Dr. Rudolf Emil Hauschka-Founder of Wala and Dr Hauschka

Rudolf Emil Hauschka (born 6 November 1891 in Vienna, Austria, died 28 December 1969 in Bad Boll, Germany) was an Austrian chemist, author, inventor, entrepreneur, scientist and anthroposophist. He founded the pharmaceutical company WALA in 1935 using medicinal plants as medicine and two years before his death, he launched a new product line designed for the health and care of the largest human organ: the skin. This was the birth of Dr. Hauschka Skin Care.

From 1908, Rudolf Hauschka studied chemistry and medicine in Vienna and Munich. He graduated with his doctorate in June 1914 and participated in the First World War as a medical officer. After the War, he went on several scientific expeditions that took him to Australia, India and Egypt.

He then worked as head chemist at the Pharmazeutische Industrie A.G. in Klosterneuburg near Vienna before relocating to Mannesmann Motorenwerken in Cologne. He later founded his own chemicals company, Chemische Fabrik Dr. R. Hauschka GmbH, which he ran out of a corrugated iron shed in Cologne-Porz. Hauschka started out producing aluminium acetate, seed dressing, lanolin, and some herbal medicines.

Rhythm carries Life

In 1924, at a congress in the Dutch town of Arnhem, Dr. Rudolf met Rudolf Steiner, father of the anthroposophical movement who influenced him greatly and anthroposophical medicine became his methodological approach to the study of nature, medicine, plants and natural phenomena. Steiner advised him to “study rhythm, as rhythm carries life”. And so Hauschka did, exploring and studying extraction methods that took into account the rhythm of nature, such as rest and movement, warmth and cold, and day and night.

In 1929, he succeeded in preparing the first water based medicinal plant extract with a long lasting stability without the addition of alcohol or other preservatives, while at the same time retaining the healing powers of the plant.This was a great breakthrough and a particular advantage for natural medicines to treat children, as these should not be tainted with alcohol.

A life of science

Dr. Rudolf Hauschka's most important scientific legacy is, without doubt, his development in 1929 of a process for obtaining water-based medicinal plant extracts without using alcohol as a preservative.

Introduced in 1935 for the production of WALA preparations, this process completely changed the pharmaceutical norms and is now codified in the German Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia (HAB) as a recognised process for drug production Plant extracts obtained in this way have also been working effectively in Dr. Hauschka Skin Care products since 1967.

WALA Heilmittel GmbH has been developing natural preparations since 1935. In the early days of its history, it was considered avant-garde and pioneering in a society that was barely even aware of natural preparations. Speedy technical solutions seemed to have ousted coherent thinking.

However, this was not the case everywhere. A large group of Anthroposophical doctors eagerly adopted Rudolf Hauschka's method for preservative-free natural medicine production without the use of alcohol. In 1935, Hauschka established WALA in Ludwigsburg and opened subsidiaries in Vienna and London shortly thereafter. Following a ban by the National Socialists and the imprisonment of Dr. Hauschka and his future wife Dr. Margarethe Stavenhagen, WALA relocated several times before finally establishing itself in Bad Boll/Eckwälden in 1950 – where it still remains today.

Dr Hauschka Skin Care

The idea of launching one's own skin care line to complement the range of medicines has been considered by Rudolf Hauschka for many years - a kind of extension of the products to maintain healthy skin. His ideas became a reality when he met Vienna-born Elisabeth Sigmund, who ordered preparations from WALA for self-developed skin care products. The cosmetologist, who was then living in Stockholm, travelled to Eckwälden and worked with the medicine experts to develop recipes for facial care products. Together, they developed a way to create stable cream bases without chemical/synthetic emulsifiers, and they created fragrance mixes that incorporated essential oils. In 1967, the first products were launched.

Treasures from our archive

Dissertations / doctoral thesis

From a young age, Rudolf Hauschka was eager to understand the world of nature – and chemistry gave him the tools to do so. On 6 June 1914, he received his doctorate (Dr. techn.) from the Imperial and Royal University of Technology in Vienna for his research on anilidoquinone dyes. His wife Margarethe was a doctor of medicine and also contributed her knowledge to WALA’s work.

Handbook on cosmetic chemistry

Rudolf Hauschka was one of the authors who contributed to the Handbuch der Kosmetischen Chemie (handbook on cosmetic chemistry), published in Leipzig in 1920. His contribution was on the subject of mineral drugs and metals. He wrote this during his time at the Pharmazeutische Industrie A.G. in Klosterneuburg near Vienna. There are also some patents registered by the company from this time that bear Hauschka’s name.

Laboratory notebooks and mother tinctures

Rudolf Hauschka meticulously documented his research results in laboratory notebooks. These also contain early formulations for skin creams. Many of his medicinal plant extracts made in the 1950s and 1960s are still stable today, even though they contain no preservatives like alcohol.

Dietetics and diagrams

Maintaining human health was the central objective of Rudolf Hauschka’s research. In addition to pharmaceuticals, he was therefore also interested in the topic of healthy nutrition. One of his experiments was “honey-salt bread”, where the only raising agent was the wild yeast contained in the honey. His conviction that our health was significantly influenced by our diet was far ahead of his time.

Written correspondence

Rudolf Hauschka was not only a passionate researcher, but also a keen writer. His estate includes three metres of shelf space filled with his writings, many of which are correspondences with doctors – including cosmetologist Elisabeth Sigmund, with whom he developed Dr. Hauschka Skin Care in 1967.

Today, WALA has two divisions: WALA Medicines and Dr. Hauschka Skin Care.