YASTONBURY HEALTH BENEFITS
Purchasing a tree, hedgerow, shrub or wildflowers with us at Yastonbury, or by just donating to our project will provide benefits to entire ecosystems by stabilizing soils, providing rich habitat for wildlife, absorbing and filtering rainwater and more. Trees also provide a range of benefits to human health. From medicinal trees that human societies have relied on for thousands of years for life-saving medicine to urban trees that shade city dwellers from dangerously high temperatures, the advantages of planting trees cannot be overstated.
Looking back on time, it’s clear that humans relied on trees for their very survival — they form part of our environment and of who we are. We find nourishment in their nutrient-rich fruits, shelter in their limbs, healing in their medicinal compounds, protection as they absorb harmful pollutants and wonder in their presence. In modern times, research has only substantiated what we already know: trees hold the key to our survival, both globally for the health of the planet and on an individual level through the direct health benefits they provide.
THE FOLLOWING BENEFITS ARE:
Numerous studies have demonstrated that the presence of trees in urban settings can improve mental health by reducing stress — living in areas with more green space correlates with lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. On top of that, trees and greener environments are strongly linked to reduced negative thoughts, reduced symptoms of depression, better reported moods, and increased life satisfaction. Treefest research, University Derby www.theguardian.com Patrick Barkham 02/09/22
REMOVE AIR POLLUTION
Trees are known as the lungs of our planet, (in fact a picture of an upside down tree with no leaves looks just like the inside of a human lung.) Trees are vital in the reduction of air pollution levels around the world. You can see from our Yastonbury Carbon Footprint tab the amount of pollution we estimate 1 tree will remove from the air that we breath daily. We estimate 1 tree on average will remove 10Kg or 22 pounds of air pollution per year, during the trees first 20 years of growth. In total 0.2 tonnes of polluted air removed during 20 years. This is important because air pollution in the form of particulate matter (like ozone, carbon monoxide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide) are linked to a range of human health conditions including bronchitic symptoms, increased risk for glaucoma, heart attacks, changes in vascular function, autism, high blood pressure, cognitive development problems in children, heart failure and increased mortality. The 3 main conditions associated with air pollution are respiratory conditions such as asthma, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and lung cancer, and there is emerging evidence for associations with dementia, low birth weight and Type 2 diabetes. www.gov.uk Health matters: air pollution.
IMPROVE CHILDREN'S ATTENTION
Research has shown that stress levels, concentration and intrinsic motivation influence a child's success as a student. Green environments, like trees, are related to reduced symptoms of ADD and ADHD — and studies have shown that children with views of trees are more likely to succeed at school. This can especially help those with information processing issues, behavioural problems and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms. A potential Natural Treatment for ADHD evidence from a National Study: National Institutes of Health (.gov) www.ncbi.nim.nih.gov: American Journal of Public Health
HELP US RECOVER FROM ILLNESS
Trees can help us recover faster by reducing blood pressure and stress. In fact, studies have found that just 3-5 minutes spent looking at nature can help reduce anger, anxiety and pain, along with inducing relaxation. And as we know, stress plays a big role in our overall health and healing — too much stress can weaken our immune system. So it should come as no surprise that time spent immersed in or even just looking at nature can provide us with much needed support, helping us to recover from all forms of illnesses and certain medical conditions. How Hospital Gardens Help Patients Heal - Scientific American. View through a window may influence recovery from surgery - The Centre for Health Design www.healthdesign.org
Residents of tree-lined communities feel healthier and have fewer cardio-metabolic conditions than those that live in less green areas. Among other factors, this can be attributed to the stress-relieving properties of trees — and the fact that regularly seeing them tends to encourage more regular physical activity in the great outdoors. All of which helps to keep our hearts healthy and strong. Research conducted by Harvard Health Publishing of the Harvard Medical School dated March 1st, 2019: - " living in a leafy, green neighbourhood may lead to lower levels of some tell-tale markers for heart disease and stroke". These findings are supported and published online Dec 5th, 2018, by the Journal of the American Heart Association, who add to earlier research showing health benefits from living near green spaces.
IMPROVE OUR COGNITION
The presence of trees can help people with neurodegenerative diseases. Research into the link between nature and dementia are still at their early stages but the results are promising during a 10-week woodland activity program for patients with early-stage dementia, woodlands were found to promote mental wellbeing and provide a meaningful, purposeful sensory experience. These experiences not only improved spatial awareness, but also helped patients regain a sense of self. Residency in an area with increased green space was associated with better cognitive function in middle-aged female nurses, Natural Medicine Journal Sept 2022. Living in areas with more greenery may boost cognitive function, Boston University School of Public Health April 2022.
NUTRITIOUS FOOD SOURCE
Trees can improve food security and promote well-being. Well planned orchards (or urban food forestry) can be an efficient way to provide free or low-cost, nutrient-dense food to people who need it. People across the world have survived on produce and fruits grown from trees for many centuries. In New York City USA, 88% of trees planted bear nutritious food source for the people of NYC and the cities visitors.
BOOST OUR IMMUNE SYSTEMS
Not only do trees absorb harmful chemicals, but they also release beneficial ones. In studies of participants who been exposed to phytoncides (chemicals released by trees and plants), their immune systems benefited. In particular, the study observed an increase in natural killer cells (cells of the innate immune system). Effects of forest bathing on human immune function - National Institutes of Health (.gov.) www.ncbi.nim.nih.gov
HELP PREVENT CANCER
Since Natural Killer cells can kill tumour cells by releasing anticancer proteins, and woodland (forest) bathing boosts our immune systems, woodland visits may have a preventive effect on cancer generation and development. Forest bathing enhances human natural killer activity and expression of anti-cancer proteins - National Institute of Health (.gov). Going for a woodland walk can reduce cancer risk, says new study - Mens Health Jan 2021.
Studies have shown that when we’re exposed to nature, even for just a short time, our parasympathetic nervous system gradually takes control, lowering our blood pressure, pulse rate, inflammation, and cortisol levels and elevating our moods. As a result, we can experience increased Vigor and decreased depression, anxiety, fatigue, and mental fog. Simply put: Woodland helps us stay happy, relaxed, and well. Why trees can make you happier - University of California, Berkeley. Stressed out? science says look at some trees - Psychology Today, www.psychologytoday.com, May 2016.
An estimated 1 in 5 patients consult their GP for problems that traditional medical interventions and treatments can’t help. With all of its well-documented benefits, woodland (forest) bathing could be used as preventative medicine and may become more popular as a non-clinical activity to improve wellbeing. First developed in Japan during the early 1980s "shinrin-yoku," following scientific studies conducted by the government of Japan. A beginners guide to forest bathing - National Trust www.nationaltrust.org. Forest Bathing: what it is and where to do it - National Geographic www.nationalgeographic.com.
RELEASE MEDICINAL AEROSOLS
As you walk through the trees, especially in an old-growth woodland, you are immersed in an air bath of natural woodland biochemicals released as a fine aerosol mist. Tree aerosols have anti-cancer properties, improve circulation and decrease high blood pressure. They also have antibiotic, antifungal and anti-rheumatic effects. Some tree aerosols suppress the flow of the stress hormone cortisol, which can reduce anxiety and boost our immune systems.
As you can see, trees play a vital role both globally for the health of the planet and on an individual level through the direct health benefits they provide. Want to help? Plant a tree today!