For the most part, hygiene and being “clean” is something that most people aim to have and to be. Everywhere you go there is a bottle of hand sanitizer and a man or a lady holding a bottle ready to disinfect you, you dirty human, you. While this can obviously be beneficial in regards to killing bacteria that could potentially lead to illness, it is also contributing to the problem of superbugs. Which are bacteria that are becoming resistant to antibiotics.
Aside from this issue, somewhere along the path of becoming more hygienic, we began to fear being “dirty,” and thus developed a fear of the dirt itself. But what we didn’t realize is just how important the dirt is for our health. There is just something about connecting directly to the Earth that is essential for our health and well being. By now, you may have heard of the benefits and seen the science of grounding or Earthing, which, essentially is just walking barefoot on the ground. More research is emerging proving just how beneficial this simple practice can be for our health. Multiple studies have shown how playing in the dirt can have a drastic impact on our mental health as well.
Could The Dirt Be As Effective As Anti-Depressants?
Sometimes the solutions to our problems are a lot more simple than we think and getting back to the basics can be just what we need. Perhaps instead of prescribing anti-depressant medication to try and treat a symptom, we should look at what might be causing those symptoms in the first place. Soil microbes have been found to have similar effects on the brain as Prozac and can actually increase your mental health and essentially make you happy. Perhaps it is simply our lack of connection with the earth that has contributed to this problem in the first place.
Mycobacterium vaccae is a substance found in the soil that is being studied for its antidepressant properties. This bacterium may stimulate serotonin production, which is the “happy hormone.” This can make you more relaxed and happy.
A lack of serotonin production in the brain has been linked to depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and bipolar disorder and unfortunately all of these mental health issues generally come along with a prescription for pharmaceutical drugs that can cause dependency issues or cause further damage to the brain. To gain the effects from these natural antidepressant microbes that are found in the soil one simply has to play in the dirt. Sounds a lot better than taking heavy duty chemical prescription medications, wouldn’t you say?
If you know any regular gardeners, you may have heard them tell you that the garden is their happy place, gardening itself is a stress reducer and mood lifter. Perhaps those with the green thumbs were right about this all along as science has now started to prove this idea.
How Does It Work?
The microbes that are found in the soil actually cause cytokine levels to rise which results in higher serotonin production in the brain. The bacterium was tested using rats – ingestion and injection. Remarkably, the results showed an increase in cognitive ability, lower stress and better concentration on tasks than that from a control group of rats.
M. vaccae bacterium was also injected directly into lung cancer patients, they reported a better quality of life and less pain.
This is simply another example of how much nature can improve our mental and physical health. We all know how disconnected we are, but it doesn’t have to be this way at all. Hopefully this serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of getting out there, getting outside, connecting with the Earth, playing and most importantly disconnecting from our phones and other technologies once in a while.
So, get out there, in the dirt, play, weed your garden – start a garden, whatever it is! This could be a key to improving your mental health and quite possibly your life. If not now, when?
Posted on http://www.collective-evolution.com - March 17 2018