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Researchers from the SIA “Field and Forest” and Institute for Environmental Solutions are about to finish 3-year field research on 5 medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs), which has been carried out in the experimental garden located in Priekuļi municipality in Latvia.

This is the final season of the field work in experimental garden. It has been dedicated to research on 5 medicinal and aromatic plants – valerian (Valeriana officinalis L.), chamomile (Matricaria recutita), echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia), common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), and siler (Saposhnikovia divaricata), their morphological and biochemical parameters, genetic diversity, stability of yield and other parameters. As a result, the research team will select the genotypes of above mentioned plants that are the most suitable to Latvia’s climate conditions, as well as develop innovative methodology for organic cultivation of high value MAPs.

Root of valerian in experimental gardens in Priekuļi municipality. Image: SIA “Field and Forest”.

In September and October 2019, researchers continued the final field works campaign – tests on agro-technical parameters and sampling of genetic resources of valerian, common dandelion, echinacea and siler. Roots of the MAPs were gathered, weighted, dried and chemical parameters of them were analysed. Simultaneously with the fieldwork campaign, the researchers started the last phase of the research – analysis of the MAPs’ parameters to announce the most appropriate genotypes and organic production for Latvia’s climate and agro-technical conditions.  Then the team will select the MAPs that are the most suitable for diverse use in organic farming, pharma, food and cosmetics, and households.

Root of siler in experimental garden in Priekuļi municipality. Image: SIA “Field and Forest”.

According to the researchers, the first assessments highlights that local dandelions are suitable for commercial cultivation. Further, the researchers will analyse gathered data to determine which dandelion species are suited the most. Data results of local valerian species in commercial cultivation variates a lot. Therefore, to be able to make any conclusions, researchers need to fulfil careful analysis of gathered data. The analysis of other researched MAPs (siler, echinacea, camomile) will be carried out after the finishing final experimental field campaign. 

The research is a part of the project “Growing genetic diversity of medicinal and aromatic plants” (Nr.1.1.1.1/16/A/307). It is supported by European Regional Development Fund, as a part of Measure 1.1.1.1 “Industry-Driven Research” of specific objective 1.1.1 “To increase the research and innovation capacity of scientific institutions of Latvia and their ability to attract external funding by investing in human resources and infrastructure”.

Find more about the project here.

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In October 2019, Mayeri industries AS, the largest household chemicals company in Estonia, will introduce into the market an innovative product – a water-soluble laundry washing capsule containing organic essential oil. It has been developed in close cooperation with the Latvian organic farming company “Field and Forest” within the framework of Interreg V-A Estonia-Latvia cross-border cooperation program (project ID number EST-LAT82).

The new product is a three-part laundry washing capsule, which contains organic peppermint and pine needle essential oils. The product will be available in major retail chain stores in Estonia and Latvia, responding to the growing consumer demand for products made from natural and locally sourced ingredients.

During the development of the new product, partner companies have conducted market research, industrial research and product prototype development. During the research, the most suitable medicinal and aromatic plant species were selected, the protocols for the production of essential oils were developed, the chemical composition of the plants was analyzed, and technological aspects of the product manufacturing processes and packaging development possibilities were investigated.

In addition, employees of Field and Forest and Mayeri industries AS have taken part in joint trainings on the latest trends in the circular economy and bioeconomy and in workshops on the development of new bio-based products.

About the companies

Mayeri Industries is the largest manufacturer of washing and cleaning products in the Baltic States. The target market for our products is the Nordic region. We believe that the washing and cleaning products can be produced without affecting the natural environment negatively. Mayeri Industries AS has the biggest laundry washing product portfolio with EU Ecolabel in Europe.


SIA “Field and Forest” is a certified organic agriculture company operating since 2005. It cultivates, harvests and processes organic crops, medicinal and aromatic plants. SIA “Field and Forest” is one of the largest organic chamomile growers and producers in the Eastern Europe. The company’s research activities are aimed at increasing genetic diversity of medicinal and aromatic plants, development of new plant cultivation methods and added-value products, and collection of traditional knowledge through ethnobotanical expeditions.

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During Summer 2019, researchers from the Institute for Environmental Solutions and SIA “Field and Forest” are finalizing the field works and observations in experimental gardens of 5 medicinal and aromatic plants to continue the research in lab – analysing the gathered data and finding best growing methods and most suited genotypes for weather and soil conditions in Latvia.

Field of Valerian and it’s root in experimental gardens in Priekuļi municipality. Image: SIA “Field and Forest”.

Research in experimental gardens located in Priekuļi Municipality is dedicated to 5 medicinal and aromatic plans – valerian (Valeriana officinalis L.), chamomile (Matricaria recutita), echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia), common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), and siler (Saposhnikovia divaricata). In spite of a very hot and dry start of the final vegetation season, the weather conditions have not affected the vegetation process. Perennial plants – echinacea, valerian, common dandelion and siler keeps growing and developing successfully. Moreover, researchers have already carried out a first assessment of harvest development processes for siler and dandelion.

Siler in experimental garden in Priekuļi municipality. Image: SIA “Field and Forest”.

During the current season of the experimental gardens, the blooming shows a remarkable progress. While echinacea has blossomed for the first time during this research, seems like siler, which has not been previously studied in Latvia, will blossom as well.

Dandelion during vegetation period in experimental gardens, Priekuļi municipality. Image: SIA “Field and Forest”.

