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Alfred Vogel: 1902-1996.
Naturopath, herbalist, lecturer, author, and businessman, Alfred Vogel lived long and productively for the benefit of humankind. His first book, Small Guide to Healthy Living, was published in 1923. Among his other books, his most famous, the 800-plus-page The Nature Doctor, was translated from German into 12 other languages. By the time of publication of the 50th English edition, sales had surpassed two million.

Alfred Vogel was born in Aesch, Switzerland, in 1902. As a child, he was introduced to the benefits of herbalism by his grandmother and his father, both knowledgeable herbalists.

As a young man in 1920, with the help of his father, he set up shop in Basel, Switzerland. The 18-year-old entrepreneur was soon busy selling herbs and lecturing,on the benefits of exercise, health foods, and herbal remedies, with skepticism toward establishment medicine.

In 1929, he began publishing the monthly magazine New Life, which ran until World War II. Retitled Health News, he started it up again in 1943. In the 1950s, Dr. Vogel began his world travels, gathering tribal lore and many varieties of herbs for his customers. He traveled in the Americas, Africa, and Asia. Throughout Dr. Vogel's travels, he always found his own ideals confirmed: To "be moderate and live in tune with nature" is the best guarantee for well-being and health.

Once, on a trip through the United States, Black Eagle, chief of the Dakota tribe, drew Dr. Vogel's attention to the purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), a Native American medicinal used for many ailments. Alfred Vogel was instrumental in making echinacea, among many other herbal remedies, available worldwide.

Dr. Vogel received an honorary doctorate of medicinal botany from the University of Califonia, Los Angeles, in 1952. In 1963, Mr. Vogel founded the Swiss company, Bioforce, to market products extracted from fresh herbs. His company exports herbs and natural food products to dozens of countries. Alfred Vogel pioneered the use of fresh herbal extracts as medicinals, using the entire plant or part of a plant, rather than trying to isolate one active ingredient. He championed the idea of the wisdom of nature throughout his long life.

Says Art Presser, R.Ph., an herb and natural products developer and educator, "Dr. Vogel was already into his nineties when I met him, but was still blessed with a remarkably straight posture, amazing vitality, and an uncaged and enthusiastic zest for life. He was certainly living proof of the value of his lifestyle, fundamentals, and natural medicine beliefs."

Article copyright American Botanical Council.


By Wali Stopher