Create a Healthy Home this New Year with Houseplants

Health Benefits of Houseplants

Provide Moisture to the Air and Eliminate Toxins

Several studies conducted by organizations and universities around the world highlight the healing properties of houseplants. For instance, the Agricultural University of Norway discovered that houseplants decrease incidences of head colds and influenza. Additionally, houseplants decrease the number of sore throats, coughs, and dry skin. The higher humidity produced by plants, as well as their air-purifying capabilities, are contributing factors.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) demonstrated through experiments that houseplants have the ability to remove toxins from the air. Particularly, houseplants filter out toxins, such as formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, benzene, and xylene.

  • Formaldehyde is present in furniture and carpets.
  • Trichloroethylene is commonly found in inks, paints, and carpets.
  • Benzene is typically used in cleaning products and furniture finishes.
  • Xylene is in plastics and glues.

Increase Recovery Time Among Hospital Patients

Not only do house plants improve health by combating airborne toxins, but they also enhance mental health and increase recovery. To explain, Kansas State University performed case studies to show the healing effects of plants post-surgery. The study results indicated that recovering patients who had plants in their hospital room had noticeably lower rates of pain, anxiety, and fatigue, as well as improved blood pressure versus those who did not have plants. Similarly, Texas A&M University researchers conducted a literature review that suggests tending plants significantly reduces recovery time after medical procedures.

Decrease Stress and Increase Efficiency and Memory Retention

Aside from health and wellness, houseplants also enhance productivity. Both University of Michigan and Texas A&M scientists discovered the presence of plants increases memory retention by up to 20%. In addition to improved memory, plants also contribute to work efficiency. Another way in which plants contribute to a more productive environment is by reducing stress and improving focus, as well as fostering creativity. The Journal of Environmental Psychology points to evidence indicating plants reduce human stress. People who keep plants in their homes report feeling happier, less stressed, and more relaxed than those without plants.

Best Types of Houseplants

Most houseplants clean the air, but some are more effective at removing certain compounds than others. These are some of the most effective and most popular houseplants:

  1. Peace Lilies are a low-maintenance plant that purifies the air. This plant removes alcohols, acetone, benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene.
  2. Aloe Vera has healing properties to treat cuts and burns and removes air pollutants typically found in cleaning products, including chemicals in household detergents, paint, and glue. At night, it absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen. 
  3. The English Ivy is NASA’s approved #1 air-purifying plant for removing formaldehyde. It also removes most pollutants and prefers a cool environment rather than one with high temperatures.
  4. Rubber Trees are easy to grow and purify the air by removing toxins such as mold spores and bacteria. 
  5. Sansevieria Snake Plants are low-maintenance plants that release oxygen at night, so it is good to have in the bedroom. Sometimes, it is called the Mother-in-Law’s Tongue.
  6. Philodendrons eliminate xylene and formaldehyde from the air. They are low-maintenance plants with quick-growing vines.
  7. Dracaena, also known as the dragon tree, removes toxins, such as xylene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde, and grows best in sunlight.
  8. Spider Plants are NASA-approved for removing pollutants like benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and xylene. It removes the carbon dioxide you breathe out and converts it to oxygen. The spider plant is also easy to grow.
  9. Golden Pothos are NASA-approved for removing formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide from the air. It also flourishes in dim and cool lighting.
  10. Bamboo Palms are NASA-approved for their 8.4 purifying score and absorb benzene and trichloroethylene. They prefer low-light conditions.
  11. Azalea eliminates formaldehyde from sources, such as plywood and foam insulation, which makes it an advantageous addition to basements.
  12. Chrysanthemum filters out benzene, commonly found in glue, paint, plastics, and detergent. These brightly colored plants also bloom in several hues: pink, purple, red, orange, yellow, and white.
  13. Gerbera Daisy: removes trichloroethylene and filters benzene. NASA studies exhibit that in merely 24 hours, these plants absorb 67% of benzene, 50% of airborne formaldehyde, and 35% of trichloroethylene in the air. Gerbera Daisies are also pet-safe.
  14. Bromeliads: remove pollutants and produce oxygen while you are sleeping.

Pet Safety

Before bringing a plant into your home, research which plants are hazardous to pets who chew or eat plant leaves.

All of the above plants are toxic to dogs and cats except for the spider plantbamboo palmgerbera daisy, and bromeliads.

Have Health Insurance Questions?

We hope that this information on houseplants is helpful for you.

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This article was updated on 3/7/24.

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