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La Coumeille
wild, medicinal plants and dreams of lavender and rabbits in the south of france
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  • My boy is getting bigger and more rascally every day. He must be eating his own bodyweight in sorrel, dandelion and clover. He loves a little sage in the mix too.

    Making mouthwash. I was asked to make this for a sufferer of recurring gingivitis that won’t clear up, despite antibiotics. I’m working with sage/sauge, mint/menthe and the roots of wood avens/benoîte. Sage is antibacterial, antiseptic and antimicrobial, the mint is also antiseptic and analgesic, helping make it more palatable. The benoîte/wood avens root is a traditional french plant for mouth problems, often used to treat mouth infections,  ulcers, abscesses and swellings. It’s astringent action reduces swelling and helps close the gap between the gums and teeth. It has a taste a little like cloves. I’m making both a strong decoction and a tincture form and adding a little Camargue salt to the mouthwash to act as a disinfectant.

    I’ve no idea how this Verbena bonariensis ended up in my garden; I’ve planted Verbena officinalis and Aloysia citrodora (lemon verbena/verveine) but I suppose this one’s seed was blown in by the wind or by a bird. I’m not sure if it has the same medicinal benefits of other verbenas, but it is hugely attractive to the bees and butterflies anyway.


    The pods of Nigella sativa, sometimes called “black cumin” or “onion seed.”

    Though gorgeous while in bloom, this flower is primarily grown for its flavourful seeds.

    You may have encountered these seeds in cuisine before if you’ve ever eaten Armenian string cheese, Peshawari naan, or majdouli.

    Barring that, after popping a few in my mouth today, I would say the flavour is remarkably akin to the way a grape Mr. Sketch marker smells, minus the sweetness. Weird, but also tasty.

    Many thanks to lacoumeille for the seeds that spawned this crop!

    Find seeds: USA / Canada / UK & Europe

    Photo 1: k yamada

    Yesterday my (very) old dog Arthur pulled a muscle in his front leg. As he has hind leg weakness anyway, hobbling on 1 good leg was difficult and painful for him. He doesn’t have much muscle left on his old bones and I felt the strain of a painkiller on his organs would be too much. I settled him down on a comfy cushion, gave him some St john’s Wort tincture for the pain and wrapped a warm plantain and lavender flower poultice around the swollen joint. He calmed down and drifted off, and by this morning he’s back to his normal self!

    St John’s Wort tincture is quite safe to use on dogs. It soothes frayed nerves and anxiety and helps them cope with pain. Dosage is around 12 drops to every 10kg bodyweight, twice daily.

    Massage oil made from St John’s Wort (Hypericum Peforatum) flowering tops from the French Pyrénées, nourished by pure, clear rivers and clean mountain air, solar infused in grapeseed oil.
    St John’s Wort when used externally soothes burns, including sunburn. It also eases all kinds of nerve related pain; neuralgia, sciatica and local injury. It can also be used for pulls, sprains, muscle damage and bruises, relieving migraine or period pain with gentle massage. 
    Grapeseed oil is a lovely light oil, easily absorbed by the skin and leaving no greasy residue, suitable for all skin types. 
    St John’s Wort can cause photosensitivity. Do not apply before going into the sun. 

    For external use only

    Available here

    Yesterday we had a picnic in a beautiful olive grove, one of our favourite spots! I bought back some olive leaves and today started a tincture with half white rum and half glycerin. I used white rum instead of my usual amber rum as I’m interested to see what colour the menstruum becomes. I also made it a glycerin mix as it is intended for treating my animals. Olive leaf is fantastic for their immune systems, boosting their resistance to both fleas and internal parasites. It also has anti bacterial and anti inflammatory properties, so will be really useful when they are feeling under the weather.

    I have a new bunny! Can you imagine why no-one wanted him? But he was all alone and now he’s happy and loved, living with our 2 dogs, 2 guinea pigs, cat and rat.

    His name, appropriately, is Basil :)

    Pure magic.

    The solar infusion of St John’s Wort that was started 3 weeks ago. That’s three weeks of South of France sun doing it’s thing and I now have this powerful, healing huile rouge and such a beautiful colour too. The best thing for easing sunburn, injury with nerve damage like pulls, bruising and sprains, period or dental pains amongst many other things. It will be available soon in amber bottles or as a balm, send me an email if you would like to buy some! 

    …and the calendula just keeps on coming. I can’t pick it fast enough, it’s drying everywhere in my house. I suppose because of the hot weather it has become really resinous, which is great but really difficult to wash off your fingers after picking. 

    Out early before the sun gets too hot, picking walnut leaves, oregano flowers and wild fennel tops.

    Three news teas in the shop. The top one is After Dinner, made with walnut leaf and wild fennel with mint, verbena and calendula from my garden. As well as helping the digestion after a meal it’s also great for gas, bloating and IBS. In the middle is Wild Garden, I’ve replaced the red clover and mint in the original blend to oregano flowers and leaves and nettle. It’s now suitable for everyone and a good tonic. At the bottom is lovely Lullaby, I mentioned earlier

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