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The U.K.'s Royal Horticultural Society once conducted an experiment on how talking to plants affected their growth. Charles Darwin's great granddaughter — one of 10 plant talkers who were recorded and then piped in one-to-a-tomato-plant — saw her veggie grow 2 inches more than the plants who were listening to a male voice. The other female plant-talkers saw 1 inch more growth than the men's did. But even the guys saw more plant growth than on tomatoes left in silence.

Now it turns out that talking to plants is good for you too! A new study published in Urban Forestry and Urban Greening found that study participants who had no houseplants experienced "negative emotions" more frequently than folks with indoor greenery. And the more plants an indoor gardener had, the bigger the positive mood boost. Another study in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology says "active interaction with indoor plants" can de-stress you and lower diastolic blood pressure (the lower number) measurably.

That's because caring for any living thing evokes calm, provides a sense of purpose, takes brain power and entertains you. So set up a garden with herbs, microgreens, tomatoes and ramps (garlic greens). Experiment with flowering begonias or narcissus bulbs, exotic croton plants, and easy-care ferns. And don't forget to rub plants' leaves as you talk to them. According to a study in BMC Plant Biology, that touch of kindness may make them less susceptible to disease, while it increases your sense of connection to them. Go green, get jolly.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer Emeritus at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit sharecare.com.

(c)2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

King Features Syndicate

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