top of page

Exploring Ecopsychology: Dandelions- pesky weed or helpful pollinator?

Updated: Jan 11


The mighty Dandelion is much more than a weed! It is a tried and tested medicinal plant with high healing properties and one of the best early season pollinators!

Dandelions- garden nuisance no more!

Exploring Ecopsychology: ecoeducation of the day dandelions


As a wild plant, dandelion is widespread in the temperate zones of the entire northern hemisphere and prefers to grow in nitrogen-rich (fat) meadows, along roadsides and in ditches. To many gardeners they are pests, invasive perennial weeds detracting from your well crafted color schemes and blooms; but here at SEELEDU, we are passionate about pollinators and love celebrating the mighty dandelion!

What are pollinators and why are they important?

Pollinators are moths, butterflies, bees, wasps, ants, beetles, flies, thrips, bugs, birds, bats and more.

Pollinator plants are flowering perennials, annuals, or shrubs that provide the nectar and pollen for our friends the bees, butterflies, beetles, bats, hummingbirds and other beneficial insects. Pollinator plants maintain a healthy pollinator population, which allows for crops and flowers to continue producing seeds and fruits via insect pollination- as well as a healthy garden and vibrant ecosystems. Pollinators keep our world running, sustain our ecosystems and produce our natural resources. Somewhere between 75% and 95% of all flowering plants on the earth need help with pollination – they need pollinators (Ollerton, 2011)! Want to learn more about pollinators? Start here!

Dandelions are an attractive and welcome food stop for our early season pollinators!



Exploring Ecopsychology: SEELEDU therapy dog enjoys basking in one of nature's most powerful pollinators


Quick tip: some other early flowering pollinators include pulmonaria and spring flowering heathers.


Some ideas to support dandelions: before you go to weed and rip out that patch of dandelions, consider leaving them till later in the season when there is more available nutrients to your local pollinators.


Health benefits of dandelions:


While dandelions can be considered invasive and pervasive, it is s also excellent food and herbal medicine that anyone can put to use. Traditionally, Native Americans boil and drink dandelion extract to help treat digestion problems, skin ailments, inflammation, liver injury, kidney disease, and heartburn (Mount Kearsage Indian Museum, 2020). In Germany, traditional folk practices refer to dandelion as "Bettpisser" and "Pisskraut" unmistakably referring to its use as a diuretic and blood-cleansing effect .


Dandelion is a very rich source of beta-carotene which we convert into vitamin A. It is also rich in vitamin C, fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus, a good place to receive B complex vitamins, trace minerals, organic sodium, and even some vitamin D, too. Dandelion also contains more protein than spinach (Sunwarrior, 2019).


Our favorite uses for Dandelion:


Dandelion salad- wash and trim the dandelion leaves and toss with your favorite vinaigrette. We use old homemade farmers bread (Bauernbrot) to make croutons and fresh herbs from our indoor year-round or our outdoor seasonal herb garden.


Dandelion tea- stimulates bile flow and is made from dried leaves and/or roots. You can prepare the tea cold or boil it up. To boil combine two teaspoons of dried dandelion leaves with a quarter liter of water. Strain after ten minutes. Easy peasy!


Dandelion is generally considered safe in food and medicinal levels. Some people may have allergic reactions to dandelion; Sunwarrior (2019) identifies that anyone with an allergy to ragweed, chrysanthemum, marigold, chamomile, yarrow, or daisy should avoid dandelion and anyone pregnant, nursing, or taking prescription drugs should talk to a health care professional before adding something new to their diet.


SEELEDU is passionate about teaching you to connect in and with nature. As active homesteaders and practicing ecopsychologists, one of our favorite tools to connect is through home, community or school gardens. Our founder Justine Ferland, has internationally started community gardens in numerous schools, community mental health centers, and residences for adults with severe and persistent mental illnesses. She finds the garden the perfect way to connect and build community, build a relationship with nature, proactively work on a goal and tap into the self.


SEELEDU explores the journey of being human and nurtures nature connections for health and well-being. SEELEDU is based in science and grounded in nature. Practicing in ecopsychology and recognizing the mutual compassion and nurturing ability between nature and humans, SEELEDU offers live and online programming, development and learning for holistic, whole-body well-being.


References:


Mount Kearsage Indian Museum (2020).

Ollerton J, Winfree R, & Tarrant S (2011). How many flowering plants are pollinated by animals? Oikos 120:321-326.

Sunwarrior (2019). 12 Health Benefits of Dandelion leaves and Dandelion Root. https://sunwarrior.com/blogs/health-hub/11-health-benefits-of-dandelion-leaves-and-dandelion-root

Vogtsbauernhof (2018).

22 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page