Mouth Rash to Mouth Water
“Tell me about a prank your friend played on you decades ago and you say still fresh in your mind,” Dan stretched his legs and kicked back to sit comfortably in his seat to listen to the story.
“Well, this was long ago when I was a kid, my school friend encouraged me to chew a leaf; within minutes my entire throat turned red with rash and started itching, and burning so intensely I could not bear the pain, I hosed cold water into my mouth, swallowed a large lump of sugar, and drank sour buttermilk and none worked. Friends suggested that that I shall scrub my mouth with fresh cow dung to ease the pain which I refused. It was a prank he pulled on me for fun but turned into a nightmare for me,” Juggernaut was brooding over an incident that happened decades ago.
“What kind of leaf was that?”
“At that time I did not know what kind of a leaf that was, but several years later while studying in Trinidad, I came across similar leaf selling in vegetable market in bundles as Dasheen bush, the Trinidad Indians make a delicious dish Kallaloo, a green creamy spicy stew using Dasheen leaves, it was a good eating with either steamed rice or roti.” “The entire Dasheen plant is edible with caution, the heart shaped large leaves are called Elephant Ears and the underground corms are sold as small root vegetables as Tannia or Taro or Eddoes. The plant contains toxins that cause severe itching of sensitive mucous membrane in the mouth if it is eaten raw or not properly cooked, as it happened to me long time ago.” “On research, I found that sharp crystal shaped Calcium Oxalate in Dasheen plant causes all that irritation if not removed during the cooking process, the crystals are so sharp they penetrate the delicate mucous membrane in the mouth to cause itching and pain.”
“In Jamaica, Eddoes also called as Coco yams are boiled, fried, roasted or baked, a great source of carbohydrates like potato but sweeter. In Hawaii, the main staple for the islanders ‘Poi’ is made from boiled and sometimes fermented Taro or also called kalo corms, it is considered sacred and often used as an offering to God like ‘Yellow Lemon Rice’ for Hindus in India,” Juggernaut started yawning as he concluded narrating his experience.
“Well, as Hawaiians believe in big brother Poi, at least in spirit Poi was watching over your shoulder with a rough start in India when you had bad mouth rash from chewing raw Taro leaves to Trinidad where you enjoyed mouth watering Kallaloo stew and snacked on fried slices of Taro corms in Jamaica and now enjoying the real Poi as a nutritious staple on the Big Island in Hawaii.” “Apparently big brother Poi was guiding your journey from India to Hawaii to live under his protection.” said Dan looking at Juggernaut as he was slipping into mid afternoon nap.