The Bihar Post

India: Bihar residents turn to ‘mood booster’ plants to beat COVID-19 stress

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PATNA—Battling COVID-19 restrictions or infections for long, people in Bihar have turned to “mood booster plants” to beat severe stress.

Health experts say many people and children are under stress after being locked down in their homes, with physical activity being restricted to their rooms.

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People have started growing plants in the aftermath of COVID-19 outbreaks restricting their movement.

Nursery owners say people prefer plants which purify the air, absorb pollutants and give positive energy. They include Peace Lily, Crassula, English Ivy, Lavender and Snake plants.

“There has been a 40 to 50 per cent increase in demand for mood booster plants post coronavirus outbreak. Of them, Peace Lily and Lavender are much in demand,” said Sanjeev Kumar who runs Royal nursery in Patna.

According to experts, Peace Lily purifies indoor air from pollutants, absorbs harmful acetone vapours, promotes sleep and brings peace and good fortune while Lavender plants improve sleep and may offer natural remedy for pain.

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Ajit Kumar Azad who runs a prominent Plant Tree nursery in the state capital said people’s liking for plants has increased in recent months. “They are mainly going for indoor plants. But what is more interesting is that they are also gifting plants on important occasions such as birthdays and farewell functions,” Azad said.

“Under the pandemic situation, residents are decorating their home gardens and indoor spaces with a variety of plants. This is the new way to beat mental stress and bring happiness in life,” said plant expert Manoranjan Sahay. He said plants with bright flowers and strong scents, and health properties are in demand.

Sahay says the current trend has come from “Japanese forest bath” popular the globe. The term emerged in Japan in the 1980s as a physiological and psychological exercise called “shinrin-yoku” (“forest bathing” or “taking in the forest atmosphere”). The purpose was twofold: to offer an eco-antidote to tech-boom burnout and to inspire residents to reconnect with and protect the country’s forests.

The Japanese quickly embraced this form of eco-therapy. In the 1990s, researchers began studying the physiological benefits of forest bathing, providing the science to support what we innately know: Time spent immersed in nature is good for us.

COVID-19 has left deep scars on the minds of humanity in the past 17 months since it hit India in March 2020, prompting the government to enforce nationwide lockdown. Although the first wave was not very severe, the second wave that hit the state in the first week of April has hit many families badly and left hundreds of children orphaned. That is in addition to causing a livelihood crisis for many families as they lost jobs.

According to a latest report of the Bihar health department, COVID-19 has claimed 9,646 lives in the state till August 6 while also infecting a total of 725,122 people so far.

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