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Garden Health

Take your phytoncides

“Two kinds of phytoncides have been found to be antimicrobial on inhalation, while three have been found to increase immune system activity in vitro.”

Biologically speaking, we need to ingest a certain amount of nature.  No, seriously.  In a Review of the Benefits of Nature Experiences: More Than Meets the Eye, Franco, Shanahan, Fuller, 2017, in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health stated, “Phytoncides are antimicrobial volatile organic compounds emitted by plants typically for defense against decay or attack by herbivores. Phytoncides permeate the air in natural environments, and are directly ingested by visitors to environments containing plants emitting them. They are not smelled or tasted as such, but simply ingested through inhalation.”

So why would we want that to happen?

“Two kinds of phytoncides have been found to be antimicrobial on inhalation, while three have been found to increase immune system activity in vitro,” Franco, Shanahan, Fuller found. “Overall, phytoncides are believed to decrease stress and increase relaxation, as in rats, they decrease spontaneous activity and reduce cardiovascular response to the stress of restraint. They also prolong sleep, decrease anxiety, and depress the central nervous system in mice.”

The study mentioned was supported by many other studies, including this report at beebehavior.com/phytoncides.php.

The home environment is the perfect place to up the phytoncides. Choose plants best known for giving us these goodies, namely Cedar, Rosemary, and Pine.  You can space them throughout the walking space to give, what the Japanese call, A Forest Bath.

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