Prescriptions in a Potted Plant

A few well-placed plants can help people recover faster from stress and feel less mental fatigue, research has shown. And another study suggests that simply being in a room with some greenery may reduce physical discomfort as well. When 198 people were asked to submerge their hands in ice water, 49 percent of those in a windowless room with plants were able to keep their hands immersed for the full 5-minute test, while only 30 percent of those tested in the same room without plants were able to do it (HortTechnology, 2000). “We suspect that the calming effect of plants is an internal response,” says researcher Virginia Lohr, PhD, professor of horticulture at Washington State University in Pullman. “We have evolved with plants in nature and are closely connected. Perhaps we’re more at ease when we’re near the things we need to survive.”