Forests, parks, botanical gardens and other places with plenty of trees and plants can increase your immune function while improving your health and reducing your stress.
What is the secret to their healing properties?
Scientists claim that plant phytoncides, or odor that a plant gives off to protect itself from disease and insects damage also benefits humans. this confirms the use by integrated people and medicine practitioners and doctors for thousands of years.
People who visited nature parks for therapy, “Shinrin-yoku,” or “forest bathing.” have:
1. lowered concentrations of cortisol, dropped their pulse rate, and lower blood pressure
while raising levels of white blood cells.
2. in 2007 men who took two-hour walks in a forest over two days had a 50-percent increase in the levels of natural killer cells.
3. Another study found an increase in white blood cells that lasted a week in women exposed to phytoncides in forest air.
Various plants, mint, lavender, frankincense, rose, onion, garlic, tea tree, oak and pine trees, and many other plants give off phytoncides. Oak contains a substance called greenery alcohol; garlic contains allicin and diallyl disulfide; and pine contains alpha-pinene, carene, myrcene and other terpenes. More than 5000 volatile substances defend the surrounding plants from bacteria, fungi and insects.
While they protect themselves with these chemicals or volatile oils and resins they help to reduce our stress and boost our immune system. For more information on the therapeutic uses of plant oils contact CMA.
Images courtesy of naturescrusaders.com