Celebrating the Multicultural festivities of December, I thought I would pick an herb or spice which is referenced in the Bible (land of three of the Major Religions of the world) and used in many cuisines around the entire world, as a way of gathering together all the wealth of diversity around us - in true celebration.
Herb: Sow Thistle (Milk Thistle) Silybum Marianum Genesis 3:18 - Bitter herb and associated with the Virgin Mary.
Feast of the Immaculate Conception celebrates the solemn belief in the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary It is one of the most important Marian feasts celebrated in the liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church celebrated worldwide.
Bodhi Day is the Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day that the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautauma (Shakyamuni), experienced enlightenment.
Services and traditions vary amongst Buddhist sects, but all such services commemorate the Buddha's achievement of Nirvana, and what this means for Buddhism today. Individuals may choose to commemorate the event through additional meditation, study of the Dharma, chanting of Buddhist texts (sutras), or performing kind acts towards other beings. Some Buddhists celebrate with a traditional meal of tea, cake, and readings.
Food: Like many wild plants younger leaves can be eaten in salads or as a pot herb.
The roots can be eaten raw or boiled and buttered or par-boiled and roasted. The young shoots in spring can be cut down to the root and boiled and buttered. The spiny bracts on the flower head were eaten in the past like globe artichoke, and the stems (after peeling) can be soaked overnight to remove bitterness and then stewed. The leaves can be trimmed of prickles and boiled and make a good spinach substitute or they can also be added raw to salads. - Wikipedia.
Sow thistles got their name because they were fed to lactating pigs. (Remember the old heuristic way of thinking? If you want to see like a hawk eat hawk eyes. If you want mama pigs to nurse better feed them plants with white sap.) This site has some recipes to cook with sow thistle. http://www.eattheweeds.com/sonchus-sow-thistle-in-a-pigs-eye-2/
Medicinal : Long known for its tonic properties particularly with the liver and as a digestive aid.
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-- Catherine, The Herb Lady
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