Why your brain needs a Garden

image

“There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling.” – Mirabel Osler

Gardening awakens a primal urge that many of us have to connect with the earth. By putting your hands in the soil, you are able to physically unite with nature on an elemental level.
At the same time, gardening gets you outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine, helping your body produce much-needed vitamin D. It gets you moving, providing important exercise, and allows you to connect socially with others.
When you garden, you’re adding beauty to the landscape and habitat for birds, bees, frogs, worms, and so much more. Depending on what you garden, you can reap a harvest of fruits and vegetables to feed your family. You can also indirectly feed your brain for better mood and emotional health, and to satisfy your curiosity for knowledge.
In fact, learning is the fourth top reason why people say they garden — after to grow safe, healthy food, get exercise, and add beauty to their yard. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that people garden, in part, to stimulate their brains, as gardening has been shown to impact brain health considerably.

Spending time in a garden may help calm dementia patients
A new systematic review examined the impact of gardens and outdoor spaces on the mental and physical well-being of people with dementia. The research suggested that garden use, whether it be watering plants, walking through a garden or sitting in one, led to decreased levels of agitation or anxiety among the patients.
As for why the garden may help induce calm, Dr. Mark Stecker, chairman of neurosciences at Winthrop-University Hospital, who was not involved with the study, said:
“When your brain is impaired, you go back to your basic instincts. Many people have always enjoyed the outdoors. They may not have an explicit memory of that, but it’s an implicit memory. And they find it comforting to be outside.”
Interestingly, while spending time in a garden may help relieve some dementia symptoms, it may also help to reduce your risk of developing dementia in the first place. As reported by CNN:
“Two separate studies that followed people in their 60s and 70s for up to 16 years found, respectively, that those who gardened regularly had a 36 percent and 47 percent lower risk of dementia than non-gardeners, even when a range of other health factors were taken into account.
These findings are hardly definitive, but they suggest that the combination of physical and mental activity involved in gardening may have a positive influence on the mind.”

Gardening may make you happy via antidepressant microbes in the soil
According to a survey by Gardeners’ World magazine, 80 percent of gardeners reported being “happy” and satisfied with their lives, compared to 67 percent of non-gardeners. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that gardeners are happier.
Mycobacterium vaccae is a type of bacteria commonly found in soil, which people may ingest or inhale when they garden. Remarkably, this microbe has been found to “mirror the effect on neurons that drugs like Prozac provide.” It helps to stimulate serotonin production, helping to make you feel happier and more relaxed. No wonder so many people describe their garden as their “happy place.”
In one animal study, mice that ingested Mycobacterium vaccae had a demonstrated reduction in anxiety and improved learning. The researchers noted that natural exposure to microbes may be important for emotional health and behavior:
“Recent studies show that contact with tolerogenic microbes is important for the proper functioning of immunoregulatory circuits affecting behavior, emotionality and health […]
Collectively, our results suggest a beneficial effect of naturally delivered, live M. vaccae on anxiety-related behaviors… supporting a positive role for ambient microbes in the immunomodulation of animal behavior.”

Gardening helps you get grounded
There’s another way that gardening may help your mood and brain health, and that is grounding. The surface of the earth holds subtle health-boosting energy, and all you have to do to harness it is touch it. Walking barefoot on the earth transfers free electrons from the earth’s surface into your body that then spread throughout your tissues.
Grounding has been shown to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, improve sleep, and enhance your well-being.
Aside from increasing your sense of well-being and calm, keeping a garden can also improve your health by providing you with fresher, uncontaminated food; nutrient-dense food that is simply unavailable in your grocery store. It will also help you reduce your grocery bill. You don’t need vast amounts of space either.
Even apartment dwellers can create a well-stocked edible garden. You can use virtually every square foot of your space to grow food, including your lateral space. Hanging baskets are ideal for a wide variety of crops, such as strawberries, leafy greens, runner beans, pea shoots, tomatoes, and a variety of herbs. You can also grow sprouts like sunflower seeds and reap a harvest in 7-10 days.
And instead of flowers, window boxes can hold herbs, greens, radishes, scallions, bush beans, strawberries, chard, and chilies, for example. Just start small, and as you get the hang of it, add another container of something else. Before you know it, large portions of your meals could come straight from your own edible garden.

author: Dr. Mercola
Full article at: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/08/21/gardening-impacts-brain-health.aspx

Annunci

Healing Herbs for Gardens

healing-herbs
Basil:
it is called the “king of herbs”. It is used medicinally as a natural anti-inflammatory and is thought to have mild antiseptic functions. Some healing uses are for flatulence, lack off appetite, nausea and cuts and scrapes.
Basil is an annual plant so you will have to start anew each year.

German Chamomile: Chamomile is one of the most popular herbs in the Western world. Its flower heads are commonly used for infusions, teas and salves. These in turn can be used to treat indigestion, anxiety and skin inflammations.
As a tea, it serves as a mild sedative to help with sleep.

Feverfew: The name feverfew comes from a Latin word meaning “fever reducer”.
This perennial is a member of the sunflower family and has been used for centuries in European folk medicine as a remedy for headaches, arthritis, and fevers.
Its many uses include easing headache pains – especially migraines. This is done by chewing on the leaves. A tea made from the leaves and flowers is said to relieve the symptoms of arthritis.

