Sunflowers and the New Secret Weapon for Wellness

SUNFLOWERS one of the most amazing flowers God created.

Photo by Amina Filkins from Pexels

Recent studies suggest that sunflowers share a common mechanism with human beings, the sleep-wake cycle or the circadian rhythms. A little bit geeky would be heliotropism.

What is he·li·ot·ro·pism?

/ˌhēlēəˈtrōpizəm/

noun

BOTANY

The directional growth of a plant in response to sunlight.

ZOOLOGY

The tendency of an animal to move toward light.

Engrid Barnett, contributor for Ripleys.com emphasized about the benefits of Heliotropism.

SURPRISING BENEFITS OF HELIOTROPISM  

In their attempt to crack the code of sunflower sun tracking, scientists have also discovered some of the critical benefits of heliotropism. When plants were tied up so that they could no longer follow the sun, it resulted in less leaf area and decreased biomass.  

As for the 24-hour clock that sunflowers follow? Researchers determined that the same cycle worked when plants got exposed to artificial light. Plants could reliably track the artificial light source so long as it remained close to a 24-hour light period. But when this cycle approached 30 hours, the flowers failed to do so.

So, why do mature flowers gradually give up their heliotropic ways? Blame it on bees and other pollinators.

Researchers have discovered that flowers facing eastward are five times more likely to attract pollinators. Why? Because east-facing blooms warm up more quickly, and bees like those warmer blossoms.  

Scientists hypothesize these circadian rhythms, or behavioral changes associated with an internal clock could have implications to the better understanding of human and plant response to environmental triggers.

So, what happens to circadian rhythms when there is no sunlight? Russell Foster from Academy of Medical Sciences writes about this at bbc.com

Without any access to light, the human body clock appears to drift, adding about half an hour on to its 24 hour cycle for each day of darkness. Jetlag is the most obvious example of the effect light can have.

Jet lag is the most obvious example of the effect light can have.

Pandemic came and many of us miss out on these environmental cues as we work inside. We have become a light deprived species, and this has far reaching consequences for the quality of our sleep, and consequently our wellbeing. 

Today, interest in light therapy is definitely increasing, clinical trials have proven phototherapy or light therapy works. The data on red light therapy for pain relief is so convincing the FDA has approved it as a therapy for treating minor pains and arthritis.

What is Light Therapy or Phototherapy? Could this be our new secret weapon for wellness? Watch this video.

I don’t know how it works,” says the retired 61-yr old Chemist. “But it works.” I can tell you one thing, she says. “I’m not giving those phototherapy patches back.”

What are Phototherapy Patches?

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