Accepted Paper:

Use of a dandelion by American Indian healers  


Zhanna Pataky (Wichita Indo-Chinese Center)

Paper short abstract:

Cherokee Indian medicine is used according to the four directions. The dandelion belongs to three directions: east, north and west. Each direction has the” life value”.

Paper long abstract:

The meaning of the term medicine is much broader then"treatment", 'health" ,"s elf-control" ,or "prevention". The Indian idea of medicine is based on the earlier meanings of the four directions and universal circle, each direction has its own prayer of thanks. East is spiritual, South is natural, West is physical and North is mental. The lines that cross North to South and East to West represent harmony and balance. One direction in our lives does not exist without the opposite energy.

Dandelion belongs to the three directions: East, West and North. East is about heart, West is- strength and endurance. North- protection, prevention. Healing was based on a way of bringing a person into harmony and balance with their environment, keeping in mind the tremendous influence that plants, animals, birds, and everything in the environment had on early American Indians. Unlike in some other cultures for the Cherokee the shape of the leaves or the color of the plant doesn't indicate how the plant is used. It is necessary to understand" the life value" in each direction in order to better understand the use of certain plants. The rule of opposite is used in the choice of plants and their medicine for keeping things in harmony and balance. Respect is a principal of American Indian medicine.

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Traditional and indigenous medicinal knowledge and practices among the indigenous people: past and its future