Places that Smell Good

Corsica- “The Scented Isle”

France’s island province of Corse, also called Corsica, floats in the Mediterranean Sea off the southeastern coast of the French mainland, much of the island is mountainous and sparsely populated. The flowers among the dense maquis-shrubbery blanketing more than half the island-produce a fragrance that wafts far out to sea and has earned Corsica its appellation as “the scented isle.” For centuries, the wild maquis provided hideouts for bandits, and the province’s history is rich with adventure and mystery. The mixture of fragrances that greeted me when I arrived overwhelmed me. Corsica’s scented maquis reaches from the sea up to 3,000 feet.

Imagine standing on a fragrant hillside surrounded by eucalyptus, juniper, laurel, rosemary, highly scented shrubs of the rock rose family, heather, myrtle, sage, mint, thyme and lavender. Add to that more than a dozen aromatic flowers that grow only in Corsica and you’ll get an idea of the heady, clean aroma that infuses the island’s air. More than 2,500 species of wildflowers grow in Corsica, and about 250 of these are native to the island. Along with the familiar flowers and shrubs, lentisk trees which smell like very strong sandalwood, and my MOST favorite immortelle or helichrysum italicum meaning (everlasting) a yellow-flower in the shape like a star so magnificent its smells of smoke and honey and envades my soul… among ripening chestnuts clinging to the trees framing Corsican mountain villages. I spent almost a month with my husband a frenchmen on our honeymoon in and all over the island of Corse. We hiked up the mountains surrounded by fresh pools of water, we swam in the sea, the sun kissing down on us, and the air and the food repairing our souls with it’s bounty of aromatic herbs seen nowhere else and derive unique, valuable essential oils, as well as flavorings for their cuisine, from these plants. Corsican chefs frequently use a native herb, nepeta (Calamintha nepeta), to season their dishes. Nepeta, variously called Corsican marjoram, lesser calamint, early mint, nepitella, mountain balsam or mountain mint, was popular as a medicinal herb in the Middle Ages. Today, mountain-goat herders coat their cheese with it. Immortelle essential oil has come to be one of my most favorites and it’s use is one of sweet memories. I will soon make a blend in its honor for ALL to enjoy, there is hardly a better wound healer and anti-aging agent than this oil. Everything about my stay in Corsica was utterly romantic… my time wrapped in the arms of my lover, my nose taken away to the high, wild mountains and steep hillsides that are home to a profusion of fragrant herbs, which help create the unique varieties of cheeses, beer, honey and yes magical healing oils, and my heart forever bathing in the clear blue sea.

Immortelle is in Beauty Face Oil, Sun Face Mist, Sun Face Protect, Earth Face Mask, and Goddess. It’s Divine!

 

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