Over the years we have cultivated a medicinal garden with seeds from France: thyme, rosemary, sage, lavender, etc. At the same time we cultivate the medicinal plants that grow in the wild here. Our French Sister Claire-Marie is a self-taught expert in the curative and medicinal properties of plants and herbs. But let’s listen to her as she explains to us her love for medicinal plants.
Where did your interest for medicinal herbs grow?
Sister Claire-Marie: “It all began by surprise, really. We noticed that there were growing a lot of wild flowers in the garden and we started picking them to infuse them to make tea. The taste was really good. The visitors were enthusiastic about it, so we started growing a little garden.
The Syrian ground is known for its medicinal qualities, and especially the region of Qalamun where we live; if we get a lot of rain in winter we can assure a good production in the summer. Also, our medicinal herbs are very strong in perfume and in effect, especially our lavender or our rose of Damascus. In other regions it’s not like that”.
How do you use the herbs?
Sister Claire-Marie: “we mix them to make tea. Over the years we noticed that some mixtures were very effective against certain diseases, diabetics for example. We also infuse the herbs to make vinegar or oil; of that oil we make a crème that is very effective against all kind of sores and inflammations. We also mix certain herbs with alcohol, and aloe which is good against cancer.
Why do people call you doctor?
Sister Claire-Marie (laughing): “People are coming from the village, sometimes even from Damascus, to whom we give our products. We have a lot of testimonies of persons who got really good results from our products, even for serious diseases, some kinds of cancer and especially for all kinds of sores. We haven’t discovered a cure for cancer but these natural cures ease the people’s pain and slow down the effects. People usually come to us because they weren’t happy with the results of traditional medicine. Also our families in Europe ask us products which we send to them. It’s a little market, it’s a beginning. They are calling us ‘doctor’ or ‘expert’ now, that’s very funny because we started by improvisation. But we’ve studied many books on the subject and locals also give us precious information on how their fathers used medicinal herbs.
In the photo above you can see or top quality roses of Damascus, below our sage.
 The Qalamun region is a mountain range between Damascus and Homs which forms a natural border between Lebanon and Syria.