Dear pagan readers,
Let me present you a plant whose nowadays reputation is far from what is used to be in pagan times. It is now mostly cursed as one of the main weed, being considered the plague of the golf courses, parks and gardens. But let me tell you that the greatest European pharmacologists, botanists and herbalists of antiquity had it in great esteem. And for good reasons of course.
In Greek mythology, it is even a part of one of the most well known myth; the goddess Ἑκάτη, widely known as Hecate, fed Θησεύς, the hero known as Theseus, with this sacred plant for 30 days, giving him enough strength to defeat the Μῑνώταυρος(Minotaur) in the Cretan Labyrinth – testament indeed to the value of this excellent herb! This plant led the Greek Hero Theseus to victory in his pagan initiation and let him cultivate his Hamingja to a full potential. I will elaborate deeper about the undeniable link between this myth and Ôðalism in a future article.
This is a plant many of us know well, or at least, most think they know it well. This plant is called Taraxacum officinale in Latin, it is the Common Dandelion. From French dent-de-lion (“lion’s tooth”), also in Late Latin dēns leōnis. The term has since died out in French (except in Swiss French), but compare Spanish diente de león, Italian dente di leone, Norwegian løvetann, Portuguese dente-de-leão, and also German Löwenzahn, all having the same literal meaning. It is called after the shape of the leaves that looks like lion’s teeth. Some say the Latin name comes from the Greek ταράξω(taráxo̱), meaning ”disorder”, and ἄκος(akos), meaning ”remedy”.
Πεδάνιος Διοσκουρίδης, one of my main influence regarding Herbalism, better known as Pedanius Dioscorides, mentioned the Dandelion in is gigantic five volume encyclopaedia called Περί ύλης ιατρικής(De Materia Medica Libre).
Dandelion is a rich source of vitamins A, B complex, C, and D, as well as minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc. Dandelion leaves can be used to add flavor to salads, sandwiches, and teas. The roots can be used in some coffee substitutes, and the flowers can be used to make wines.
As you might have understand, Dandelion is not a weed, but a wild vegetable, more nutritious than the broccoli or spinach that cleanse the blood and kidneys, reduces gas, blood pressure, fat and cholesterol and increases muscular strength, all this without side effects. In medicine, the roots are mainly used as an appetite stimulant, and for liver and gallbladder problems and the leaves are used as a diuretic to help the body get rid of excess fluid.
You can harvest the leaves and flowers from spring until autumn. About the roots, I mentioned that Hecate fed Theseus with Taraxacum officiale, and therefore the best time to gather the root is in November, the month of Hecate. If you live in a northern area, it must be harvested a little bit earlier as the snow and cold weather are coming earlier.
As European folks, how can you turn your back on the magic herb given by the night goddess to Theseus, thus making him one of our famous European hero? Will you be such a hero yourself? Will you gain your Hamingja? Let’s begin by thanking the Goddess Hecate for her precious gift by making good use of it! So enjoy!