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Have health issues? Sit in your soil  RSS feed

 
gardener
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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To get this thread back on track.

What we are doing in the microbiology world today is finding out the consequences of the increasingly sterile thinking of the human populace.

If you study the way all aspects of living are going, you will see a trend of sequestering the human from interactions with the environment from the beginning of the Western world industrial age to today.
Farmer's began to create dirt (sterile soil), people then started to live more of their days indoors then they started eating foods prepared in a factory, and on and on.
Today it is hard to find anyone that doesn't rely on electronic devices to the point that they don't remember friends phone numbers, aren't able to do simple math (addition or subtraction) without using a calculator (usually an app on their phone) and they spend as little time outdoors as possible.
They wash away their protective microbiome at least once a day and more and more people are exhibiting germaphobic behaviors, washing or "sanitizing" their hands after any encounter with another's hand or a door knob or anything that might harbor microbes.
While it is good to clean your hands often out in the world, at home you could probably do less of this and be fine.
I suppose the real message is "It is Ok to have a little dirt on your body and hands, most of the time".
Of course if you are preparing food or happen to be an MD (especially a surgeon) you will need to practice really good hygiene at least while at work. (this goes for microbiologist too)
Not trying to protect others from your own microbiome (germs if you will) is simply rude and crude, respect others rights to good health and cover that sneeze or cough and Please, Please, keep sick children at home, sequestered away from others until they are well.

The healthiest people in the western world today seem to be the homeless, they don't have access to perpetual indoor living, they don't have access to showers much and they spend almost all their time outdoors and they are thus exposed to many more microbes than most other people.
Studies have shown this to be an increasing situation, the more money and better things people have, the more often they get sick from things that are considered "common" illnesses.

When humans led less sanitized lives, they were healthier. Things like the Black Death actually did a weeding out, humans became like the bacteria under attack from doses of anti-biotics, the strong survived and multiplied,  making the overall population stronger.

My wife loves the show "The Big Bang Theory"  If you want a great example of how to get sick at the drop of a microbe, act like Sheldon Cooper, I can assure you, your body will have no defense against any microbe that finds you.

I'm not saying we need to all become "Pig Pen" like but we do need to understand that you need your protective bacteria, mites and the other microorganisms that call our bodies home.
The more of these helpers we have, the healthier we become and the less likely we are to catch that cold, flu, or other infectious microbe born illness or disease that we come in contact with.
This doesn't mean that we should not bathe, it just means we don't need to obsess about it in either direction.

Currently microbiologist are working on identifying which bacteria are truly beneficial as opposed to antagonistic or even benign.
This involves DNA work since there are literally millions of look alike bacteria out there.
It is going to be a huge break through, but it will take time to get everyone a positive ID so we can then create therapies that work at peak power.

Redhawk
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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To make sure you get the right fungi and bacteria in your soil so when you do sit in it you are getting better than average exposures, I have a new thread, Bacteria, Fungi and Nematodes started that is going into more detail about these organisms and what they do for us and how they do those wonderful things.

Redhawk
 
pollinator
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This makes me wonder if there is a connection between soil microbes and "Grounding"



The theory of Grounding is we are electrical and need to ground ourselves with the earth for better health, but since the invention of rubber we have been insulating ourselves more and more and not getting grounded like we should.

But I wonder if some of the health benefits claimed by Grounding could also be exposure to microbes?

Even if it is not the same thing Bryant is discussing, Grounding also advocates spending time with bare skin in contact with soil. I have long felt this to be something missing in modern life. Contact with soil is important, I feel. Not just for physical health, but I feel it really improves my mental health. I am happier when I have contact with the soil, and so much less happy when I do not.

I really enjoyed reading what you presented here Bryant, thanks for sharing it with us.
 
master steward
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Just wanted to update about my son's corn garden bed, and thank you again for your suggestion on how to make it work!

I ended up mowing the grass as short as I could, and then put about 1 inch of compost and duck bedding over the area. If I had more, I would have added more. Then I put the sacks over everything, and it sat like that for a week due to hot weather and fussy kids. Today, my parents came over, and my mom helped me get the bed ready to go. I wanted to try a three sisters-type bed...which made cutting Xs kind of hard to fathom. So, we took off the sacks. For each "mound," we dug a circle of soil about a shovel head length down and flipped it over dug a circle of soil (pretty much stepped on the shovel over and over to make the outline of a circle, and then) flipped the circle over, so the grass was on the bottom, and the soil on top.

My son came and helped plant four seeds in each circle, and then we put the sacks back on to cover the areas between the circles, and put what woodchips and duck bedding we had left on top of the sacks to hold them down and help smother the grass. We'll add more mulch on the sacks as our ducks create more...and hopefully we'll get a new load of tree trimmings and we can use that, too!
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I put wire fencing on it too keep the cats from pooping on it. It didn't deter the duck, though :D
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One of the circles, surrounded by sacks on all sides
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Posts: 4654
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Kola, that bed will be super as time goes on.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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hau Devin,  I am very familiar with the practice of "Grounding", it works.  As to if part of the theory of grounding involves the microbiome.
I am not aware of that actually being part of the practice but it certainly occurs if you are practicing grounding as prescribed by the founders of the theory.

