April is National Lawn and Garden month, which is a great excuse to get a bit dirty! Spending time gardening isn’t just good for the environment and your community, it’s good for your health, too, thanks in part to the microbes in soil.


Beneficial Bacteria Microbes in Soil

Mycobacterium vaccae is a living creature that can be found in soil. Studies have found that just inhaling the microbes in soil can improve your mood as it stimulates serotonin production to help you feel more relaxed and happier. So dig right into that dirt!

Some studies suggest that when gardeners inhale the microbes from soil while working in their garden the effects on their mental health can last up to weeks.

Integrative Physiology Professor Christopher Lowry has studied the effects of soil on human health for decades. He suggests that sterile, urban environments may be at least partly to blame for rising rates of stress-related diseases. His dream is to develop a bacterium-based immunization, or a stress vaccine, to help curb the rise of mood disorders such as depression, anxiety and PTSD.

Cat among veggie plants

Exercise and Vitamin D

In addition to the serotonin-boosting effects of playing in dirt, spending time working in the yard has other benefits to our brains and bodies. Gardening can help reduce anxiety and depression while increasing a person’s satisfaction in their life and pride in their community. A little bit of exercise and Vitamin D can go a long way in improving our health.

Young child jumping in a puddle

Pollinator-Loving Plants

Taking some time to update your living space with plants is also beneficial to the animals and insects around us. Even a small container filled with easy-to-grow pollinator-loving plants like purple coneflower, butterfly milkweed or wild bergamot can make a big difference in your yard’s ecosystem. Your bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects will thank you.

So this April, get outside and get digging in your dirt. Even a small amount of time in the garden can boost your mood and improve your overall health. And be sure to share your favorite plant pictures with us the next time you’re in our office!


We’re featuring stories and suggestions from the team members at Schumacher & Bauer, DDS in our new monthly blog series. You can view all posts in this series here