Dirty news

The container garden on my balcony is hanging on, even after a three-day trip this weekend where it was neglected. And an even bigger surprise- the mini-herb garden I started on my desk at work in a small pot, 2 mugs, and an old margarine container has sprouted happily. The dill, sage, oregano, and cilantro are now continuing to grow under my fluorescent desk light. It was the closest thing to a 'grow light' I had access to, and seems to be succeeding.

What's the "dirty news," you wonder? Well, the BBC is reporting that dirt is good for your health.
Exposure to dirt may be a way to lift mood as well as boost the immune system, UK scientists say.

Lung cancer patients treated with "friendly" bacteria normally found in the soil have anecdotally reported improvements in their quality of life.

Mice exposed to the same bacteria made more of the brain's "happy" chemical serotonin, the Bristol University authors told the journal Neuroscience.

Common antidepressants work by boosting this brain chemical.

A lack of serotonin is linked with depression in people.

The scientists say more work is now needed to determine if the bacterium Mycobacterium vaccae has antidepressant properties through activation of serotonin neurons.

Lead researcher Dr Chris Lowry said: "These studies help us understand how the body communicates with the brain and why a healthy immune system is important for maintaining mental health.

"They also leave us wondering if we shouldn't all spend more time playing in the dirt."

So, if you garden, not only are you growing healthy food to eat, even the act of getting down and dirty in the backyard could make for a better life! Can't wait till I have a backyard. Until then, I will tend to my pots of dirt and hope for the same effect.

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