Some Effects of Color on Plants and Animals

Effects on Plants and Animals

Supplementary Color Lesson


    Many types of invisible radiation – infra-red, ultra-violet, x-ray, etc. – have been harnessed by science to perform definite functions.  Surely it is reasonable to conclude that equal attention, given to evaluating and using the properties of the colors which constitute the visible spectrum, produce usable results.


    Variations in the type of light ray striking the eye can affect muscular, mental, and nervous activity.  For example, it has been demonstrated that colored light can increase normal muscular tension.  Investigation showed that muscular tension rose slightly under blue light.  Green light increased it a little more.  Yellow light raised it to thirty units from a normal twenty-three.  When a person is subjected to a given color, his psychological and physical condition may be affected.


    It is gradually being recognized that the finer forces of nature accomplish more than the rough crude substances prescribed by physicians.  The light cure is nature’s own.


    The source of all life, the sun, contains within it practically everything of which the earth is composed.  It is thus not surprising to find that the colors which the spectroscope reveals are indicative of various metals and gases given off in the form of ethers varying in intensity and quality.  Some of these colors are termed heat or thermal colors and others electric.


    The trinity of colors, the red, yellow and blue, finds representation in the three great elements of hydrogen, carbon and oxygen which constitute so much of the world, much of the substance of the vegetable world, sugars, gums, starches and ethers, alcohol and many acids.


    Colored glass hinders the passing through it of certain rays.  When these are shut off, certain definite results are produced.  A long time ago it was found that placing plants under colored glass gave some astonishing results.  M. Camille Flammarion, the celebrated French astronomer, found that lettuce placed under red glass grew four times as quickly as that grown under ordinary sunlight, shooting up to a great height like a beanstalk.  Under green glass the effect was not so striking but it grew taller than in direct sunlight.  The effect under blue glass was insignificant.


    Various plants subjected to different colored glass gave diverse results.  Indian corn under white glass measured 25 inches; under red, 18 inches; under green 8 inches; under blue 6 inches.  Beans flourished under white and red glass but perished under green and blue.  (These reports are not very recent, but merit further study.)


    If the vegetable kingdom is thus affected by colored glass it is natural to infer that the animal kingdom is likewise affected, and experiments have proved that it is.


    Experiments made upon the animal showed remarkable variations in response to color.  Finsen of Denmark placed some earthworms in a box covered with glass in different colors and found they all crowded under the red glass.  Butterflies he found collected under the blue

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glass.  The earthworms require darkness and heat therefore sought the dark red rays.  Butterflies love the sun which passes through the blue glass.  


    Bees, according to trials made by another experimenter, give more and better honey when brought up in blue light instead of white.


    That light has an influence upon muscular force was discovered when it was found that Light flashed in front of the eyes greatly increases muscular strength but diminishes it if continued too long.  Experiments along this line should be made with care, however, as the nervous stimulation caused might prove injurious to health.


    The method of color healing is to create harmony in the nerves and all parts of the body and mind.  Over-exposure to any one color can be remedied by using the opposite color.  Color is perhaps best used as a part of other methods and not considered to be a cure-all although there are certainly instances where their performance has seemed rather wonderful.


    Light is used today to speed up plant life, make eggs germinate faster, maintain the weight of animals, add vitamins to milk and beer, kill fungi, stimulate glands and circulation.  Hair and nails grow faster under light.  


    Ultra violet is said to increase the flowering of plants; red and orange the aroma.


    We know all life depends upon the sun.  Plants bending toward the sun show the effects of light.  Destructive sun rays also can kill animal and plant life.  Invisible rays may affect all mankind more than we know.


    Actinic rays are vital to all the processes of man.  Life in light.  Chemical rays, the blue and violet, affect the leaves of plants.  Actinic glass transmits light of high visibility (as green), but reduces the intensity of both infra-red and ultra violet, and is often used to protect the eyes of industrial workers.


    The proper lighting produces chlorophyll and growth, makes plants stand heat better.  Yellow light, of small power, makes plants grow green leaves.


    The red, orange and yellow heat rays produce heat through the power to create chemical reactions in the body.  The more resistance they find, the more heat is created.  Light orange prevents freezing in orchards; and when thrown on the thermometer it raises the temperature.


    Red light increases the activity of amoebas.  Refrangible rays encourage growth.


    Dark heat rays do not penetrate as well as lighter ones and often not through glass.  Red rays combined with yellow rays have the most penetrative power.


    Human skin allows bright short waves to penetrate and does not reflect them.

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    Cold rays, blue green, make the iris of the eyes contract and also affects the rods and cones of the eye.  Animals and children develop better in controlled light.


    Sunburn is not a burn, as it develops hours after exposure.  It is an irritation caused by penetration of ultra violet rays.  Light burn under X-ray is the same.  Negroes do not sunburn, and brunettes burn less than blondes.  White animals also sunburn, spotted ones only on the white spots.


    Tan is due to increased pigmentation caused by actinic rays, not heat.  Blue and yellow rays penetrate as much as .80 inch, sometimes as much as 1.5 inches.  Some light rays penetrate to 2.4 inches.


