Alfred Vogel Museum and Organic Show Garden, Switzerland

Site Visit Report


Alfred Vogel in field of purple coneflowers

Photo courtesy of A.Vogel Blog

Alfred Vogel was introduced to echinacea by Ben Black Elk, a medicine man of the Oglala Lakota tribe.

The Foundation for Alternative and Integrative Medicine (FAIM) staff members visited what was formerly Dr. Vogel's home and clinic and now is the Alfred Vogel Museum and Organic Show Garden in the municipality of Tuefen and canton of Appenzellis. It is situated on a steep hill with a breathtaking view.

Dr. Vogel was a renowned Swiss nutritionist, herbalist and naturopath. In the pursuit of helping people, he passionately practiced phytotherapy until he passed away in 1996 at the age of 94. Dr. Vogel spent a lifetime advising his customers on the importance of healthy nutrition and lifestyle as well as the marvelous healing power of nature. His philosophy is presented in several books. The most popular is The Nature Doctor; translated into 12 languages and has sold over two million copies.

Dr. Vogel traveled the world lecturing, studying and discovering traditional medical uses of plants. One such discovery came from his friendship with Black Eagle, a Native American Dakota elder, who gave him the seeds of echinacea purpurea to be shared with the world. This plant, now the flagship product of many herbal product companies, has the property of enhancing the immune system to help counterattack viruses and bacteria.

Dr. Vogel was a proponent of preparing herbal tinctures using fresh instead of dry herbs. This important innovation was sustained by his research and clinical experience, which showed the superiority of fresh preparations.


In a desire to offer these products to his clients, Dr. Vogel founded the company Bioforce. When the demand for his products increased dramatically, he expanded the company to Roggwil in the Swiss canton of Thurgau. Bioforce is now a leading company in the field of herbal tinctures and natural products, and distributes its products worldwide.

For his obituary in the magazine, Herbalgram, a natural products developer and educator said, "Dr. Vogel was already into his 90s 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."


Remo Vetter, an organic agriculture expert and protégé of Dr. Vogel, gave FAIM staff members a tour of the facility. In the gardens where herbs and vegetables are grown, Mr. Vetter emphasized Dr. Vogel's message about the importance of proper nutrition from organically grown products. He pointed out that organic gardening and farming do not have to be overburdening because one can adopt techniques that allow nature to do most of the work. These ideas are presented in his book The Lazy Gardener (published in German but not yet in English).

Remo Vetter organizes small seminars at the newly restructured museum. In these courses many of Dr. Vogel's principles are shared with participants who leave with a firm understanding of how nutrition and health go hand in hand.

Course Principles

  • You are what you eat! Eating should be pleasurable and good for health. Food should be organic and as fresh and natural as possible so it will taste good and also be healthy.
  • Make sure that you eat foodstuffs that are as natural as possible as well as being rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Fats in the form of good vegetable oils and fish, which contain omega fatty acids, are recommended.
  • Eat slowly and chew well. (Well chewed is half digested.) Eat light meals in the evening such as vegetable dishes, salads, thin soups and fresh fruit.
  • Food should be fresh and well prepared (not cooked in fat) to retain valuable nutrients. Hot dishes lose of lot of nutrients in the process of cooking. They should never be reheated. Ready made or pre cooked products should be avoided; when this is not possible, check the vitamin and mineral content and opt for something such as frozen or canned.
  • Get into the habit of going for a walk after meals. This is good for both respiration and digestion.
  • Set aside fasting days. Single, or if possible, regular days set aside as juice only, fruit only, sauerkraut or rice only days can be beneficial to the gut.
  • Drink less coffee and alcohol. Give up nicotine. These substances tend to irritate organs such as the stomach and intestines.
  • Make meals more appetizing by using herbs, sprouts, shoots, garlic, grated horseradish and lemon juice. Eating should be a pleasurable experience.
  • Eat in moderation. Alfred Vogel believed that we could reduce the amount we eat by 40 to 50 percent and still get all the nourishment we need.

Alfred Vogel himself lived mainly as a vegetarian and ate a naturally alkaline, whole food diet with a high proportion of raw food just as people living in harmony with nature still do today.