Sniffing Compost Makes You Happy – Literally

by Christine Sine
Lets get our hands in the dirt

Lets get our hands in the dirt

I have always believed in the therapeutic value of gardening and have known for a long time that soil bacteria improve our immune system and increase our wellbeing. As I talked about this in a previous post Americans Discover Food.  time spent outside even alleviates the symptoms of attention deficit disorder and just looking at nature speeds our recovery from surgery.

But now it is official – compost gives you a high. The earthy smell of good rich composted soil, or even of compost straight from your pile produces bacteria that increase the serotonin in your brain and make you feel happy. As Pagan Kennedy says in her article How To Get High on Soil, 

Scientists call it “geosmin,” this dirt smell that lends the earthy taste to beets and carrots. It’s the flavor of life. Read the entire article

No wonder God’s first action after creation was to plant a garden and no wonder he calls us to steward creation. He knows that we are happiest when we have our hands (or our noses) in the dirt.


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Ann Johnstone February 9, 2012 - 6:51 pm

A very interesting article, Christine. I was especially interested in the comment that “time spent outside even alleviates the symptoms of attention deficit disorder”. That makes a lot of sense. There are known links between over-stimulus of the brain from the more violent types of computer games and ADD/ADHD, so it makes sense that the relaxing nature of being outside, surrounded by nature would alleviate these symptoms.

Christine Sine February 9, 2012 - 6:54 pm

I think that you are right. Most of the studies I have seen on this have been done in Europe where people seem to be more open to this type of “simple” therapy

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