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Wellness

Creating a sense of calm – 9 plants that can improve mental health

Abigail Shiers
Abigail Shiers

This week marks Mental Health Awareness Week, hosted by the Mental Health Foundation.

Mental health is the way we think and feel and our ability to deal with ups and downs.

Mental health is something we all have. When we enjoy good mental health, we have a sense of purpose and direction, the energy to do the things we want to do, and the ability to deal with the challenges that happen in our lives.

When we think about our physical health, there’s a place for keeping ourselves fit, and a place for getting appropriate help as early as possible so we can get better. Mental health is just the same.

Gardening and Mental Health

At this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019, which runs from Tuesday 21st May to Saturday 25th May, they will be creating an anti-stress garden to create an oasis of calm for visitors to relax in, while forgetting the pressures of everyday life.

The garden will explore plant technologies which alleviate stress through scent and sound, helping to improve the mental health of those paying a visit. There will be carefully selected plants on display that have been chosen according to their well-being properties.

Researchers have been promoting the mental health benefits of horticulture for decades, and for good reason. Studies have repeatedly shown that the act of tending to plants can take our minds off the bad stuff, relieve stress, and have an overall calming effect. Gardening is so good for your brain that it’s even thought to lower the risk of dementia.

Plants are also a great way to take a break from technology, and the stressful whirl of FOMO and work emails that comes with it. It’s pretty hard to scroll through a social media feed while pruning or watering, and that’s the key: nurturing a plant, even for just a few minutes each day, forces you to stop and focus on being present.

Being surrounded by nature boosts our mood and eases stress. What we would like to do at Fieldworks is mimic that soothing vibe at work. By creating a space where we can grow our own plants, fruit and vegetables, which we hope will have a positive impact on your mental and physical health.

Here’s just 9 plants that are known to aid better mental health and boost well-being:

• Roses
Rose petals contain a number of powerful antioxidants which can help with repairing cell damage. The symbolism of a rose is also one which evokes feelings of love. This, coupled with their gorgeous smell, is soothing and therapeutic to body and mind.

• Elderflower
Elderflower has been used in traditional medicine all over the world because of its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. As such, it is a natural remedy for common respiratory disturbances such as colds, flu and sinus infections.

• Juniper
Juniper increases the digestive enzymes in your gut which in turn increases stomach acid and helps to reduce bloating. Their distinctive fragrance is also therapeutic and has been shown to help aid a restful sleep.

• Camomile
Camomile contains the antioxidant apigenin, which binds to receptors in the brain and may help reduce insomnia. Drinking the tea, or smelling its scent, has been known to alleviate symptoms of depression which can often go hand-in-hand with sleeping issues.

• Iris
Iris has a distinctive perfume, similar to violets, which is soothing and proven to help promote relaxation. It’s also a common ingredient in anti-ageing skin care as the natural isoflavones can be said to restrict the breakdown of structural protein and stimulate the skin.

• Coriander
With its distinctive tart, lemony taste, coriander has a high nutritional value and is packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre. Consuming coriander, which contains natural fatty acids, can provide some help towards reducing cholesterol by natural means.

• Chrysanthemums improve mood
Chrysanthemums have been shown to lessen symptoms of worry and stress, and when taken as tea, this flower cools and relaxes our body.

• Snake plants boost productivity
The Snake plant improves energy levels and can help those who suffer from eye irritations, headaches or breathing problems. Other benefits include improving reaction times, increasing concentration and lowering levels of anxiety.

• Lisianthus encourage creativity
Red flowers, such as ruby Ranunculus, are connected to concentration and attention to detail, whilst blue stems ,such as delicate anemone or pretty Lisianthus, encourage creativity and free thinking.

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