All gardeners know that plants -- and flowers in particular -- can bring a smile to someone's face. But can flowers be used to help people recover from illnesses? Researchers at Kansas State University conducted a study where they tested whether having flowers and plants in a hospital room sped patients' recovery from surgery. They selected 90 patients that had appendectomies and randomly assigned half the patients to rooms with plants and flowers and half to similar rooms without plants. Researchers monitored the length of hospital stay, administration of drugs for pain control, vital signs, distress, and anxiety.
They found the patients in rooms with plants and flowers had significantly fewer intakes of pain medication, more positive physiological responses (lower blood pressure and heart rate), less pain, anxiety, and fatigue, better overall positive attitude, and higher satisfaction with their recovery rooms. Plus, patients in these rooms began interacting with the plants; watering and moving them for better light. They deemed the plants the most pleasant aspect of their room; patients in rooms with no plants deemed watching television the best aspect.
For more information on this study, go to: HortScience .
Article published on February 11, 2009.