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Heiner Scheller, in his shop, Kraüterladen Paracelsus

Something nice about Bielefeld, and Germany in general is that there is still a culture of the small independent shop. Though this may invariably change as Germany catches up with the UK and the US, for now I would like to celebrate and point out just a few of these speciality shops still to be found in Bielefeld.

Kräuterladen Paracelsus 

My midwife originally told me about this amazing apothecary hidden away in the back streets near Bethel. The owner, Heiner Scheller is an expert in the field of Phytotherapy (herbal medicine). Apparently his early career hopes as a violinist were thwarted by an injury, which prompted him to start a career in medicine. However, his interest in music and stringed instruments never abated and he has an amazing collection of restored instruments in an adjoining studio space, which also has acted as a meeting point for music sessions with likeminded enthusiasts.

As I entered the shop, I felt I was in a sanctuary of calm, partly due to the orderly aesthetics of labelled apothecary drawers and rows of smoked glass jars on shelves but also to the wonderful aromas coming from the hessian sacks of herbs stacked around the shop. I discovered that 25 years of experience as a herbalist had enabled him to sum up a person’s disposition and needs surprisingly quickly, and soon I had a bag of mysterious looking leaves all of my own, called the Tiger Root, to brew up in the rather more unordered aesthetics of my home.

I have to confess, though, that I didn’t even make it half way through the bag in the end. I was under strict instructions from the herbalist not to drink caffeine in combination with the herbs, as my blood pressure could go dangerously high. At 18 Euros for 250 grams, the cost of these precious herbs should have been enough of an incentive to give up the coffee kick but, I am afraid to say, I am still waiting for that day, and so are my herbs!

Despite that, I can highly recommend a visit to this wonderful shop, and its gracious owner.

The shop is generally closed between 1pm and 3 pm for lunch so look up the website for opening times.

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Still on the shelf, but hopefully not for long.

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