Sylvotherapy: be careful, hugging trees can be dangerous!

This green medicine from Japan helps to fight against stress while boosting energy. To enjoy the benefits of trees and the forest, it is necessary to take precautions otherwise, hello skin problems!

In Japan, where this green medicine comes from, its followers call it "Shinrin-Yoku", translate forest bath. In France, this practice is called sylvotherapy, which involves immersing oneself in nature and cuddling one or more trees. These vegetable hugs would be, according to specialists, anti-stress and anti-fatigue.

But beware, silvicultural therapy can be dangerous if you do not take a few precautions. Allergenic substances on trees, dangerous insects ... In an article published last Friday, Science and Future list the dangers associated with this practice.

Toxic substances present on the trunks

In nature, some elements are not harmless. In the face of predators, plants and animals must protect themselves, as is the case for certain trees that contain allergenic substances on their trunks.

Do not be surprised if, during an embrace with an oak or a charm, you observe important skin problems appear. "Their bark can harbor frullania, a foam that causes severe itching that may extend beyond areas of the body that have been affected", Warns in the article of Science and Future, Christophe Bouget, researcher at the Forest Ecosystems Laboratory (EFNO) of the National Research Institute of Science and Technology for the Environment and Agriculture (IRSTEA) in Nogent-sur-Vernisson (Loiret). The oak trunk is also dressed with lichens of the genus Evernia, Parmelia, cladonia or Usneawho have allergenic substances.

On the islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe, a tree called mancenillier produces a toxic latex. Tourist offices recommend not to take shelter under this plant when it rains because its sap causes burns on the skin. During a silvicultural session, avoid kissing this plant. In general, regardless of the type of plant, make sure you always have long sleeves, trousers and closed shoes when traveling in the forest.

Watch out for caterpillars and hornets

It's not just the flora you have to be wary of. Some animals can be dangerous for humans. Beware especially pine processionary caterpillars, moth larvae present on many plants. "Her hair causes an urticating reaction or hives, a painful rash with severe itching. Medical intervention is often necessary. The stinging hairs can persist years after the disappearance of the caterpillar, the intervention of a professional is preferable to eradicate the nests ", informs the official site of the poison center of Belgium. Avoid any exercise against a pine tree, and do not touch its bark.

Hornets' nests can also turn your forest bath into a nightmare. This insect has a stinger longer than that of bees or wasps that sinks deeper into the skin. Venom directly affects the blood vessels, which makes the sting even more painful.

Rest assured, if the insect has not stung the mouth, throat, eye or repeatedly, it is not necessary to go to the hospital. Approximately 70% of calls received in poison control centers involve local reactions whose symptoms (redness, pain and swelling) do not require medical intervention.

Think also of tick bites, responsible for 26,000 new cases of Lyme disease a year in France, according to the Ministry of Solidarity and Health.

Other animals - snakes, spiders, insects - can be extremely dangerous in other parts of the world. So, whether in France or abroad, learn about the fauna and flora of your region so as not to embrace an unknown tree.

Herbal medicine: plants to pick during the summer

Bobos of nature: how to relieve them?

To see on video: how trees communicate with each other

Video: Trees, leaves and soil to relax body and mind (November 2019).


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