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It’s Official: Plants Heal


I’ve studied a lot of herbs and plants that are used for healing.

But I’ve always secretly known that all plants heal, that it restores my energy and turns my life around just to be with them, especially in the woods.

Turns out that my feeling that all plants heal is now a scientific fact. Or at least on its way to being one.

Besides generously providing us with that stuff of human life, oxygen, being surrounded by plants – any plants – seems to help people heal faster. A study at Kansas State University put plants in the recovery rooms of half their appendectomy patients. The patients in the rooms with plants healed faster.

In three days, “plant” patients had kicked their pain meds, while “sterile” patients were still on moderate doses. The plant-surrounded patients also had less fatigue and anxiety, lower heart rates and blood pressure.

For some of us, this one’s a no-brainer: I’ve always felt the sterile, all-artificial-materials environment of hospitals was a very hard place to heal. And any gardener or nature-lover has felt the healing powers of plants: it’s why we hang out with them, after all.

Older traditions of healing work on the assumption that plants have spirits and personalities; we can communicate with them for healing. I’m convinced that this, and not lucky guesswork, is the way human beings found the plants to stock our larders and medicine cabinets. But while I’m sure you get more benefits from a skilled understanding of how to communicate with plants, it seems that even total novices and unconscious people can take in their healing personalities.

I’m glad science is catching up with folk tradition.

Next post: Revelations from down under: Catmint grows native Californian sticky monkeyflower in Australia. Don’t miss this transhemispheric post.

{ 14 comments… add one }

  • michelle May 20, 2009, 5:09 pm

    Very cool. plants heal the soul! I have always thought that gardening is theraputic.

  • Gail May 20, 2009, 5:39 pm

    We gardeners always knew this to be true! gail

  • Jan (ThanksFor2Day) May 20, 2009, 5:43 pm

    Yes, I too have thought this to be true–thanks for spreading the word and setting the record straight!

  • Pomona Belvedere May 20, 2009, 6:02 pm

    Yes, it’s ever so true, sometimes science just has to catch up to things many of us already know.

  • Monica May 21, 2009, 6:31 am

    Notonly do many specific plants have specific healing abilities, but I think plants in general life the spirit! I know they make my life a lot happier.

  • Cyd May 21, 2009, 3:33 pm

    I am glad to hear this. I always feel better when there is something green around.

  • Pomona Belvedere May 21, 2009, 4:02 pm

    I figured I’d be pretty much preaching to the choir here, but I thought it was interesting that medical science has started to catch up to us gardeners and nature-lovers.

  • catmint May 21, 2009, 6:42 pm

    It’s interesting to me that you’ve published this post. I agree that plants heal but I have been thinking lately about the dark side of plants, for example, poisonous plants. These are often healing in the right quantities. I definitely am also pleased medicine is getting out of its ivory tower a bit. And re your introduction to the next post: I take a bow!!!!

  • Northern Shade May 21, 2009, 6:47 pm

    Being in the garden, surrounded by plants is one of the best stress relievers. Whether I’m sitting on the ground methodically deadheading some plants with my fingernail, digging out a new garden bed, or just sniffing a flower, I’m always in a better mood.

  • Moe May 22, 2009, 4:52 am

    I don’t necessarily believe that plants have “spirits and personalities,” but I do agree 100% that spending time with plants – or outdoors, in general – is a great way to better your mental and physical health. Obviously, the work involved is good exercise, but being in nature, smelling the plants, being a part of creating and propagating life…it must release some chemical in the brain that makes you feel good, and probably aids in natural pain relief, too!

  • Pomona Belvedere May 22, 2009, 8:57 am

    I think it’s interesting that we all have different ways of describing this effect. It’s so tangible, and at the same time, so hard to say exactly what it is.

  • Daffodil Planter May 22, 2009, 2:17 pm

    I was watering in the early morning today, trying and failing to put into words the goodness out there.

  • wayne May 30, 2009, 6:03 am

    I often give credit for my relatively calm classroom to the massive number of plants one can find within it.

  • Pomona Belvedere May 30, 2009, 7:01 am

    Makes sense to me.

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