Medicinal and aromatic plants

Medicinal and aromatic plants

One of the key research areas are the medicinal and aromatic plants. Several species and research questions surround this topic, for example optimising cultivation and quality of herbs, flowers, rhizomes or grains of different plants. Excerpts of our work can be found on this page.

The resarch project REGIO-Mohn (2018-2021) produced a picture collection called MohnLandschaften. This initiative was supported by INRES Renewable Resources, Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU),  OCS Vollkorn-Mühlenbäckerei GmbH and Ölmühle Solling. The idea was continued in 2023 and the results can be seen here.

© Moierhof, Familie Müller
Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© © Katharina Luhmer


Fundamental knowledge on cultivation practises and problems is the basis for successful growing of medicinal and aromatic plants.

Many of the medicinal or spice plants are grown on a small scale with only limited or old knowledge. Therefore, basic research in the area of cultivation has to be done to answer questions on optimal seeding dates, plant densities, nutrient supply, weed and pest management as well as yield.

Picking the best variety and location also plays an important role and is tested at Campus Klein-Altendorf in relation to different management factors.

Weed regulation

Management of weeds is essential in the cultivation of medicinal and aromatic plants as a weed-free harvest ist decisive for marketing as food or medicinal product.

In most cases mechanical weeding is applied to prevent chemical residues on the plants. Moreover, not many substances are allowed for plant protection of these species. Mechanical hoeing and harrowing are common strategies for weed regulation.

This raises questions on the optimum time of application and machine adjustements. The research project Optimech is an example of a project focussing on weed management in peppermint, parsley and lemon balm.

© Hanna Blum
Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© Julian Elfers

Product quality

Apart from high biomass yields, product quality is essential for successful marketing of medicinal and aromatic plants. The Deutsche Arzneibuch (DAB) holds specifications for minimum content of active substances and further requirements come from different buyers and processors.

These are reasons why we out a focus on researching parameters that determine quality traits and how they can be influenced by cultivation and post-harvest processes.

The research project REGIO-Mohn, in cooperation with the Institut für Ernährungs- und Lebensmittelwissenschaften (IEL), provided insights on fatty acid profile, vitamins, proteins and aroma components of poppy seed and oil. In the project Linovit quality characteristics of flaxseed are being researched. 


Nectar and pollen of many spice plants are food for several insect species. On the other hand, plants benefit from pollination.The diversity of medicinal and aromatic plants contributes to a diversity of flowering periods, as for example the flowering of fennel reaches into autumn. For example poppy (see picture on the right) offers a large amount of pollen that is attractive for honey bees, hover flies and wild bees.

There are different research projects analysing the biodiversity benefits of medicinal and aromatic plants like the FNR project AuGÖkosystem: Entwicklung eines Bestäubungsmanagements im Arzneipflanzenanbau zur Steigerung der Erträge und gleichzeitigen Erhöhung der Ökosystemleistungen (results and final report).

Mohnpflanze mit Honigbiene
© Katharina Luhmer
© Katharina Luhmer

Postharvest management

The processes starting at the point of harvest play a major role in maintaining product properties up until consumption. That is why we are researching the influence of post-harvest processes on parameters such as product colour, value-adding and value-reducing ingredients, aroma and microbiology. Drying is an important tool for preserving medicinal and aromatic plants. Various laboratory dryers are used to analyse the effects of temperature and drying time on a wide range of medicinal plants, such as mint and basil.

Diverse Species

Depending on current topics and research projects, different plants are in focus of our research. Examples for experimental plants are fennel, caraway, poppy, flaxseed, mint, echinaceae, thyme, basil, lemon balm and much more.

Current Research Projects

  • Amobila

  • Linovit

  • NiTro

  • QuAAP

see: Overview of research projects

© Julian Elfers


Avatar Luhmer

Dr. Katharina Luhmer

Scientific Assistant
Avatar Blum

Hanna Blum

Project staff
Avatar Hubert-Schöler

Charlotte Hubert-Schöler

PhD student
Avatar Kahlert

Liane Kahlert

Wird geladen