The Fountain Of Youth

Certified Permaculturists & Master Gardeners Dr. Barre & Deborah Lando from the Alfa Vedic Farm tell you why gardening will keep you feeling young!


Let your thoughts wander to a more carefree time. Running through the tall grass in the quiet of the forest, with feet dodging obstacles as if they had a mind of their own. Days were endless affairs of fort-building, visits to your favorite swimming hole, or just languishing in an open field.
Do you recall gorging on wild berries that stained your face and hands a vivid purple for the next several days? Nature was your trusted companion, and the context for a world of endless imaginings and offerings.

Those of us who can remember are now witnessing the effects of ‘progress’, and the widening chasm between Man and his roots. Science now joins the consensus, as mounting data clearly reveals an incriminating nexus between urbanization and the alarming decline in both mental and physical health.

The earth itself emanates a frequency of 7.83 hz, the same frequency that provides a synchronization and stabilization within our own brain structure. This so-called ‘Schumann Resonance’ then regulates the release of those biochemical elements in a balance required for intelligence and health. Synthetic electronics and petrochemicals have created a formidable barrier to this most fundamental link with the natural order, but there is an anecdote. Gardening!

Every avid gardener has that ‘ah-ha’ moment, when it occurs that there’s more to tilling the soil than meets the eye. Early on we attended a class in Garden Design taught by a horticultural professor, with a prior incarnation in the development of WMD’s operating from the upper limits of the Earth’s atmosphere. The irony of his conflicting vocations was not lost, as he was now dedicated to giving and growing new life. One thing he said in particular stuck with us in the many years since; “gardening increases a life span by 20 years.”

To date, extensive research has continued to corroborate his astonishing statement. Studies have yielded a variance in findings and numbers, but the overwhelming conclusion is consistent; gardening is beneficial to the human body. This understanding has now been formalized within a discipline known as ‘Horticultural Therapy’.

HISTORY – People have always found peace and solace in nature. Mankind’s first recorded use of horticulture as a treatment for the mentally disturbed goes back to ancient Egypt. Court physicians discerned the calming and healing effects of gardening on the human psyche.

This recognition was retained, and further implemented within clinical settings in countries such as the United States, England and Spain during the 1700’s and 1800’s. The people-plant connection was well accepted, as an effective approach in the treatment for ‘dis-ease’. Dr. Benjamin Rush, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and a professor at the Institute of Medicine and Clinical Practice in Philadelphia, also considered America’s first psychiatrist, opened the door for horticulture in the treatment of mental illness. He duly noted and substantiated the curative effect that field labor in a farm setting had on people suffering from mental illness, and those combatting what is commonly known today as post trauma stress disorder (PTSD) as a consequence of the Revolutionary War.

Today Horticultural Therapy is practiced worldwide in institutional settings from hospitals to prisons, as gardening programs assist in the rehabilitation of both mental and physical disability. How might you benefit from putting your hands in the soil?


Lowered risk in the occurrence of the following ailments: a reduction in diabetes, heart disease, blood pressure and osteoporosis to name a few, in men 50 years and older who take up gardening consistently 2-3 times per week.

Exercise – Assists in weight loss, increases flexibility, and increases physical strength, and thereby reducing the risk of falling injuries. Gardening can burn as many calories in 45 minutes as compared to 30 minutes of aerobics training. Weeding burns as many calories as walking or bicycling at a moderate pace, and manual push-mowing burns as many calories as playing tennis.

Medicine – Plants are the source of ‘real’ medicine that your body can ‘wrap its head around’ in the absence of synthetic substances that override natural processes with predictable ‘side effects’. Even today the home gardener can grow herbs and spices proven to enhance longevity and quality of life.

Alleviation of Depression through Socialization – Depression in later life is a common occurrence in nursing home populations, and the nearly 800,000 seniors widowed yearly. By and large this depressive symptomatology is unrecognized and untreated. A simple and effective treatment for those feeling isolated and alone is to provide a garden setting that brings seniors together. Social relationships are forged through a shared endeavor, while the natural nurturing inclination of elders finds outlet through tending a garden.

Plants and the Individual – Noise and overwhelming sensory assault are the unfortunate norm in today’s world. Environments predominated by plants provides a counteractive atmosphere to habituated stress, fear, anger, and general muscle tension. Just a 4-6 minute visual encounter with plant life has been documented through physiological indicators to have restorative and stress relieving effects.

Physical Rehabilitation – Accidents or disease causing disabilities pose a most significant challenge for those in their ‘golden years’. The demands include an ability to adapt, while taking the necessary steps toward rehabilitation. Gardening tasks are rich and varied, and finding one possible within the restrictions of most conditions is a certainty. Any gardener will always welcome an extra set of hands, and skill level is not an issue.

Healthy gardens, healthy gardeners – Growing and eating organic fruits and vegetables has become one of Americas fastest growing hobbies for retiring baby boomers. Even the ‘organics’ found in natural food markets, let alone the commercially grown, toxic fertilizer-fed food found in the supermarket, cannot compete with the nutrient-rich produce possible through ‘garden to table’. One of the most common afflictions facing seniors is malnutrition, and what class of citizenry is better suited to teach our children the value of “growing your own’?

Get grounded and play in the Dirt – Soil is an incredibly rich source of soil-based-microorganisms commonly termed SBOs. Regular handling of the soil with bare hands exposes the body to SBOs, with a noted boost to immune system function. Contact with the soil also provokes a discharging effect of harmful positive electrons acquired when in the proximity of WiFi, ‘smart’ meters and cell towers to name a few. The earth acts as a ground, and assists the body in the disposal of these electromagnetic frequencies proven deleterious to human health.

As a couple approaching 50 years of marriage we share the distinction of senior citizen status, and the healthful benefits of gardening have become increasingly obvious in our own lives. While overseeing our family integrative medical practice of many years, we witnessed a sharp contrast in vitality between those who remain active and connected to the great outdoors verses the more sedentary segment of the population.

Have you lost that youthful zest for life, and buoyancy of stride? As childhood instincts dampen, the body adapts the rigidity of a life more predictable and rote, but ‘the fountain of youth’ has been in plain site all along … in your own backyard.

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