Yet how beautiful the mountain is… Jean Ferrat must surely have walked around of Les Gets to find inspiration for his song ‘La Montagne’. Here not only the mountain is beautiful but there are beautiful plants too, edible or medicinal, yet rare and precious.
The daisy was formerly called little arnica or arnica of the plains. Used like ladies fingers in a tea or maceration, it relieves trauma and bruising. It also has firming properties, and is used in the care of the bust, chest and face contours. Get ready for the bikini !
A biodiversity to preserve
« We are lucky to have extremely well-preserved sites where we discover plants which are rare elsewhere but abundant here. »
Michel Rostalski, a specialist in wild flowers, sets the scene: Les Gets is a small paradise for the amateur herbalist and the curious hiker. Walking boots on, carrying a wicker basket, the incomparable heritage of generous nature is revealed, alongside the challenges of biodiversity. Coltsfoot, to be used in doughnuts, Alpine spinach, wild garlic and caraway are just some of the edible species that make their way into the kitchen. For the medicine cabinet, there’s soothing valerian, ribwort plantain or common lady’s mantle for female ailments.
Arnica, a plant for every occasion
But for Michel, the cream of the crop is arnica, which can be found on the slopes of Mont-Chéry, in its preferred acid soil, sheltered from the wind. « Arnica is a very precious plant, it heals blows, bruises, and muscle pain but it is also a great help in emotional shocks and troubles. As an oil, ointment or mother’s tincture, it works wonders. »
Not just one nor two, a beautiful armful of arnica fills the basket, but only one flower out of ten, to preserve the heritage and to ensure responsible picking. Then it’s time to don the apron for the preparation. Here there is no chemistry or smoking mixtures, these are remedies that come from tradition, a nod to our grandmothers whose knowledge continues to travel down the corridors of time.
A small plant with big effects, prepare to be surprised by its benefits.
Do It Yourself : your arnica-based products
Solarized arnica oil :
• 200ml of vegetable oil (50% olive, 50% sunflower)
• Arnica flowers
Fill a small clear glass bottle with arnica flowers, without packing down. Add the vegetable oil. Leave the bottle outside in the sun for 3 weeks. Filter. Rub it onto bruising. External use only.
• 3g of beeswax (from a bee-keeper or organic shop)
• 45ml solarized arnica oil
• 5 drops of lavender essential oil (optional)
Melt the beeswax in a bain-marie. Add the solarized oil and mix. Add the lavender essential oil and mix again. Pour into a clean container and leave it to set. Use in massage on twists and muscular pains.