Gardening with Health Issues

Gardening from a Wheelchair by mikecogh

Many people love to garden, but because of health issues they think they no longer are capable of working in the garden. “Nurturing something and watching it grow can be very therapeutic and rewarding,  helping people take their minds off their pain and lets them feel that they are accomplishing something worthwhile.”

Because gardening is such a healing activity  health providers are trying to find methods whereby people with pain can continue working in their gardens.

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How to Stay Safe and Cool in the Hot Weather

Please Keep Clean Water in Shallow Dishes to Help Birds Survive The Current Heat Wave!! by Koshyk

My heart bleeds for the parts of our country and the world where people have been under a heat wave for such a long time. Here on the East coast where I live, we had a week of the hot weather but only 3 days of the really brutal weather that others are experiencing. I worry about all of your gardens and farms that have had to suffer this heat wave.

But most of all I worry about you- the gardeners and farmers. I hope you are taking every precaution to prevent succumbing to this heat. After all, if you get sick from the heat, the gardens or farms will not have anyone to help in the future.

Noel Coward wrote the famous song that said, “Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.” I will have to review the lyrics of the song, but I imagine that if Englishmen go out in the midday sun, they must be concerned about their gardens as all gardeners are. And a dog has to venture out in this heat when “nature calls” whether it is mad or not. But they do have products to keep dogs cool.   See here.

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Rose Thorns Can Be Dangerous

Rose thorns by DRB62

TheGardenLady received this question from Sandie.

Funny thing happened to me today. I was pruning roses and got a brief stick in the knuckle over my pinkie by a very large thorn. I bled a little, but being a tough gal, I went on with my task at hand. A few hours later, I have slight swelling, but can hardly move my finger. It is extremely painful up the pinkie and down the outside of my palm. Any idea what’s caused this?

There is nothing funny about getting an infection. I hope you go to your physician immediately for him or her to be sure the infected site is cleaned properly and to give you some proper medicine, if required. This is a warning for all gardeners. Even if you are a “tough gal” or guy, when working in a garden there is always the possibility of picking up germs or bacteria. That is why one should always wear gloves when you are touching your plants or the soil.

For other posts by TheGardenLady on getting pricked by a rose thorn see here and here.

The Medicinal Power of Lemon Grass

Drops – Cymbopogon Citratus Staupf by J.Gil

A long time ago, TheGardenLady received an email asking about plants that help medically. Today TheGardenLady read an article that said that after a five year study Australian scientists have scientifically proven the lemon grass plant Cymbopogon ambiguus may be as good as aspirin when it comes to treating headaches. They knew that lemon grass has been used by indigenous Australians as traditional medicine for the treatment of headaches and migraines. It may be as good as aspirin in the treatment of headaches.  See here.

Cymbopogon citratus, Gramineae by EthnoFlora

There are 56 species of Lemon grass. Cymbopogon citratus, not C ambiguus, is the lemon grass that is usually grown in herb gardens. Whether C. citratus helps headaches and migraines, TheGardenLady doesn’t know. But it also seems to have good medicinal properties. Many websites claim that Ben Gurion research on Cymbopogon citratus found that it causes cancer cells to “commit suicide. ” See here.  Since TheGardenLady can not find this original research online, but only sites that are selling the product as an alternative medicine, she does not know the validity of this statement. But there is lots of information that the lemon grass Cymbopogon citratus does have medicinal use for digestive problems in children and minor feverish illnesses and can be used externally for ringworm, lice, athlete’s foot, arthritis and scabies. So one might want to grow it in your herb garden and use it in your cooking or creating your on salve to use externally.

C. citratus likes well-drained soil in sun with moderate humidity. You can sow seeds in the spring or buy plants or if a friend has it, divide the plant and plant it in the spring.  This  site has some interesting recipes using lemon grass.

A vegan recipe for it can be found here.

The Purification Power of Plants

Begônias by pintomarta50
Begônias by pintomarta50

Once again TheGardenLady is recommending having plants in your house, especially now during the cold and flu season. It is important that our houses and offices have good air quality all the time so you don’t suffer breathing problems, but it seems doubly important when you are gasping for breath with a stuffed nose: you don’t want to worry about breathing in poor quality air if you can help it. According to Dr. Woverton, “Only recently have many physicians begun to associate the increase in respiratory problems with exposure to poor indoor air quality.”  Read this.

