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tisane

      Tisane
      Max, three years ago, in front of the field from today's story.

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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
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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.

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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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:: Audio File ::
Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce today's word and recite the quote: Download Tisane.wav
Les feuilles sèches préparent la tisane de l'automne.

Related Terms:
  tisane de camomille = camomile tea
  tisane de verveine, de tilleul = vervain (verbena), lime-blossom tea
  tisane d'orge = barley water
  tisane de champagne = light champagne
  une tisanière = teapot (or large teacup) for making (brewing) herbal tea

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