Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Nature's wisdom - how salvia officinalis saved our holiday

Do you know the herb called salvia, or sage?

25 years ago, when my kids were 10 and 11, we were invited by friends to hike mearby their summer habitat in Franche-Comté, the Jura mountains. This was our first and only holiday abroad, and their first flight ever. Starting from Copenhagen, landing in Genève and by train far, far out in the countryside where we were picked us in a jeep. The shepherd was crossing the muddy road so that we had to wait for a long, golden moment enjoying the breath taking view over the valley. He was a cartographer, mapping the area, she was our very dear friend from Denmark who had married this French guy, and her daughter age five was excited to have her best friends around, finally being able to speak her own language with kids again. And they found a new friend, too - a little girl from the village, I forgot the name of this village but I remember that she was called Josée, about 8 years old and hungry for company. The children spent much of their time with her, and her parents - in the cow stable. She was a laborious lady, helping her father walk the cows every morning and evening th the common field, les communailles. As the cottage had only one bedroom, we borrowed a tent, that was placed a good walk away, on a cow's field with dung here and there, and often some cows passing by in the early morning just beside our tent, with their bells around the neck. The two weeks passed in relaxed slow motion; we went for long walks every day in the mountains, bringing our lunch, lemonade and tea. Her husband was away for days with his jeep, marking up land, and my friend and I had such great times sharing our thoughths, while the kids enjoyed life in their own ways. The little fearless one always in front, running father and father away so that we had to keep an eye on her, while the boy age 10 was constantly observing something, that demanded him to slow down and lagging behind, such as a snail trail, or a grasshopper. And the girl age 11 wanted to follow the more adult woman's conversation, holding hands for comfort and love. And, she was busy taking her first photos with a new camera. When we came home I realized how kids experience their world; the majority of pictures were showing cows, dogs, flowers or grasshoppers; no landscape eceneries and almost no persons in them.

And then, thiking back on these past days of shared life: the boy became ill, right out there in the nowhere, small village with absolutely no doctor, the jeep and its driver was away on duty. I felt terrible at night when the poor kid coughed more and more desperately and had trouble breathing; the tent was damp, the rain was pouring every night while we had sunshine all day long - a perfect climate for grass and cattle, but not good for a boy with bronchite. This was close to a pneumonia and he had already had too many penicilline cures. His fever was really worrying me, but the next day he was a little better so we decided to let him come along with us for the daily walk, and keep him under observation, And then all of a sudden, I had this sensation in my nose - a special perfume that I felt I should know - there were wild salivia (or sage) growing all over the place! Our little patient immediately started sucking the small, violet flowers for honey, as if he recalled haing had the taste before from this classic medical herb with many good qualities, so I picked a good bag full, and used this for infusions the coming days. He drank several cups a day amd also by night when he started coughing, with honey sweetening the bitter taste. Two days later, he was healed and fresh for fight - although still with some pain in his ear, that gave him a problem when we flied home.

Today, my son is the father of three, making me a granny which is the best that has happened in my life, ever since I had kids of my own breed. This summer we were on holiday together, and on a walk in the rocky landscape of Bornholm (where my kids grew up), he and I recalled this story, and how the herb had cured his illness. And, of course, about the cows and grasshoppers, too.

1 comment:

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