Against stress, poor concentration but also for a better recovery after surgery and illnesses, a remedy is… a plant to keep at home! But it should be a real plant, not a fake one! In recent years, several scientific studies have focused on the benefits of ornamental indoor plants on people's mood and health. This is testified by numerous articles published in specialized journals, we can cite the research published a few months ago in the International Journal of Environmental research and Public Health by a Korean team (Oh et al, Int J Environ Res Public Health, 2019), or the work of a few years ago carried out by a Japanese and Korean team and appeared in the Journal of Physiological Anthopology (Lee et al, J Physiol Anthropol, 2015).
In the first research, the scientists recruited 23 children between 11 and 13 years old. The kids were asked to sit in a room, in front of them was placed a real plant of Pothos, or Epipremnum aureum, a fake plant that, however, was completely identical to the original Photos, a photograph of the same plant and an empty vase. The researchers measured the brain waves that, in a person, are divided into gamma waves, which prevail in case of anxiety, alpha waves, which prevail during a moment of relaxation, delta waves, associated with deep sleep, and theta waves, linked to shallow sleep but also to drowsiness and poor attention. Not only that, the kids also had to answer a questionnaire to describe their state of mind. What emerged was that observing a real plant, but not the fake one or the picture or the empty vase, led to a decrease in theta waves and therefore to an increase in attention and in the ability to concentrate. Moreover, the mood also benefited from the indoor plant, but only if it was a real plant. In fact, observing a real plat made the kids feel more calm and comfortable. And what about the benefits of an indoor plant placed in a hospital room? It has been shown that observing plants and flowers during the hospitalization period following surgery has led not only to a reduction in blood pressure, but also to a lesser sensation of pain, anxiety and fatigue.
Not only observing, but also taking care of a plant brings incredible benefits! In fact, as the second research showed, gardening or simply potting a plant has reduced both physical and mental stress compared to a more mental activity such as working on a text document on a computer. In particular, taking care of the seedling and transplanting it led, in the study participants, all adults with an average age of 25, to a reduction in blood pressure, an increase in feeling of well-being but also it limited the action of the sympathetic nervous system, the part of the nervous system that is activated in case of stress.