(NaturalNews) Giving flowers to cheer one who is sick is a widespread custom throughout the world. Luther Burbank, famous American botanist, horticulturist and pioneer in agricultural science, felt strongly about the healing effects of flowers when he stated: "Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul." Likening flowers to medicine is most fitting as a new study reported in ScienceDaily confirms.
Kansas State University's Seong-Hyun Park and Richard H. Mattson from the Department of Horticulture, Recreation and Forestry set out to determine the actual extent of the therapeutic value of plants and flowers. For this study they chose a group of hospital in-patients who were recovering from appendectomies. Using various medical and psychological measurements, the results were as follows:
"Those having plants in their rooms had significantly fewer intakes of pain medication, more positive physiological responses (lower blood pressure and heart rate), less pain, anxiety, and fatigue, and better overall positive and higher satisfaction with their recovery rooms than their counterparts in the control group without plants in their rooms.
An interesting note to this study, the majority of patients who had plants in their rooms reported that the plants were the most positive qualities of their rooms (93%), whereas patients without plants in their rooms said that watching television was the most favorable aspect of their rooms (91%)."
Potted plants offered the most benefit because of their longevity over cut flowers. The nursing staff also reported that as the patients progressed, they began to tend the plants by watering, pruning, and moving them to have a better view or to afford the plants more light.
Living things of beauty help us to connect on a higher level that austere surroundings do not provide. A number of other studies have shown that plants improve air quality, increase humidity, and reduce the quantity of mold spores and airborne germs. Good choices to improve the air are philodendron, dracaena, English ivy, golden pothos, Chinese evergreen or bamboo palm.
Analgesics and anesthetics along with their accompanying side effects are commonly offered by conventional medicine for pain reduction. These effects may range from headaches, nausea and vomiting to the more serious drug addiction/dependency or even death. The Park/Mattson study provides strong evidence of yet another non-pharmacological approach to speed healing and recovery-- meaningful therapeutic contact with plants, directly beneficial to patients' health. Aristotle said: "If one way be better than another, that you may be sure is nature's way."
ScienceDaily, December 30, 2008 - "Flowering Plants Speed Post-Surgery Recovery" -Adapted from materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science.
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Susanne Morrone, C.N.C., is an author, speaker and natural health educator. Her book, "The Best Little Health Book Ever," is the quintessential natural health primer. She is also included in "101 Great Ways to Improve Your Health" by Selfgrowth.com. Her mission and educational outreach is found at www.naturalhealthchat.com.