One of the benefits of a Zeller visit for students of pharmacy is the possibility to observe the entire production chain of a herbal medicine from the cultured plant in the field to the finished pharmaceutical product. This seed-to-patient chain was the focus of both the lectures and the tours of the pharmaceutical production and laboratory facilities in Romanshorn. The students were very impressed by the complexity of the research, production and quality control necessary for the manufacture of high quality herbal medicines.
(Dr. Alexander Schenk)
There were interesting discussions about the work of pharmacists in the pharmaceutical industry, as well as on the differences in quality of herbal medicines and so called botanicals (dietary supplements).
Taking advantage of the hot summer weather, there was an excursion to Vitaplant in Uttwil situated on Lake Constance. Vitaplant is one of the few companies in the world that specializes in both breeding medicinal plants and the establishment of agricultural cultivation of medicinal plants on all five continents.
Dr. Alexander Schenk led the students on a tour through the medicinal plant garden, through the computer-controlled greenhouses and GMP warehouse as well as viewing plants growing on the fields such as St. John’s wort at the six-hectare research facility. Here the significance of thousands of years of experience together with modern medical-scientific knowledge for modern phytotherapy was highlighted. From the extremely diverse selection of plants viewed in the fields and greenhouses, it was clear that Vitaplant is playing a highly significant role in many agricultural-pharmaceutical projects.