Natural Foods Merchandiser

Herb Walk with the experts at Cylburn Arboretum

For many of the past 15 years, New Hope Natural Media has hosted an herb walk as one of the featured events in conjunction with Natural Products Expo East. Herbal experts such as Christopher Hobbs, "Herbal" Ed Smith, Brigitte Mars and David Winston have shared their knowledge with Herb Walk attendees in one of the East Coast's oldest and most beautiful botanical gardens—Baltimore's Cylburn Arboretum.

This year's Herb Walk With the Experts is sponsored by Bioforce USA, and will be led by Mars and myself. On Wednesday, Oct. 4, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., we will once again tour the Cylburn Arboretum, a 207-acre preserve that includes marked nature trails, a nature museum, an ornithological room and a horticultural library that is housed in a restored stone mansion.

The Arboretum began as the private estate of businessman Jesse Tyson, who started construction of Cylburn Mansion in 1863. The house was completed in 1888 and remains intact. The estate became the Cylburn Wildflower Preserve and Garden Center in 1954, and in 1982, was renamed the Cylburn Arboretum Association. Today, the arboretum contains an extensive collection of trees and woody shrubs based loosely on Tyson's original plantings, including azaleas, bamboo, beeches, boxwoods, chestnuts, conifers, hollies, Japanese maples, magnolias, maples, Maryland oaks and viburnums. Also typically growing are numerous common herbs such as echinacea, lemon balm, sages, mints and a host of other tea and aromatic medicinals. In addition, the Cylburn has one of the largest ginkgo trees in the United States.

The arboretum includes flower and vegetable gardens, as well as greenhouses designed and built in the 1960s by Lord & Burnham. The greenhouses are used to grow plants for the city's parks, and are not open to the general public.

Bioforce USA is a natural choice to sponsor this year's Herb Walk With the Experts. Bioforce was started in Switzerland by Dr. Alfred Vogel, a renowned natural health pioneer. Vogel, who was inspired by his herbalist grandmother, opened a health food store before he was 18 years old, was a vegetarian for 60 of his 94 years and was instrumental in bringing natural healing back to life throughout Europe. He is probably best remembered in the United States for his book The Nature Doctor (Keats Publishing, 1991) and for founding Bioforce in 1963.

Vogel's natural medicine influence extended far beyond Switzerland. While traveling through the American plains, Vogel met a Dakota Indian chief named Wambli Sapa (translated as Black Eagle) who introduced him to an important Dakota medicine, the purple coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia). Vogel was instrumental in introducing this botanical to Europe. Many long-time health food industry and herb enthusiasts have wonderful memories of meeting Vogel on retailer excursions sponsored by Bioforce over the past 40 years, until Vogel's death in 1996. While Vogel is gone, his legacy in his teachings and the principles upon which Bioforce was based continue.

This year's Herb Walk With the Experts will include a walk, tour of the Cylburn mansion and lunch. Buses will leave from the Baltimore Convention Center outside the Pratt Street lobby. Price for the tour is $45. Register early, as the Herb Walk is one of the most popular events at Expo and fills up fast.

For more information about the walk, visit: and click on the expo planner. For more information on the Cylburn Arboretum, visit

Roy Upton, R.H., is general manager of Scotts Valley, Calif.-based Planetary Formulas and executive director of the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVII/number 10/p. 30

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