"Edelweiss - isn't it protected by law?" We encounter such or similar questions again and again. The customers of 48grams pay close attention to the ingredients of our creams, masks and serums. Therefore, we will answer the most important questions about the valuable ingredients of our products in this blog from now on - and in loose succession. Today it's about... surprise... the origin of the Edelweiss extract used in the Skin Repair cream. As an encore, we took the liberty of writing down the most readable facts and the most exciting myths surrounding the "Star of the Alps".
Harvest legally instead of picking illicitly
One thing up front: 48grams uses only biological active ingredients. Anyone who knows this and then sees that we use Edelweiss has every right to question the origin of the extract. Because: The Leontopodium Alpinem, so the botanical technical term, is considered - varying in the origin - as "protected" to "endangered". The consequence is nevertheless the same: Whether you discover the flower of the aristocracy in Germany, Switzerland or Austria: Hands off! It must not be picked. Otherwise there are severe penalties. Judges can impose fines of up to 15,000 euros for "robbers". The fact that the approximately 20 centimeter high plant can be used nevertheless - and fortunately - has a simple reason: Everywhere in the alpine region there are farms, which cultivated large surfaces with the "eternal flower". On mountain areas at altitudes of at least 1000 meters, they thrive magnificently and are in no way inferior to their sisters grown on the slopes, both in beauty and in the richness of their ingredients. This is good news - because we at 48grams want only the best products of nature. That's why we also source the Edelweiss extracts from one of the largest organic farmers in Switzerland.
Antioxidants & Tannins
Now that the question of "where from" has been clarified, it is time to take a closer look at the numerous possible uses of this member of the composite family. First and foremost, of course, in the field of cosmetics. The Leontopodium is a real survivor. It "immigrated" from Central Asia to the Alps after the end of the last ice age (10,000 years ago). And has established itself only in the highest mountain regions. The Edelweiss is therefore naturally exposed to extreme climatic conditions - and high UV radiation. Researchers discovered long ago that the "star of the Alps" must have extreme defensive powers - and also learned to use the effect. The Edelweiss is a true "anti-aging" flower. The plant's active ingredients include antioxidants in high concentrations. So exactly the substance that defuses free radicals in humans and thus protects against aging of the skin. In addition, secondary substances such as tannins - in large quantities - have also been detected in the "silver star". All this has a positive effect on human skin. Skincare Pope Bernd Kuhs swears by the extracts from the alpine flower: "No other plant combines a comparable and so effective amount of protective active substances on itself, as the Edelweiss. A real fountain of youth."
Medicinal plant of the year 2019
That alone would explain the title of "Medicinal Plant of the Year 2019." But the possibilities of the extracts go even further. It is not without reason that the daisy is also called "Bauchwehbleaml" in the Alpine region - that is, a tummy ache flower. Stem and leaves are boiled with milk and honey and administered as a potion for stomach or intestinal complaints. Folk medicine also relies on the Edelweiss because of the Leoligin compounds it contains. They have a positive effect on the heart and blood vessels, lower cholesterol levels and protect against vascular calcification. Also worth mentioning are the so-called flavonoids. This plant pigment protects against the formation of spider veins and couperose.
Myths and fiction
After so much information about the effects, the entertaining part should not be neglected. There are many myths about the Edelweiss. Many of them are exaggerations of the truth, most of them even pure fiction. The most famous claim is that the "Star of the Alps" is the greatest proof of love to a woman - only particularly daring men would be able to pick the flower for a beloved. This legend is based on the second film in the 1956 "Sissi" trilogy, in which Emperor Franzl is seen climbing a steep face to pick the flower for his Sissi. In fact, however, the mountain people have always considered the alpine rose to be proof of genuine affection - it is considered the most beautiful flower in the mountains. There were even prominent voices that could not get along with the Edelweiss. For example, after a trip to Switzerland in 1881, U.S. writer Mark Twain noted remarks about an "ugly Swiss favorite flower," saying the blossom was even the "color of cigar ash."
The Sound of the Edelweiss
Incidentally, the flower, considered aristocratic, could never have achieved this status without the Salzburg naturalist Karl von Moll. In a study of 1785, he named his object of research „Edelweiss" for the first time - thus deviating from the previously common names "lion's foot" or "felt flower". However, it would take until the middle of the 19th century for the new term to become established among botanists. The alpine flower then achieved real world fame through the 1959 U.S. movie musical "The Sound of Music," one of the songs being entitled "Edelweiss." The melody was so catchy - and for Americans so closely associated with Austrian tradition - that it even triggered a faux pax on the international political stage in the mid-1980s: when Federal President Rudolf Kirchschläger traveled from Vienna to Washington in 1984, the band mistakenly did not play his anthem. According to legend, then U.S. President Ronald Reagan personally believed that "Edelweiss" was the federal song - and had this information passed on to the brass band.
Mountain guides and farmers
Finally, to come back to the aspect of nature conservation. Even today, the Edelweiss is "plucked" on the mountain. Then there is also sometimes an incident with celebrities. In 2019, presenter Michelle Hunziker was photographed climbing in the Bernese mountains with fresh Edelweiss on the lapel of her thermal jacket. The shitstorm was not long in coming. The Swiss native countered that she received the flower as a gift from her mountain guide - and he grows the plants himself. But she also saw something positive in the attack - in a video posted afterwards, she said, "It gives me a chance to talk about important issues like conservation."
Endangered but no longer threatened
In the past, the Hunziker cause would hardly have been noticed by the
population. Picking an Edelweiss was long considered a peccadillo - but
was done with great finesse. At the beginning of the 20th century, the
mountain patrols often had to become the plant police - and fight the
battle against the thieves. They found the stolen goods in water bottles, in
bread boxes (with double bottoms, of course), in the gathered-up sleeves
of mountain shirts or under the sweatbands of hats. "The thieves display a
high degree of creativity," recorded an Alpine policeman in 1928.
Today, fortunately, the understanding is different. The measures taken by
conservationists, authorities and farmers have meant that the Alpine
Edelweiss is at least no longer on the list of endangered plants.