A scientist Dr. Bill Wolverton who worked for NASA is the  author of the book “How To Grow Fresh Air- 50 Houseplants That Purify Your Home or Office” and another book called “Eco-Friendly House Plants-50 Indoor plants that purify the air in homes and offices” and he is coming out in December 2009 with a new book coauthored with Mr Kozabura Takenaka “Plants -Why You Can’t Live Without Them” where “the authors delve into the latest research involving the use of plants  to improve indoor air quality.” This book will be interesting to read because it discusses “how plants grown in hydroculture (soil-free) are more effective in cleaning the air than plants in potting soil.” Dr. Wolverton says that “hospitals in Japan are adding plants to take advantage of their air-cleaning properties.”

Besides the role of the plant’s leaves and their root microbes removing impurities from the air, just by having plants in the house brings added moisture to the indoor air. So many houses are so extremely dry indoors when the heat comes on, so by watering the plants and or having them sit on stones over water or if you keep your plants or bouquets of flowers in water, you can breathe so much more easily.

Any of the plants you already have indoors or ones that we have discussed on TheGardenLady blog are helpful. For example, the Sanseviera, Mother-In-Law’s Tongue plant.  If you have low light or if you have good light, how about considering the lovely fancy leafed begonias.  TheGardenLady will be writing about these begonias in a future post.

Now that you have beautified your rooms with plants, TheGardenLady hopes that you will be able to enjoy the atmosphere and that you don’t get sick with a cold or the flu. But should you become ill you can rest easier knowing that you have done something to help the environment in your home.

If TheGardenLady’s readers wonder what the signs of the flu are, below is an easy chart to check to see if you have a cold or the flu. If you are sick, stay home and take loving care of yourself.  Make yourself happy with pretty plants in your rooms. TheGardenLady hopes that none of her readers comes down with the flu.

H1N1 flu is about to be upon us and we need to be on top of information regarding it. Here is a comparison to the normal cold symptoms that was sent to me.

Know the Difference between Cold and H1N1 Flu Symptoms



H1N1 Flu


Fever is rare with a cold.

Fever is usually present with the flu in up to 80% of all flu cases. A temperature of 100°F or higher for 3 to 4 days is associated with the flu.


A hacking, productive (mucus- producing) cough is often present with a cold.

A non-productive (non-mucus producing) cough is usually present with the flu (sometimes referred to as dry cough).


Slight body aches and pains can be part of a cold.

Severe aches and pains are common with the flu.

Stuffy Nose

Stuffy nose is commonly present with a cold and typically resolves spontaneously within a week.

Stuffy nose is not commonly present with the flu.


Chills are uncommon with a cold.

60% of people who have the flu experience chills.


Tiredness is fairly mild with a cold.

Tiredness is moderate to severe with the flu.


Sneezing is commonly present with a cold.

Sneezing is not common with the flu.

Sudden Symptoms

Cold symptoms tend to develop over a few days.

The flu has a rapid onset within 3-6 hours. The flu hits hard and includes sudden symptoms like high fever, aches and pains.


A headache is fairly uncommon with a cold.

A headache is very common with the flu, present in 80% of flu cases.

Sore Throat

Sore throat is commonly present with a cold.

Sore throat is not commonly present with the flu.

Chest Discomfort

Chest discomfort is mild to moderate with a cold.

Chest discomfort is often severe with the flu.

The only way to stop the spread of the epidemic is to spread the awareness!

The Filtering Power of the Peace Lily

Distant Peace by chefranden

TheGardenLady received this comment from Rikesh.

I just love Peace Lilly. They have really amazing power of filtering the air.

Rikesh’s comment about the Peace Lilly – Spathiphyllum is correct.

Recently Natural News had an article entitled “Clean Your Air and Brighten Your Day with Houseplants” which not only gives a list of good low light requiring plants for your home or dorm room, but also tells about the research
that NASA and other groups have done to show plants ability to remove some common pollutants from the air. And the research has shown that there are ” other benefits from having indoor plants, such as fighting fatigue and colds.