Anyone who gardens knows what a mood-lifter it can be. Aside from those occasional disasters, crop failures and weed invasions, the act of of planting and watching something grow is one of the most satisfying things to do. 

Now, there’s scientific proof. According to an on-line newsletter by Tony Avent of Plant Delights Nursery in North Carolina “…new studies from Sage College of New York confirm a 2007 study from Bristol University and University College London that dirt is indeed a great anti-depressant.”

According to the newsletter it is a soil-borne bacteria, Mycobacterium vaccae, that acts as an anti-depressant by causing brain cells to produce high levels of the happy hormone, serotonin.

“Serotonin occurs naturally in the body from the gut to the brain, and plays a particularly important role in mood. Low serotonin levels have been linked to anxiety, depression, aggression, OCD, bipolar disorder, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome…who knew? Mycobacterium vaccae has already been used medically in cancer patients to increase their quality of life,” the newsletter concludes.

So, can you dig it?