From plant to medicinal product
Sophisticated quality assurance measures ensure the consistently high quality of Bionorica medicinal products. The more that Bionorica can standardise a process, the greater the reproducibility of the quality of the results. The selection of the seeds, determination of locations for cultivating the plants, aspects such as fertilisation and pest control, as well as framework conditions for planting, harvesting the plants and their further processing into a medicinal product, are all subject to strict control. In addition, each batch that is harvested is documented through a detailed life history before it is further processed into a Bionorica medicinal product. Furthermore, the GACP standards (Good Agricultural and Collection Practices) are adhered to during the cultivation, harvesting and post-harvesting processes.
Everything starts with the seed
Our work starts long before cultivation. Before a high-quality medicinal plant can be cultivated, a variety must be found with a suitable pattern of ingredients, which involves a sophisticated and lengthy process. To this end, crops of naturally occurring medicinal plants are planted and characterised in relation to their medicinal suitability. Once a plant is found that has the suitable ingredients, its profile is safeguarded, i.e. its genetic characteristics are recorded. The seed for cultivation is derived from this. The unique seed, often developed over many years, that is used for cultivating Bionorica medicinal plants is not genetically modified.
Even when extracts exhibit high pharmacological efficacy, one plant is not the same as the next. Before a plant is made available for further processing into Bionorica medicinal products, it must comply with very specific criteria and go through many processes laid down beforehand to ensure compliance.
Medicinal plants grow best in their natural habitat
We cultivate the plants where they are endemic, whenever possible. In this process, Bionorica does not enter into competition with traditional farming, but offers local farmers long-term partnerships. This means we are creating jobs in regions with little infrastructure. As a rule, the selection of the site, cultivation of the seedlings, crop management and plant protection are tailored to the individual plant requirements and implemented in as environmentally friendly a manner as possible. Only those contract farmers who adhere strictly to Bionorica guidelines and have acquired an eco-certificate are employed.
Already during cultivation, the most up-to-date technology is used. For example, irrigation and fertilisation are precisely tailored to the respective soil and weather conditions. The factors that affect the cultivated plants must be held constant and each phase of cultivation of the medicinal plant that is relevant to quality must be documented in detail, from planting the seed, through management and harvesting, to the subsequent inspection, sorting and processing. In addition, the botanical identity of the plant material that is cultivated is recorded and documented in such a way that it is always traceable. Each plant is given the best possible growing conditions. For example, the coneflower (Echinacea) is cultivated on Mallorca.
High quality thanks to patented methods for further processing
The great care taken by Bionorica in the development of its own seed and during the controlled cultivation of the medicinal plants obviously also extends to harvesting the plants and processing them. We do justice to the high quality of our raw materials during their further processing: we use up-to-date processes and techniques. For example, we have developed a specific vacuum drying method that preserves the high content of essential oils and flavonoids in the extract. This means that the complex, natural compounds in the plants are preserved across all steps in production, allowing them to develop their full efficacy in the medicinal product. These finishing methods are patented.
Nature is our most important source of raw materials. It is self-evident that we treat her with the greatest respect in every sense. Sustainable processing methods, like the energy-saving method for concentrating liquid extracts developed in-house by Bionorica and environmentally friendly solvents like ethanol, ensure responsible handling of natural resources.