US Med Voice

US Med


Vol. 3, No. 8 | August 2011




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Tending plants can improve your health and mood
Improve Your Health by Gardening

US MED Gives BackIf you have a small patch of earth, a patio or balcony where a flower pot can stand, or a windowsill, you have an opportunity to improve your health.

The American Horticultural Therapy Association tells of such benefits as lower blood pressure, lifting of depression or mood, faster wound healing, and increased bone density that tending plants or a garden can bring.

They say human beings have a genetic-based evolutionary need for plants being around them. Increasingly, health care centers and hospitals have incorporated green spaces, gardens, and indoor plants into their buildings.

But you don't have to go to a hospital to reap the benefits. Working with flowers and plants can be more attractive to people than walking on a treadmill or doing therapy.

At Gardening for Good in Westport, Mass., they recommend focusing on the smells, colors, and textures of leaves and flowers. Specific plants have specific benefits. Peppermint is energizing and reviving. Lavender is calming. Pansies bring brightness after the winter.


Coleus has foliage of brilliant green, magenta, and purple. Touching its leaves is calming. Rosemary does well on a windowsill, and you can enjoy the fragrance that stays on your hands.


Experts recommend starting small if you haven't had a garden before. A container garden can keep you engaged while tending it, and you won't be overwhelmed with the work a large vegetable garden will bring. .


Some say just the rhythm of seasonal plants and knowing when they will bloom is very satisfying.



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