The garden is sometimes referred to as the joyful spot by seasoned gardening. Even if they have never gardened before, new research reveals that many people may in fact benefit from interacting with plants on their mental health.
Researchers from the University of Florida discovered that gardening activities reduced stress, anxiety, and depression in healthy women who took twice-weekly gardening workshops. Their findings were published in the journal “PLOS ONE.” None of the study subjects had ever gardened.
The UF Wilmot Botanical Gardens, which also served as the site for all the study treatment sessions, the UF College of Medicine, the UF Center for Arts in Medicine, and the environmental horticulture department made up the interdisciplinary team of researchers that co-authored the paper.
The survey was finished by 32 women between the ages of 26 and 49. All of the participants in this investigation were in good health, which involved screening for things like long-term illnesses, drug and tobacco usage, prescription medicine use, and use of tobacco products. The other half of the participants were given art-making workshops, and the other half were given gardening activities. Each group had two weekly meetings, for a total of eight meetings. The gardening group was used as a benchmark in comparison to the art group.
“Activities like gardening and creating art both require organisation, creativity, and physical activity, and they can both be used therapeutically in healthcare settings. In terms of science, they are more comparable to one another than, say, gardening and bowling or gardening and reading, “Guy elucidated.
Participants in the gardening classes learned how to select and plant seeds, transplant various plant species, and harvest and taste edible plants. Participants in the art-making courses picked up skills in collage, printmaking, drawing, and papermaking.
A set of evaluations evaluating mood, stress, anxiety, and depression were performed by participants. The study’s findings revealed that both the gardening and art-making groups had gradual improvements in their mental health, with the gardeners expressing a little less worry than the artists.
The researchers were nonetheless able to show proof of what medical doctors would refer to as the dose effects of gardening, or how much gardening someone has to do to notice changes in mental health, despite the relatively small number of participants and the length of the trial.
Guy stated that “larger-scale investigations may reveal more regarding the relationship between gardening and alterations in mental health.” “We think that this research holds potential for mental health, the use of plants in medicine, and public health. It would be wonderful to see other scholars build their investigations off of our work.”
Therapeutic horticulture, often known as gardening for health and welfare, is a concept that dates back to the 19th century.
But why do we feel better when we are around plants? The authors of the study suggest that the significance of plants in human evolution and the development of civilization may hold the key to the solution. We humans may have a natural attraction to plants because we rely on them for food, shelter, and other necessities of life.
The researchers observed that many study participants left the trial with a newly discovered passion, whatever the deeper causes may be.
At the conclusion of the experiment, several of the participants expressed their desire to continue gardening in addition to how much they had loved the sessions, Guy added.