Why it’s good to get dirty
May 17, 2024

Why it’s good to get dirty

Nature’s best therapy!

With summer around the corner—and farmers markets in abundance—it’s time to get the dirty deets on soil. And by that, we mean the profound benefits of gardening for hormone health. A fertile ground for healthy hormones could be a few planter boxes (or windowsill herbs) away. In more ways than one, you can cultivate hormone health right out your backdoor.

Fortunately, you don’t need a green thumb to reap gardening’s rewards! In fact, the simple act of spending more time outside does the trick. No matter the weather, nature nurtures our entire well-being. With that in mind, we’re digging into the symbiotic relationship between soil microbes, sunshine, and stress reduction.

The relationship between gardening and hormones

Spoiler alert: gardening isn't just about tending to plants. It fosters a harmonious connection with nature—one that extends to our very core. Research suggests that engaging in gardening activities has a positive influence on hormone levels in several ways:

  1. Organic soil is teeming with beneficial microbes. These play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy gut microbiota. By digging in the dirt and handling soil, we expose ourselves to these microbes, thus supporting gut health! In turn, this helps balance hormones, especially metabolizing excess estrogen. 
  2. Furthermore, the act of gardening (in and of itself) stimulates the release of feel-good hormones, like serotonin and dopamine. Whether it's the satisfaction of watching seeds sprout or the calming effect of being surrounded by greenery, gardening offers a natural mood boost. For this reason, we love gardening during the luteal phase!
  3. Amidst the stress of modern life, gardening is a powerful antidote to running on adrenaline all day—and numerous studies support this. Engaging in activities like planting, weeding, and pruning allows us to escape the pressures of an overflowing inbox and reconnect with the earth. This, in turn, can help lower cortisol levels.

How does sunshine improve hormone health?

It’s no secret that sunlight is a vital ingredient for plant growth. But its benefits extend far beyond the garden bed. Exposure to sunlight triggers the production of vitamin D in our bodies, a crucial nutrient for hormone regulation! When our skin absorbs sunlight, it synthesizes vitamin D, which in turn influences the production and function of various hormones—think: cortisol, insulin, and testosterone. By spending time outdoors and soaking up the sun's rays, we can optimize our vitamin D levels. As a result, this supports hormonal health, immune function, and mental wellness.

What if you don’t have space for a garden?

Don’t fret. Inevitably, not everyone has access to a spacious backyard or a dedicated gardening plot. However, you can still (creatively) harvest the benefits of gardening! Even in small urban spaces or apartments, there are plenty of ways to incorporate gardening into your life. Container gardening, for example, is a beautiful way to cultivate herbs, veggies, and flowers on balconies, patios, or window sills. Maximizing limited space is possible! If you’re a city dweller, look for community gardens to connect with nature and cultivate plants, collectively. Live within an hour of a farm? See if they offer volunteer opportunities. At any rate, aim to spend more time in green spaces—like parks, botanical gardens, or farmers markets—to get similar benefits to gardening.

Best herbs for windowsill herbs

With small-space gardening in mind, how can you get the most bang for your hormone buck? Good news—several windowsill herbs are known to support hormone balance! These are our go-to plants:

  • Mint: Can aid in alleviating polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) symptoms. Our strawberry mint mojito is only a few mint leaves away!
  • Basil: Contains compounds that may help regulate cortisol levels, supporting healthy stress levels. With a handful of fresh basil, our zucchini spring salad comes together in no time.
  • Thyme: Rich in phytoestrogens, thyme can help balance estrogen levels. This peach and whipped feta toast is truly divine.
  • Lavender: Known for its calming properties, lavender encourages a better night’s sleep. And quality sleep is key for healthy hormones.
  • Rosemary: May help improve circulation and reduce inflammation, indirectly supporting hormone balance. Try our orange honey rosemary chèvre appetizer (we can’t get enough of the sweet and savory combo).