Plant-Assisted Therapy: How It Can Be Used In Drug Rehab

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on October 11, 2021

Plant-assisted therapy is a complementary or holistic therapy that may be utilized by some drug treatment centers as one component of a drug rehab program. Learn more about plant-assisted therapy and the role it can serve in addiction recovery.

Plant-Assisted Therapy For Drug Rehab

Substance use disorders can affect the mind, body, and spirit. During the early recovery and rehabilitation process, many rehab centers have moved to take a holistic approach.

Holistic rehab programs take into account the whole person. Often, this means they utilize a variety of traditional and alternative therapies to improve mental and spiritual well-being.

One such therapy, which is fairly new in substance abuse research and can be defined differently within varying contexts, is plant-assisted therapy, or plant-based therapy.

Horticultural Therapy

Horticultural therapy, also known as plant therapy or plant-based therapy, views nature and gardening as inherently healing.

This type of therapy, which dates back centuries, involves engaging in activities such as gardening, planting flowers, or planting trees for therapeutic benefit.

Specific types of plant-based therapies include:

  • horticultural therapy
  • flower therapy
  • forest therapy
  • garden therapy
  • herb therapy

Historically, this type of therapy has been utilized in a variety of settings. For instance, in hospitals, rehab centers, prisons, youth outreach programs, and senior living facilities.

Benefits Of Horticultural Therapy

Horticultural therapy may offer a number of benefits for people with substance use issues, as well as individuals with developmental disabilities and mental health disorders.

What horticultural therapy may offer:

  • stress relief
  • increased self-worth
  • increased attention span
  • improved communication skills
  • social interaction
  • skill development opportunities
  • promote interest and creative drive
  • improved hand-eye coordination
  • benefits of physical activity

Not all benefits of this type of therapy may be measurable, or quantifiable. Some of what this type of therapy can offer may be felt on an emotional and spiritual level.

Herbal Medicine

Another type of plant-assisted therapy is a therapy that utilizes herbal medicines. Herbal medicines across the globe have been used to treat a wide range of medical conditions.

Herbal therapy may be offered as a complementary therapy to supplement traditional treatments in a rehab program such as behavioral therapy and substance use counseling.

Types of herbal medicines that may be used for herbal therapy include:

  • ashwagandha
  • ginkgo biloba
  • ginseng
  • echinacea
  • St. John’s Wort
  • garlic
  • melatonin
  • valerian
  • thunbergia laurifolia

Each herb has its own prospective benefits and uses. Valerian, for instance, may help promote sleep and relaxation. St. John’s Wort is a natural remedy that may help with depression.

How herbs might fit into a drug rehab program will be based on a person’s physical health needs and the perceived benefit of the specific herbal remedy.

Plant-Assisted Therapy During Drug Rehab

Plant therapy is not a full treatment program by itself. However, it may offer some benefit as a complementary therapy, alongside other traditional, evidence-based treatments.

Treatments commonly offered in drug rehab include:

Not all drug rehab centers that offer holistic treatments in addition to conventional treatment services may offer plant-assisted therapy.

However, many treatment facilities are moving to expand the range of treatment services they offer, as new research on the potential benefits of holistic therapies emerges.

Call Today To Learn More About Holistic Drug Rehab Options

Considering the whole person—the mind, body, and spirit—during the recovery process can be important in a person’s journey toward healing from drug addiction.

For more information on holistic drug rehab programs, call our helpline to speak to a representative about your addiction treatment options today.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on October 11, 2021

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