PlantTherapy: Dirt Makes You Happy?

PlantTherapy: Dirt Makes You Happy?

Nov 10, 2007

Image of a weeder's finger by found drama via Flickr

This past year my neighbors and I got together to take more compost at the Soundview compost giveback for our neglected outdoor areas around our building. I was shocked at how much fun we had - over dirt! Strangers and friends alike all had a good time.

And now Organic Gardening Magazine had a short blurb this month on why that dirt may have played a role in making us all so happy...

According to the article a common bacterium found in soil, Micobacterium vaccae, is already an effective vaccine for treating Leprosy and is being evaluated for its value in treating asthma, TB and cancer.

During a study with cancer patients being treated with M. vaccae the participants reported feeling inexplicably happy. As it turns out the bacterium causes the brain to release seratonin, which is a pleasure-inducing hormone and may have been responsible for the feeling of happiness.

So it might not be a coincidence when an afternoon in the garden makes someone happier!

matt at apartment therapy dot com

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