Thursday, April 15, 2010

New Moon, Flower Day --- Dandelions!

Osiyo, nigada!

Thursday was the new moon, a day that some still mark with fasting and reflection. Friday is a Flower Day, the final day of the 20-day cycle, which symbolically contains the seeds of the next 20 days. Have you given any thought to how your life will change over the 20 days? For example, will you make a serious commitment to learn the Cherokee language?

Kawoni (April) is the month of fertility, and the humble dandelion, the herald of spring, has already come and gone in some areas. If dandelions in your area have already gone to seed and floated away, you need to pick the greens before they become bitter, and dry the roots. It’s one of the most nutrient dense foods in the world, and almost zero-calorie.

Dandelion was welcomed by many of the First Nations as the first healer of spring, quickly replacing the nutrients that had been missing over a winter with little fresh produce. I had heard story this years ago from Mohegan and Delawares, so I researched the Cherokee word. Can’t find one! A little more research told me why: dandelions are not native to North America, they were introduced by settlers as a food source! The wind has spread them across the land, where they are available to any with the work ethic to pick or dig them. Astonishing that we live in a nation with so much surplus food, some people actually poison a food source as weeds that interrupt the pattern of their lawns.

In March, our local Native American Church dedicated a medicinal garden. I began thinking of what plants the ancestors used, to develop that information as a lesson. We’ll begin with that vocabulary in the lessons soon. If I get enough response, we may also create a download of common medicinal plants with Cherokee names and uses. If that sounds like something you want, just email me and say “I want the Cherokee medicinal plants download.”


Terry said...

Osiyo -

I was amazed that dandelions were introduced to our lands as a food source! I will go to my nature food store and look for them to try in some ways.


TGC said...

They're really great as a raw salad, but will become bitter if picked too late. They can also be juiced.