traditional medicine

Medicinal plants & ancient knowledge

Chamomile calms the body and lavender calms the mind. At this point, most people’s knowledge of medicinal plants stops. In order to preserve this valuable knowledge and pass it on to more people, we have decided to promote traditional medicine.

Ancient knowledge

Medicinal plants and their use

The history of traditional medicine in the Indonesian archipelago

Thanks to the year-round sunshine, the fertile soil due to volcanic activity and the long rainy seasons, forest products and crops can grow easily on the Indonesian archipelago. They are not only used as food and building material, but also for medicinal purposes. Traditional medicine in Indonesia has a very rich and long history. This is illustrated, among other things, by the discovery of medical manuscripts from the 10. and 11th century.

Knowledge of traditional medicine from the Indonesian archipelago was brought to Europe thanks to the work of the Dutch botanist Georg Eberhard Rumpf, among others. In his book Herbarium Amboinense, Rumpf wrote a lot of important information about medicinal plants on the Ambon Islands in eastern Indonesia.

Traditional medicine in North Sumatra

Plants have long been used as medicines in North Sumatra. All parts of the plant are utilized: from the leaves and fruits to the stems, tubers and roots. The way they are used also varies. The plants can be taken orally, inhaled or applied to certain parts of the body. The treatment is usually carried out by traditional healers with their respective specialties.

Medicinal plants are easy to find in the forests. Nowadays, however, they are also grown in gardens. These cultivated plants usually have other functions in addition to their healing function. They are used to make kitchen spices or natural fences, to name just a few examples. Medicinal plants can also be found at traditional markets. At least 344 species of medicinal plants are sold in North Sumatra. Recently there has also been a trend: Oukup. A traditional sauna with medicinal plants.

In terms of medicinal plant production, the province of North Sumatra ranks second in the country. Healing plants such as aromatic ginger, galangal and aloe vera have also been cultivated there sustainably for several years.

Knowledge worth preserving

Why are we protecting the local medical tradition?

By using regional medicinal plants, complex industrial processes and long transportation routes can be avoided. This saves raw materials and minimizes carbon dioxide emissions.

Traditional medicine also creates an intensive connection between man and nature. Industrial products, such as pills or tablets, no longer have anything in common with the natural source material. Any connection to nature is lost. This is different with medicinal plants. We can deduce immediately: Yes, they come from the forest. The forest that needs to be protected. Not only to ensure the continued supply of medicinal plants, but also to protect our ecosystems with their high biodiversity.

In addition, traditional knowledge erodes over time. Project Wings has therefore set itself the task of helping to preserve knowledge about traditional medicine and medicinal plants. We protect medicinal plants in the forests, create sustainable cultivation in community gardens and preserve traditional healing methods with medicinal plants.

In this way, we can not only preserve the knowledge that has been passed down through the ages, but also spread it to other regions and communities around the world.

Sustainably managed


Due to the massive deforestation of the last 50 years, both herbivores and carnivores are finding less and less food. If there is too little food available, the populations of the Sumatran tiger or the orangutan will still not be able to recover.

To restore this delicate balance within the ecosystem, we plant fruit trees – especially in the border area, the “buffer zone”.

In this way, we strengthen biodiversity, create valuable habitat and food for animals and at the same time give people the opportunity to generate additional income from the trees.

In the long term, we would like to reduce the number of new oil palm plantations in this way. We organize large reforestation campaigns and show young people in particular simple ways in which we can do something good for our planet.