English · Français
Forum Synergie

Linking sustainable practices throughout Europe

[EXP] TEH -Traditional European Medicine, a local network promoting traditional medicinal knowledge

Safeguard of traditional knowledge supports rural development

Rural topic(s): Herbs and health in rural areas

Type: Success story

Date of writing: January 25, 2018

Author(s) of this page: Karin Buchart

Organization(s): TEH (Traditional European Healing)


The TEH association explores and promotes traditional medicinal knowledge in the region of Pinzgau. Main goal is to spread this knowledge. Since its beginning in 2005 the association has become a bigger network involving different actors mainly on a local scale


Description of activities

Background and goal

A scientific research that was carried out from 2005 to 2007 about the traditional knowledge and use of medicinal plants and folk medicine in the region of Pinzgau was one of the stepping stones for the foundation of the association.

Based on that research we have decided to build our activities upon mainly 55 medicinal plants with positive ESCOP monograph status (ESCOP = European Scientific Community on Phytotherapy. They publish monographs about plants with scientifically proven evidence for healing).

In 2010 “The Healing Knowledge of Pinzgau people” was awarded by the Austrian UNESCO agency as “Intangible Cultural Heritage” (www.unesco.at/kultur/immaterielles-kulturerbe/oesterreichisches-verzeichnis/detail/article/heilwissen-der-pinzgauerinnen/, DE) and is listed in the national inventory.

Since then we have dedicated our work mainly to spreading our findings to the public. We want to reach e.g. young families and enable them to make use of recipes proven to be feasible in their everyday lives. We offer education and training courses partly in cooperation with a regional lifelong learning institution (WIFI - www.wifisalzburg.at/eshop/suche.aspx?st=teh , DE)

As a consequence our association has turned to a wider network involving about 900 actors so far (members, farmers, especially farm women, producers, teachers, employees). Thanks to these activities and a local shop that opened in 2010 we could create new (part time) jobs for 14 persons - mainly women for whom it is normally rather difficult to find a good job in their region


• Offering a knowledge transfer platform about traditional medicine

• Education and training

• Development and production of herbal products

• Running a shop

• Publications

• Running of public herbal gardens



• to cover the rising demand for regionally grown and collected herbs,

• to meet high, complex and restrictive legal regulations. This is a topic extremely difficult to handle especially for small farmers. So that is why we see our intermediate role as an association as an important one.

Next steps:

• We intend to put high effort on the motivation of farmers to start or enlarge herb production in the region

• To invest further into the product development in the cosmetic sector


Information gathered (January 2018) as part of preparation for the 2nd European Herb Gathering



Scale of intervention : Local

Keywords: direct selling, medicinal and aromatic plants, traditional knowledge, safeguard of knowledge, women, gardening

Places: Austria

Actors: association, private sector, network, platform, forum, small-scale farmer

Methods: training workshop, networking, information diffusion, training/capacity-building, research and training