natural cosmetics manufacturer is now in its third generation, managed by Wikhart Teuffel, the grandson of Walter Rau. Rau wanted to create something of value for people, based on a holistic understanding of humankind and nature. The company continues to work on those principles even today. Wikhart Teuffel can see how vital it is that “tradition has a future” through the Carinthian Alpine farming families in Austria, who harvest the wild-growing Speick plant. The family farm has been taken over by the next generation and with it, the Speick harvest – by hand, as it has been for centuries. Approximately 1,800 metres above sea level, high up in the Nock Mountains Biosphere Reserve, the Speick harvest ensures that these families have an essential, additional source of income.
Employees of the family business who have visited the Nock Mountains and the alpine farmers that harvest the Speick plant left with an awareness of the finite availability of natural resources, as in the alpine ecosystem of the Carinthian Nock Mountains, and how “being human” is inextricably linked to the natural universe.
THE VERSATILE CURATIVE PLANT
The fascinating aspect of Speick as a medicinal plant is its balancing effect. In other words, Speick has a calming effect on the central nervous system while simultaneously stimulating the vegetative nervous system. Speick relaxes without tiring and revitalises the body and mind. Even in ancient times, Speick was recognised as a healing plant and was highly esteemed. The famous doctor Galen cured Emperor Marc Aurel’s stomach problems with Speick steeped in olive or almond oil. In the Renaissance, in his ‘Kreutterbuch’ [‘Herb book’], the scholar Pietro Andrea Mattioli recommended drinking Speick in wine as a stomach-healing remedy, which also strengthens the kidneys and bladder. Mattioli also described the Speick trade relations to Syria and Egypt via the reloading points Venice and Genoa. In the middle of the 19th century, Speick was still used very seldomly in Europe, but it was another story in the Orient, where large quantities were exported.
In the Orient, valuable Speick oil has always been prized as part of a body care regime. The medicinal plant was applied to the skin with warm baths and massages. Eventually, the plant fell into complete oblivion in Europe. Walter Rau rediscovered the Speick plant and was instantly fascinated by it. He decided to incorporate the healing powers of the plant into a gentle, natural soap for body care: the Speick Natural Soap. In 1936, after centuries of overexploitation, the Speick plant was threatened with extinction and was placed under protection. A scientific study later supported something which the farmers already instinctively knew – that the plant reproduces best of all when a partial harvesting model is used under controlled conditions, which is exactly how our certified biologically regulated wild harvesting is structured.
RICH IN TRADITIONS
Speick is not only a botanical rarity and there are numerous myths surrounding the plant. Speick is harvested during the “30 Days of Women and Herbs”, which is the time from Assumption Day on 15th August to The Feast of the Holy Name of Mary on 12th September. Speick is one of the plants that has been given a special role in the ceremonial driving down of cattle from the mountain pastures into the valley in autumn. In the past, Speick played an important role in the twelve nights between Christmas and the Epiphany and was used as beneficial incense. It’s also interesting to know that in the old days, people practised Speick arrest or Speick sittings. Anyone caught stealing or committing adultery, for example, was locked in a Speick barn, after which they smelled of Speick for weeks.
SPEICK NATURAL COSMETICS TODAY
The wide range of Speick products for body, face care, fragrances and more, with their classic natural Speick fragrance have an unmistakable natural freshness with top quality ingredients and are Palm oil free formulas with energised water and are dermatologically and allergologically tested. The concentrated precious ingredients in the intensive face care range contain the highly effective coenzyme Q10. This plays a key role in cellular energy production and in stimulating the growth of new cells. It keeps cell membranes functioning at their best, protects them against free radicals and can prevent the formation of wrinkles. Extracts of the leaves and fruit from the baobab tree, sourced from a fair-trade women’s project in Burkina Faso have an antioxidant effect, calming the skin with valuable vitamins and minerals. The Thermal range uses Pure thermal water from the Schlangenbad spa mineral springs, taken directly from the source, containing silicic acid and concentrated algae extract from Brittany. The Men’s product range is made with carefully selected ingredients of a similar type that ease the burden on the skin’s membrane function.
This reduces susceptibility to allergies and supports the skin’s natural functions and contain plants farmed from biologically regulated cultivation and a fragrant blend of pure essential oils. All products come in biodegradable packaging made from renewable raw materials. SPEICK is the way to go!
Information Courtesy: Speick Naturkosmetik Germany for pictures and www.speick.de fo text.