Grounding is based on the magnetic field of earth flowing into those organisms in direct contact with the earth mother.
Sitting in the soil is definitely contact with the earth mother. 

So, while practicing grounding you are definitely exposing your body to the microbiome and gathering more bacteria and other microorganisms, thus adding strength to your overall immune system.

Redhawk
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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And now we extrapolate this thread from humans to plants and trees.
Doesn't it seem logical that if the human organism benefits from having a complete, functioning microbiome on the outside and inside, that our plants and trees would also benefit from having the same, complete and functioning microbiome so they are protected from insects and microbes the same way humans can be?

This is the idea of spraying good compost tea on your plants, shrubs and trees, it builds a coating of microbes on the surfaces that then protect the plants the microbes now live on.
The only real difference is that our plants already have their feet in the ground, so if we build the soil, that half is taken care of already.

Redhawk
 
pollinator
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Wow, this is so obvious once it is pointed out ....... but so foreign to normal train of thought. 
 
Bryant RedHawk
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The healthiest people in the western world today seem to be the homeless, they don't have access to perpetual indoor living, they don't have access to showers much and they spend almost all their time outdoors and they are thus exposed to many more microbes than most other people.
Studies have shown this to be an increasing situation, the more money and better things people have, the more often they get sick from things that are considered "common" illnesses.



One of the fellows I have worked with read this and suggested I might need to clarify by going more in depth.
So let me put this in more specific terms for clarity of what I am referring to in the above statement.

I was not referring to situations that require or should have medical attention to prevent a life threating situation. I was negligent to put my statement into a situational context, which was what the statement above was about.
For that omission I apologize, perhaps it should have been put into a camping experience scenario, which might have made what I was trying to get across easier to grasp.

The best way to clarify is probably this:  If we were to take an above average person and a homeless person and expose both to common cold viruses, the homeless person would be more likely to not become sick for any extended period of time.
Like wise if the same two were exposed to the viruses that cause Pneumonia, it is likely that the subject with the most complete covering of microbes would be the one less likely to contract pneumonia.

There are many Studies on the plight of the homeless population, the situation of lack of availability of health care is one of the main agendas of most of the studies.
Many of the examples in these studies feature an extreme lack of use of "common" sense techniques to prevent infection.
The studies also seem to ignore those of this population that have the mental awareness to at least try to take care of issues that could lead to health problems.


Healthy people do not catch colds very easily and if they do they tend to get over them faster.
This is because of their healthy immune system being able to take care of the situation.
Obviously if anyone is wounded and dirt gets into that wound and it isn't cleaned properly, bandaged to keep new contamination from occurring, then infection will set in.
The longer that infection is left to grow, the more severe the issue will become.
Like wise if a person is diabetic, it is likely that if they don't treat the condition, other problems will easily manifest.
 
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Dr Redhawk - thank you for all the info on the human and plant microbiome.   Do you have any suggestions on how to improve human gut biome diversity?  I garden a lot without gloves, take pro-biotics, eat fiber/veggies, and minimize washing.  But I'm also in an office for 40 hours/week and I'm sure my biome suffers.  I know people that live with hunter-gatherers achieve gains, but then lose them quickly in society.  https://theconversation.com/i-spent-three-days-as-a-hunter-gatherer-to-see-if-it-would-improve-my-gut-health-78773

I was thinking of something along the lines of barrel compound... maybe something you could take a bath in, or a liquid you could freeze in pill form to ingest.  I just don't know how effective regular pro-biotics really are. 

Not trying to poison myself or gross anyone out - just think outside the box!
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Currently the most effective treatment of this type is fecal matter transplant (the poop pill), there are severe restrictions on use of this therapy at this time however because it is still labeled "Experimental".
That means you have to find the right Doctor (one that is able to administer the therapy and thus has access to the one company making the pills) and you have to meet a set of criteria.
This therapy is rather critical, you have to know for certain that the fecal matter doesn't have any pathogens, which is why there are so many restrictions and only one company involved at this time.

Other methods that do work are mostly based on ingestion of fermented foods, the wider the variety of fermented foods you eat along with a variety of methods used to ferment those foods equals a better chance at success.

Store bought probiotics do work, but it has been my experience that the best way to acquire the right probiotics to take is to find a very knowledgeable herbalist and if they happen to run their own "health food" store all the better.
I have gone through the pain and suffering of having a daughter who was diagnosed with IBS, it turned out the diagnosis was incorrect because when we decided to go to the herbalist, she got 3 different probiotics and within two weeks her symptoms were almost gone.
Wolf, my wife, has had some stomach issues prior to and as a result of her cancer. After trying everything my knowledge base had, I took her to the herbalist and once again there was success in treating the problem.
Wolf and I both have what I would call fair knowledge of herbology but we also know that if we can't effect a cure we have someone to fall back on who is head and shoulders above us in her knowledge base, so we are not shy to seek her advice.

 
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