Forest Medicine: Japan

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks” - John Muir

Did you know that trees emit organic compounds called phytoncides that help them ward off harmful insects and fungi? Studies in Japan have shown that when we breathe in phytoncides while enjoying the quiet of the forest, our bodies create more cancer fighting proteins and immune support cells.

Japan has 62 official Forest Therapy trails. They call this practice of wandering through forests ‘shinrin-yoku’ which roughly translates to ‘Forest Bathing' or 'Taking in the Forest Atmosphere.’ As of 2012, the country had already devoted four million dollars funding related research.

Shinrin-yoku consists of being meditatively present in the forest through slow movements and focus on the senses. 森林浴 – Shinrin-yoku

The Plants

Vitis coignetiae

  • Grows into trees in the forests of its native Japan (where it's known as Yamabudo) and Korea.
  • The fruits have been used in Korean folk medicine for the treatment of inflammatory diseases and cancers.
  • It has shown ability to prevent damage to the liver in modern medicinal studies.
  • The anthocyanins isolated from fruits of Vitis coignetiae inhibit cancer proliferation, migration, and metastasis. There is also evidence that these anthocyanins might have anti-cancer effects on human lung cancer.

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