The influence of therapeutic horticulture on the human-nature relationship
Dr. Timea Buru (Hitter) is a landscape engineer with a Ph.D. in Horticulture. She is an assistant professor at the Department of Horticulture and Landscaping, University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Her major professors were Prof. Dr. Maria Cantor, Prof. Dr. Ionel Papuc and Prof. Dr. Erzsébet Buta. The objective of her study focused on the influence of therapeutic horticulture on the human-nature relationship. Nature, plants, or gardening activities have a positive impact on people’s well-being, mental and physical health. The objective of the study was to determine how therapeutic horticulture interventions can help to increase university student’s well-being and reduce depression symptoms. At the beginning of the study, randomly selected students were assessed using a psychological survey, the Beck depression inventory (BDI), to determine the level of their depression. The BDI is a subjective method. In addition, biological fluid analysis, an objective method, was measured for each volunteer to identify the presence of depression related biomarkers, After the first phase of this trial, the selected participants with BDI index higher than 10, were divided into a control and an experimental group. For 10 days in the summer of 2019, volunteers from the experimental group attended therapeutic horticulture (TH) activities like potting, planting, cutting, and maintenance of ornamental plants in their university campus. The main observation of TH activities was that depression levels decreased from moderate to normal levels. On the other hand, changes of the biomarker’s contributions (kynurenine pathway of tryptophan) were not statistically different. Based on this preliminary result, therapeutic horticulture intervention may be a possible alternative therapy to increase people’s well-being in case of moderate depression, measured by a non-invasive method. Further research is needed.
Timea Buru won the ISHS Young Minds Award for the best poster presentation at the XV International People Plant Symposium and II International Symposium on Horticultural Therapies: The Role of Horticulture in Human Well-being and Social Development, which was held virtually in USA in October 2021.
Timea Buru, Faculty of Horticulture, University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Cluj-Napoca, 3-5 Mănăştur Street, 400372, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The article is available in Chronica Horticulturae