la tisane (tee-zan) noun, feminine
1. herbal tea, infusion
Les feuilles sèches préparent la tisane de l'automne.
Dry leaves make autumn's herbal tea. --Ramon Gomez de la Serna
Thanks to an herb wizard from our medieval village, my husband will soon be able to chase the devil out of his vines up north, in Saint-Cécile. Now all we need are a few hundred devil chasers.
Turns out the "chasers" don't even need legs to run down a vine hungry diable.* Instead, they stand powerfully rooted to the ground, as I can plainly see, when I cross paths with the herb wizard who is out on another witch hazel hunt.
"What are you looking for today?" I ask the timid wizard, who startles, causing the patch of knee-high weeds that surround her to tremble.
"Les herbes..." the she-wizard stammers, nearly dropping a bouquet of flowering weeds, as if caught stealing gold from a bijoutier.*
"Golden flowers," I answer unaccusingly, when Jean-Marc appears in time to ask, "What are those?"
"C'est du millepertuis,"* the wizard offers. "Or 'l'herbe de Saint-Jean',* if you prefer."
The auburn-haired wizard with the gray roots, who stands no taller than the fennel which she collected last season, begins chuckling to herself.
"Some call it 'le chasse-diable'!' she says.
"The devil chaser..." Jean-Marc mumbles. "Je peux?" Can I take a look?
"Oui," agrees the wizard, handing over the bunch of wimpy looking weeds, touted as being "fierce enough" to scare away the evilest spirit. The wizard explains that the five-petaled flower has leaves riddled with trous*--making it easy to identify the medicinal plant.
Jean-Marc and I stood, arms in the air, eyes squinted toward the flower's holy leaf where the sun's rays escaped through "mille pertuis*" or "thousand holes".
"Where can I find more of these?" Jean-Marc demanded, causing the wizard's body to stutter from head to toe. Next she clammed up, sealing her secret within.
"I need to prepare tisane* for my vines!" my husband pleaded, adding that he is a farmer using organic methods to treat his fields. The wizard's ears began to bend as she listened sympathetically, visions of a steamy caldron of holy warts, the warts of a saint no less, igniting her creative soul, a soul grown so full that the fear fled from her in time to share her faded treasure map of herbal hideouts, warts and all.
References: le diable (m) = devil; c'est du millepertuis (m) = it's St. John's wort; le bijoutier (la bijoutière) = jeweler; l'herbe (f) de Saint-Jean = St. John's Wort; le trou (m) = hole; mille = one
thousand; le pertuis (m) [from old French "pertucer" (percer / to pierce)] = hole; la tisane (f) = herbal curative/preventative tea, treatment
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La Cour Tisane box of 48 assorted organic herbal teas
The Complete Book of Herbs: A Practical Guide to Growing and Using Herbs
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Mille Bornes, the classic French touring game
tisane de camomille = camomile tea
tisane d'orge = barley water
tisane de champagne = light champagne
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