Nature, Science & Health

"Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better"

Albert Einstein

Nature is far more than just something beautiful to look at. Within its beauty is a vast potential of health boosting benefits and the physical production of active, nature ‘ingredients’ that provide almost endless possibilities for future medicines and cures. In fact, trees alone create many of the chemicals used in the manufacture of approximately 60% of our medicines currently. There are still so many unexplored biochemicals produced by nature yet to be discovered or researched for their medicinal and health benefits.

Throughout history humans across the globe have relied on mother nature, especially plants, to treat and alleviate illnesses, ailments and specific symptoms. In fact the use of botanicals in this way is considered by many to be the origin of modern medicine and it is only in more recent times that most people have now lost this primal connection to nature and the natural world that was once essential for survival.

Science widely accepts that approximately 80% of pharmaceutical drugs are directly derived from natural products or developed from specific natural compounds deriving from plants and herbs or other organisms such as animals, insects or fungi. This fact in itself highlights what a huge medicine cabinet nature provides us with.

It is therefore true to say that nature plays a significant role in improving the health and wellbeing of everyone on a global scale and it is only in more recent years that science is slowly determining the extensive capabilities that mother nature has in improving not only  the whole physical health through oral or topical applications made from natural sources, but also the powerful healing benefits that just being immersed in nature has on our mental health too. 

Natures Wild Medicine is about reigniting and reengaging people with the health benefits of nature, and instilling that lost connection with nature and its abundant health benefits back into society.

What Are Nature's Active, Scientific 'Ingredients' ?


The scientific study of the effects of nature on many aspects of our physical and mental health, has consistently shown positive health benefits, but what is it about nature that specifically has these medicinal effects and health benefits?

The answer is that there are actually multiple specific ‘ingredients’ of nature that have shown to elicit different health effects, and its important to have a basic understanding of these so that when you are out in nature you can be consciously aware of these and know what, how and why they have benefits on your physical and mental health.

So let’s take a closer look below at the natures medicinal and healing ingredients.



Plants and trees produce a variety of different, naturally occurring biochemicals called phytoncides (wood essential oils), which are released into the air as aerosols. Phytonicides are produced to protect the trees and plants from external threats such as bacteria, fungi and insects. These aerosols, abundant with phytoncides, have antimicrobial, antifungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and have scientifically shown to have a huge variety of benefits for human health, including mental health and immune function. Certain trees produce greater amounts of phytonicides than others, with cedar, spruce, conifers and pine trees being the largest producers of them.

Soil Bacteria

We may not associate soil with health improvement, but in fact a specific type of bacteria found in soil, called mycrobacterium vaccae, has been shown in research to offer some surprising but excellent health benefits. Growing evidence supports the health benefits of playing and digging in the soil and inhaling it. In fact some studies went as far as eating it which also elicited health benefits, although i wouldn’t suggest adding it to the daily menu just yet. Exposure to soil bacteria has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress, increases our serotonin levels (the happy hormone), as well as boost immune function, which strongly supports the rationale of children playing outside and getting dirty in the soil, as a good physical and mental health boosting activity. If you are interested in learning more about the research being done on the effects of soil on human health, then the article here is worth a read.

Botanical 'Actives'

When we use the term ‘actives’ it refers to the scientific ingredients found naturally in nature, which have been shown in science and clinical studies to elicit a specific ‘active effect’ on health. Many of these actives come from plants, trees and herb (botanical) sources. These actives include compounds such as flavonoids, tannins anthocyanins, coumarins, saponins, phenols and specific vitamins, minerals and fibre sources and it is these components that are the ‘active’ parts of botanicals that have been shown to offer medicinal effects. Depending on the specific active, they may elicit their affect by being applied topically, or ingested by taking orally.


The health benefits of sunlight exposure have long been known on both physical and mental health. We generally all feel better on bright sunny days, but research shows that one reason for this is that sunlight seems to effect a chemical in us called Serotonin, also known as the happy hormone. The more serotonin we have the happier we are and studies have shown that exposure to sunlight increase serotonin levels in the brain. The sun also supplied us with Vitamin D, in fact an estimated 90% of our vitamin D requirements comes from sunlight, and this vitamin is paramount for good health. Low vitamin D levels cause weakened immunity, depression, joint and muscle pain and soft bones.

Natures Sounds

In this modern world, noise pollution is every where and it is hard to escape, especially in urbanised areas. Noise pollutants such as traffic, machinery, night life and any other unwanted noise causes serious harm to human health and can lead to heart disease (including heart attacks), sleep disturbances and stress. Natural nature sounds have shown in numerous studies to sooth, calm and restore human health and wellbeing. In fact the natural sounds of water, wind and birdsong have been shown in research to be the three most soothing sounds for humans. Our bodies need times of quiet and calm as it allows our nervous system to shut down its stress response and provide restorative time. Science has shown consistently that nature sounds provide this. Why not visit the RSPB bird song identifier website so you can learn to identify some of the beautiful bird song that can surround us when out in nature.

"Research suggests that exposure to the natural world - including nearby nature in cities - helps improve human health, wellbeing and intellectual capacity in ways that science is only recently beginning to understand"

Richard Louv

Do You Have A Disconnect With Nature?

Why It's Bad For Your Health If You Do

I’m sure i’m not alone in my  thinking, when i say that today’s world is complicated. It wasn’t THAT long ago when times must have been somewhat simpler, less complicated and less rushed, when people lived off the land and were submerged in nature as a natural part of their daily lives. A time when we had time to notice the small things such as the change of seasons, the beauty of a star lit night or the quiet contemplation of the wildlife that surrounds us. Simplicity and being close to nature has been snatched away from us and modernity has separated / disconnected people from nature. The fact we now don’t give ourselves time to enrich our lives with these simple natural things and the disconnect we now have with nature is beautifully summed up in a poem called ‘Leisure’ by D . H Davies, written below.

If we compare that to how we live now in this modern world, most people are totally disconnected from nature. The damage this is doing to peoples health and wellbeing is significant, especially in regards to mental health. This disconnection is only likely to get worse as the modern world progresses and technological advances continue. This will only serve to widen the gap further between us and nature and as a consequence will mean health will only deteriorate further.


The need for nature in our lives is a primal one and likely stems from evolution when nature was needed for survival I.e for food and shelter. That has now been replaced with screen time and more sedentary, often indoor pursuits. However science is making it increasingly clear that n nurturing a strong connection with nature is paramount for a healthy body and a healthy mind, with now over 100 studies showing that living in, or near nature and even viewing paintings of nature scenes has a positive effect on our brains, our feelings and thought processes, as well as our physical body. 

"Nurturing a strong connection with nature is paramount for a healthy body & a healthy mind"

For those who don’t hold a connection with nature, science strongly shows that those people have poorer health on many levels including being less happy, reduced cognitive functions, are more at risk of depression & anxiety and  have higher cortisol (stress hormone) levels.

Connection with nature, at any age, is therefore vital for long term health. With the incidence of mental health problems particularly increasing in children and young adults, it is hugely important that young children are exposed to nature environments regularly at a young age so it forms part of normal existence. Whether it be listening to bird song, admiring a magnificent view or foraging amongst the hedgerows, nature exposure and re-connection with it,  physically and psychologically impacts health positively. Our ‘Mend Your Mind’ Online course can help you reconnect with nature and learn how to utilise it to improve your mental health and provide physical health benefits too. Find our more here

We have no time to stand and stare

Leisure - By D. H Davies


What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?

No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare

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