Students from Latvia University of Agriculture and University of Latvia are participating in this research process by doing additional assessments of the dandelions in experimental gardens. Līva Marta Roze who is studying in faculty of biology (University of Latvia) has developed a research paper “Development of descriptors for characterising morphological variability of morphological features of Taraxacum officinale Weber and characterisation of the diversity of local populations”. Faculty of agriculture student Jānis Gailītis continues to develop his bachelor’s thesis on the commercialized growing of dandelions in agro-climatic conditions of Latvia.

The research on 5 medicinal and aromatic plants started on March 2017. While the third season of experimental gardens in Priekuļi parish is still in progress, team of researchers are preparing of the last stage of the research – analysis of the most important MAPs parameters to announce the most appropriate genotypes and organic production of MAPs that are also the most suitable for biological agriculture farmers, organic farmers, pharma, food and cosmetics companies and households use in Latvia conditions.

The research is a part of the project “Growing genetic diversity of medicinal and aromatic plants” (Nr.1.1.1.1/16/A/307). It is supported by European Regional Development Fund, as a part of Measure 1.1.1.1 “Industry-Driven Research” of specific objective 1.1.1 “To increase the research and innovation capacity of scientific institutions of Latvia and their ability to attract external funding by investing in human resources and infrastructure”.

Find more about the project here.

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In Spring 2019, the Institute for Environmental Solutions and SIA “Field and Forest” is launching the final season for experimental gardens to gather data, analyse genetic resources and the best growing conditions for 5 medicinal and aromatic plants. The aim is to find the best growing technologies for each of plants of interest.

Vegetation period of Siler in spring, municipality Priekuļi. Photo: SIA “Field and Forest”.

The selected medicinal and aromatic plants – valerian (Valeriana officinalis L.), chamomile (Matricaria recutita), echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia), common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), and siler (Saposhnikovia divaricata) are proven to have high concentration of active substances. Therefore, they are important ingredients of pharmacy and cosmetic products. Considering that Latvia’s weather conditions and soil parameters could be favourable for cultivation of abovementioned plants, in 2017 IES in cooperation with SIA “Field and Forest” developed experimental gardens for detailed analysis of selected plants’ genotypes, yield, phytochemical quality and other criteria of growing these plants. As a result, researchers will declare the most suitable genotypes and organic production for organic farming, pharmacology, food production and cosmetics companies, as well as for household use.

In Spring 2019, IES and “Field and Forest” starts the final season for experimental gardens. The gardens will provide data of the plant growth, progress and quality of harvest, thus, helping to develop the specifically proven growing technology for each species of interest. Currently, after the winter season, plants are in vegetation period. Overall conditions of winter season 2018/2019 have been good for all species and varieties. In the end of March, vegetation period of valerian and dandelion have restarted. The first spring counting of plants researchers plan to do at the end of April, when the vegetation will be fully recovered. In April, the weather conditions are changing a lot, thus, affecting the plant growth. Despite of that, field works have already started.  Considering that weeds can outpace medicinal plants by growing faster in lower temperatures, the weeding process has started.

Starting of the field works in experimental gardens in municipality Priekuļi. Photo: SIA “Field and forest”.

Fieldworks in experimental gardens will continue till October 2019. During this period, researchers will continue to monitor all the gathered plant species and their characteristics that are important in organic farming and agriculture. During the whole season the researchers will do the chemical analysis of the harvested plants. This will be the third and last year of the project and the second season of the medicinal and aromatic plant experimental gardens.

Chemical analysis and the research are a part of the project “Growing genetic diversity of medicinal and aromatic plants” (Nr.1.1.1.1/16/A/307). It is supported by European Regional Development Fund, as a part of Measure 1.1.1.1 “Industry-Driven Research” of specific objective 1.1.1 “To increase the research and innovation capacity of scientific institutions of Latvia and their ability to attract external funding by investing in human resources and infrastructure”.

Find more about the project here.

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The researchers from the Institute for Environmental Solutions and SIA “Field and Forest” analyses chemical composition of valerian (Valeriana officinalis L.) and common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) samples which were gathered in Latvia in 2017. The results were compared with parameters of medicinal and aromatic plants that are included in the European Pharmacopoeia standard.

The leading researcher Arta Kronberga from SIA “Field and Forest” highlights that the results of analysis proves the assumption that we can find different characteristics between same medicinal and aromatic plants growing in Latvia’s territory. To give an example, a valerian from the Raunas municipality contains of 46% of the minimum amount required Ethereum, while samples from Lēdmane parish, Renda parish, and Jaunsvirlauka parish, extend the minimum requirements of more than 250%.

Analysis of common dandelion samples show similar results. Researchers analysed amount of three phenolic acids (antioxidants) in the roots of gathered dandelions and found that it differs more than two times from sample to sample. The biggest amount of phenolic acids was found in the dandelions that were gathered in the Priekuļi municipality, Amata municipality and Kuldīga municipality, but the least percent of phenolic acids was found in the samples from the Talsi municipality and Vecumnieki municipality.

The samples were collected in various areas in Latvia with different soil characteristics, hydrological regime, compositions of plants, and management methods, therefore, researchers cannot make very precise assumptions of genetic potential of gathered plants, not yet. To find more precise conclusions, further research is needed. Thus, the researchers are currently making the experimental sample sites, where they will be able to compare the samples of plants within the same growing conditions.

Chemical analysis and the research is a part of the project “Growing genetic diversity of medicinal and aromatic plants” (Nr.1.1.1.1/16/A/307). It is supported by European Regional Development Fund, as a part of Measure 1.1.1.1 “Industry-Driven Research” of specific objective 1.1.1 “To increase the research and innovation capacity of scientific institutions of Latvia and their ability to attract external funding by investing in human resources and infrastructure”.
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