Gardening Articles

The Relation Of Plants To Health

Plants at present are more generally cultivated in-doors than formerly, and they may be seen in almost every home. The cultivation of plants in dwellings is decidedly a modern custom--at least to the extent to which it is now practised. One who now

contemplates building a dwelling house, plans to have included with the other conveniences of a first-class home, a suitable window for house plants. As the cultivation of plants in dwelling houses increases, the question is raised by some: "Are not plants injurious to health, if growing in the apartments in which we live and sleep?" We know of persons who would not sleep in a room in which a number of plants were growing, giving as the reason that the amount of carbonic acid gas given off by the plants, is detrimental to health. Now this view is either true or it is not true. We have made a particular study of this matter, and speak from experience. Over ten years of my life had been spent in the green-house, among all kinds of plants; I have frequently slept all night among them, and I have never observed it to be in any way detrimental to my health, but, on the contrary, I have never felt better than when among plants. Gardeners, as a class, those who have spent their lives among plants, show, so far as we have observed, a longevity equal to, if not exceeding that of any other class who are engaged in any of the vocations usually regarded as healthy. We must admit, however, that we have never known of a case of chronic rheumatism to be benefited in the least by working in hot-houses, on account of the perpetual dampness of the air. On the other hand, we know of a number of persons afflicted with various other diseases, who have been noticeably benefited by working among plants: perhaps it was owing to the health-giving bodily exercise required by the work, rather than the supposed health-giving effects of the plants themselves; we think the result was due to both. An eminent physician cites a case in which his sister, aged fifty years, was afflicted with tubercular consumption, her death, as the natural result of such a terrible disease being expected at any time, but being an ardent lover of plants and flowers, she was daily accustomed to move among her plants, of which she possessed a large number, in her sleeping room as well as many others in beds outside. Her friends reproved her for sleeping in the same room with her plants; but the years came and went, and she was still found moving among her flowers in her eightieth year, surviving those, who many years before predicted her immediate demise, as the result of her imprudence. Who will say but what the exhalation from her numerous plants increasing the humidity of the atmosphere in which she lived, prolonged her life? The above is but one of many cases, in which tubercular consumption has been arrested and sometimes wholly cured by the sanitary effects produced by working among plants for a considerable time. We know of cases in which druggists, ministers, and students from school, compelled to relinquish their chosen vocations on account of failing health, have resorted to the nursery or hot-house. In almost every case restoration to vigorous health was the result. We contend, therefore, that this old superstition that house plants are injurious to health, is nothing but a myth. The amount of carbonic acid gas at night discharged from two dozen large plants, will not equal that exhaled by one infant sleeper, as has been demonstrated by scientific men. Because a few old cronies stick to the absurdity that "plants are awful sickenin' things," it is no reason why sensible people should be at all alarmed by it.

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