Plunge your hands into the soil

Since I started volunteering in the Food Garden of the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, then in another that keeps an elderly person living on their own property, plus working in my own garden more intensively, I have never felt better.  The easy reason is that I am out in the fresh air, being physically active, have a purpose, constantly learn new information which stimulates my brain, and interact with a range of people. Now I know there is another reason. Science has discovered we can have a helping hand.

When reading a recent issue of Gardening Australia I was enlightened by an article extolling the benefits of Mycobacterium Vaccae. Have you heard of this bacterium?  I hadn’t.

The article might interest you –  it might provide another tool for you to consider when trying to improve all aspects of your health.

For those of us who grew up in times when playing in the dirt as children was normal (even if your mother yelled at you ‘not to get your clothes dirty’), I suspect we might have built up some immunity by coming into contact with the bacterium mentioned in this article. For those who garden, even if only in pots on a balcony or indoor pot plants, I would like to believe all can be beneficial. These days I feel very little stress. Even through the high intensity period associated with Covid 19 I have floated along much more easily than I used to. Whether it is gardening and the contact with that bacterium I don’t know – but something is working for some reason and I am glad of it.  If you are not plunging your hands into the soil from time to time (without gloves), perhaps you will consider it now.

And another thing: Apparently ‘the bacterium was first discovered on the shores of Lake Kyoga in Uganda in the 1970s by immunologist John Stanford after recognizing that people who lived in the area responded better to certain leprosy vaccines. They later realized that the bacterium found in the lakeshore soil had immune-modulating properties that were enhancing the vaccine’s efficacy.’ Read more here. Makes one think! Will the bacterium in our soils enhance the efficacy of any vaccine we might have?  Let’s plunge our hands into the soil.

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