    Light rays dilate the blood vessels, increase red blood cells, increase movement of white corpuscles, (leucocytes), destroy bacteria, increase active tissue cells, the gelatin substance (collagen) between tissues and in bones, increase activity of mucous membrane, dilate lymph space, assist tissue in battle against parasites, increase oxidizing power of blood. 


    Application of light rays in one spot can affect the entire blood stream through circulation and eliminations of toxins.


    Incandescent lights and colors heal by stimulation, oxidation of toxins and vitalization, allowing nature to produce healing.  Freund of Germany uses them for skin diseases, neuralgia, rheumatism, muscle soreness, swelling joints and muscles.  Long repeated treatment plus proper diet produces wonders.


    Any process, light or heat, that draws blood to the skin relieves congestion of liver, spleen, lungs, stomach, intestines, spinal cord.  All vital organs have direct connection with the skin through the arteries, blood vessels and capillaries.


The Biochemical Basis of Color


    Water has the property of accelerating all kinds of chemical reactions.  Man and all organisms are preponderantly water.  Living matter is peculiar in the speed with which hydrolytic, oxidative and reduction reactions occur in it.  In addition to water, other agents called enzymes promote catalysis.  These enzymes act only on substances having particular molecular forms.


    Carbon atoms form the building stones of living matter because they have the power of combining with other elements to form the complex substances like proteins and carbohydrates; and also because they are especially “optically active”, that is they rotate the plane of polarization of a beam of light passing through them, turning it left or right.  Pasteur claimed that the power of building up optically active compounds is a unique prerogative of life.  It would seem as if there must be some intimate relation between color production and optically active carbon compounds.

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    Living matter contains many substances insoluble in water.  These are called lipins, (Greek, lipos, fats) amongst which are the essential substratus of living matter. Cholesterol, one of these, is an important lipin in the brain remarkable for its power of forming pigments and for its color effects.


    These fats behave in a manner that can be duplicated by linseed oil, and there is a curious resemblance between linseed oil and proto-plasmic respiration.  Linseed oil takes in oxygen and gives off carbon just as a nerve does.  Ultra violet light accelerates this respiration in linseed oil just as it does in protoplasm.  The reaction begins slowly and then speeds up.  The intensity of the response is sometimes totally out of proportion to the intensity of the external stimulation.


  Every theory of vision involves a theory of the chemical process on the retina and eventually implies a theory of nerve conduction.     


    Troland suggests that pulse frequency is responsible for the cortical process underlying brilliance of color.  The hue may depend on the nerve arrangements tuned to a particular wave length, such as red.


    Some sort of light is present in nerve conduction, just as every activity of protoplasm is accompanied by an electric current.


    In a perfectly dark room a band of red light will be seen to have projecting from its sides reddish blue arcs.  When the eyes are closed a true after image of this can be obtained.  Nerve fibers when stimulated give off radiation; what one is really seeing are his own nerve currents.


    Carbon dioxide is given off by the unexcited nerve and light may also be given off by the unexcited nerve.  This light given off by the unexcited nerve is consciousness.  If we imagine ourselves to be inside the molecules or atoms which are absorbing light, the color we would see would be the complementary of the color which someone outside the molecules would see as reflected light.


    In this sense the internal universe of consciousness is the external universe turned outside in; and the objective universe is the internal world turned inside out.


    Life is literally a process of combustion.  Each nerve cell is a little wick with its own lamp of oil.  Consciousness is a synthesis of many little glowings; it depends on cerebral oxidation.


    The consciousness of color somehow reduplicates the physical conditions of color.  The nerve cell is a generator as well as a transmitter.  Both processes involve the breaking down and resynthesis of long chain carbon compounds.  The kind of carbon compounds of which a cell is made is an expression of the way it has functioned in the past.  This suggests a relation between color and the structure of the brain.


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    Ultra-violet light has a chemical and bactericidal action on the tissues of the body.  It causes calcium phosphorus, iron and iodine fixation and is useful in the treatment of rickets.  The chemical reaction of ultra violet light depends upon its vitamin reaction in the system and it is claimed that vitamins A,B,C,D and E depend upon ultra violet light.  Bacterial toxins are broken down and there is an increase of hemoglobin and of the red and white cells in the body.


    Ultra violet light normalizes all metabolism and glandular activity and accelerates the blood and lymph flow. It stimulates anti-body production. It also stimulates the sympathetic nervous system and is a sedative to pain.  The author has had uniform success in the treatment of syphilitic ulcers with ultra violet.


    Ultra violet treatment is very beneficial to people living in urban centers even if they are not sick, because these rays have a chemical and bacteriological effect essential to normal health and well-being.


    Treatment with ultra-violet must be used with much caution, and worked out carefully so that the right dosage may be applied.  The amount and the patient’s make-up must be taken into consideration.  Dark-skinned persons can absorb more without injury to the skin than can blonde persons, but the individual skin reaction must be observed.


    At first only short light treatment should be given.  Dr. Wood believes best results are obtained by irradiating the patient with the deep therapy lamp, causing a relaxation of the tissues and stimulating capillary circulation, by which the ultra-violet rays are more quickly and readily absorbed when given immediately afterwards.


    Do not use ultra-violet without the advice of a physician as the radiation can prove dangerous.

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