Health Benefits of Houseplants
1. 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 rates 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 carpet.
- Trichloroethylene is commonly found in inks, paints and carpet.
- Benzene is typically used in cleaning products and furniture finishes.
- Xylene is in plastics and glues.
2. Increase Recovery Time Among Hospital Patients
Not only do house plants improve health by combating airborne toxins, but they also enhance mental health and increased 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 versus those that didn’t, had noticeably lower rates of pain, anxiety, and fatigue, as well as improved blood pressure. Similarly, Texas A&M University said viewing and tending plants significantly reduces recovery time after medical procedures.
3. Decrease Stress and Increase Efficiency and Memory Retention
Aside from health and wellness, houseplants also enhance productivity. Both the University of Michigan and Texas A&M researched and found that 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 home report feeling happier, less stressful, and more relaxed than those without plants.
Best Types of Houseplants
Most houseplants clease the air, but some are more effective at removing certain compounds than others. These are some of the most effective and most popular houseplants:
- Peace Lily: low-maintenance plant that purifies the air.
- Aloe Vera: not only has healing properties to treat cuts and burns but also removes air pollutants typically found in cleaning products.
- English Ivy: NASA-approved as the #1 air-purifying plant for removing formaldehyde.
- Rubber Tree: easy to grow and purifies the air by removing toxins.
- Sansevieria Snake Plant: low-maintenance plant that releases oxygen at night – good for the bedroom.
- Philodendron: particularly good at eliminating xylene from the air; low-maintenance plant.
- Dracaena: removes toxins, such as xylene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde, and grows best in sunlight.
- Spider Plant: NASA-approved for removing pollutants like benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene.
- Goldon Pothos: NASA-approved for removing formaldehyde from the air and for flourishing in dim, cool lighting.
- Bamboo Palm: NASA-approved for its 8.4 purifying score; absorbs benzene and trichloroethylene.
- Azalea: eliminates formaldehyde from sources, such as plywood and foam insulation – great for basements.
- Chrysanthemum: filters out benzene, which is commonly found in glue, paint, plastics and detergent
- Gerbera Daisy: removes trichloroethylene and filters benzene.
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