Lemon Balm: Lemon balm is a member of the mint family. Considered a calming herb, it has been used as far back as the Middle Ages to reduce stress and anxiety, promote sleep, improve appetite, and ease pain and discomfort from indigestion. Even before the Middle Ages, lemon balm was steeped in wine to lift the spirits, help heal wounds, and treat venomous insect bites and stings.
As with many other herbs in your healing garden, lemon balm promotes relaxation and a sense of calm.

Parsley: There is nothing like a sprig of parsley to take away bad breath. It is no wonder that this biennial (meaning it lives for two years) is used to decorate and garnish plates in the fanciest of restaurants.
When brewed as a tea, parsley can help supplement iron in a person’s diet, particularly for those who are anemic. Drinking parsley tea also boosts energy and overall circulation of the body, and helps battle fatigue from lack of iron.
Parsley tea fights gas and flatulence in the belly, kidney infections, and bladder infections. It can also be an effective diuretic.

Sage: The genus name for sage is “salvia” which means “to heal”. In the first century C.E. Greek physician Dioscorides reported that sage stopped bleeding of wounds and cleaned ulcers and sores. He also recommended sage juice in warm water for hoarseness and cough. In modern times, a sage tea is used to sooth mouth, throat and gum inflammations. This is because sage has excellent antibacterial and astringent properties.

Thyme: Back during medieval times, thyme was given to knights before going in to battle. The purpose was to infuse this manly man with vigor and courage.
These days, thyme used to relieve coughs, congestion, indigestion and gas. This perennial is rich in thymol, a strong antiseptic, making thyme highly desirable in the treatment of wounds and even fungus infections. Thyme is a perennial that does well, even in cooler, Pacific Northwest climates.

Rosemary: Long ago, rosemary was known as ‘the herb of remembrance.’ Even today, in places like Australia and New Zealand, it is used as a symbol of remembrance since it is known to help sharpen mental clarity and stimulate brain function.
You might recall that many statues of the ancient Greeks and Romans show men wearing sprigs of rosemary on their heads, signifying mental acuity.
The needles of the delightfully fragrant rosemary plant can be used in a tea to treat digestive problems. The same tea can also be used as an expectorant and as a relaxing beverage that is helpful for headaches. Other healing uses include improving memory, relieving muscle pain and spasms, stimulating hair growth, and supporting the circulatory and nervous systems.

Peppermint: Peppermint has a long tradition of medicinal use. Archaeological evidence places its use far back as ten thousand years ago. It is commonly used to soothe or treat symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, indigestion, irritable bowel and bloating.
The leaves and stems contain menthol which in addition to use medicinally, is used as a flavoring in food, and a fragrance in cosmetics. The plant is prolific, growing well in moist, shaded areas as well as in sunnier locations. The roots emit runners that can quickly overtake the garden so most gardeners prefer to plant peppermint in pots.

Lavender: A tea made from lavender has many uses with one of the foremost being it’s ability to have a calming effect on a person’s mind and body. To that end, lavender can promote a sense of well-being and alleviate stress. It is also useful for dealing with various gastrointestinal issues such as upset stomachs and flatulence.
Because it is a strong antiseptic, lavender tea, when applied topically, can help heal cuts, wounds and sores. It can also be used to mitigate bad breath.

How to Start
It depends mainly on the amount of space you have, the climate, and the availability of seeds, starts, or cuttings.
A recommendation is to start with three or four herbs that appeal to you from a healing perspective. Many can be grown in pots on a porch or deck so if space is a problem, you can start modestly.

How to Make an Herbal Tea
First bring some cool water to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, fetch a non-mental container that will be used to brew the tea. A quart mason jar works nicely for this purpose. You do not want to use a metal container since the metal may interfere with the purity and taste of the tea.
Add 2 tablespoons of fresh (or 1 tablespoon of dried herb or crushed seed) to the empty pot or jar for each cup of water. Then, and this is the important part, add an extra 2 tablespoons of fresh (or 1 tablespoon of dried) herbs “for the pot”. So, for example, if you are making 2 cups of hot tea, you would use 6 tablespoons of fresh herbs or 3 tablespoons of dried herbs.
Pour the boiling water over the herbs and let them steep, covered, for about 5 minutes give or take. There is no exact time since everyone’s strength preference is difference. When ready, strain the herbs and pour the tea into a cup. At this point you may want to garnish your heavenly and healing cup of tea with honey, citrus fruits or addition herb sprigs.
For iced tea, increase the quantity of herbs in the basic recipe by 1 1/2 to allow for dilution from the melting ice.

author: Gaye Levy
original source: http://www.naturalblaze.com/2014/03/10-healing-herbs-to-grow-in-your.html

Healing Garden. Il Giardino che Cura

Garden
Healing Garden. Il Giardino che Cura
Author: Cristina Pandolfo
Publisher: Brigantia Publisher
presentation sheet

Gardens are the realm of serenity and contemplation, compared to paradise as utopian place where sensibility and knowledge coexist in a perfect harmonious synthesis. The ability of the nature to cure the diseases of the soul, through our sensory perceptions, generates a positive action that has an effect on the physical body improving the whole quality of our life. Healing Gardens belong to the holistic therapies based on an integration between material and spiritual world. Inside us there isn’t a division between mind and body and a garden, preparing minds to beauty, peace and quietness is able to instill a well-being feeling that leads a general improvement of our health.

BUY IT ONLINE
[momentarily only in Italian language]