According to a study done by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), Americans spend around 90% of their time inside. This can not only have an effect on our mental health but on our physical health as well. That’s where houseplants come in handy.
Houseplants are not just décor to look nice in our homes and liven up living spaces. They have added health benefits for purifying the air quality, reducing stress and anxiety levels, and even lowering blood pressure, and promoting physical health and wellness.
Plants that look nice in our homes and add joy and life to the indoors are great. But there are three added health benefits of popular house plants that can improve health and wellness.
Let’s talk about it!
1. Purify Air Quality
In 1989, NASA conducted an experiment that found that popular houseplants are able to remove toxic chemicals from indoor air. The chemicals studied were benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde. By growing one plant in every 100 square feet of space in your home or workplace, you can dramatically reduce the number of toxins in the air in just 24 hours!
Here are popular plants that remove toxins and purify air!
According to NASA, the number one most effective plant in removing the toxin benzene from indoor air is the gerbera daisy.
The chemical benzene is a toxic chemical resulting from plastic, pesticide, and nylon production. It can irritate the eyes, skin, and lungs, and is an overall health hazard to animals and humans.
Thankfully, the gerbera daisy is the most effective plant to remove benzene from the air. It also produces oxygen at night, while helping improve the air quality in your home. As an added bonus, these flowers have vibrant colors and beautiful blooms that can bring joy and life to any space!
Second to the gerbera daisy’s ability to remove benzene from the air is the peace lily. Peace lilies were found by NASA to deconstruct benzene, carbon monoxide, and formaldehyde, and promote overall air quality and health!
This plant is also super easy to grow! It doesn’t need a ton of natural light, so peace lilies can thrive in rooms with only one window, or even corners and places that don’t get a lot of sun.
The golden pothos plant is one of the most popular indoor plants because of its resilience. It is known for being a great plant to grow for beginners or for those who don’t have a green thumb. In addition to being sturdy and difficult to kill, the pothos plant can purify the air in your home of toxins and improve the air quality.
The pothos is not the most powerful air purifier, but it is low-maintenance and easy to keep alive. If you’re a beginner or just didn’t inherit the green thumb, try growing a pothos to improve your indoor air!
If you’re looking for a large statement plant to decorate your home, consider investing in a rubber tree! The rubber plant is another great plant for beginners or those who lack a green thumb. Rubber plants are large, hardy, and can take a lot of neglect before it affects the plant’s health.
The two most common indoor versions of the rubber plant are the Ficus elastica and Ficus robusta, which can grow as tall as 10 feet!
The rubber plants work through their leaves. They absorb toxic materials from the air, pass the toxins through their stems and roots, where they expel them into the soil. Microbes from the soil then kill the toxins and convert them into nutrients and compounds that the plants use as food!
The boston fern was listed in the top houseplants NASA found that removes toxins from the air. This plant is known for the air-purifying power it packs, but also for its relative ease of care.
Boston ferns are especially known for their ability to purify plastics, cigarette smoke, and formaldehyde from the air. These plants not only absorb harmful chemicals from the air—they recycle them! Boston ferns convert these toxins they absorb into organic nutrients that they use to grow bigger, stronger, and remove more toxins.
This plant is a powerhouse of air-purification, and it’s relatively easy to care for.
The snake plant is a bright plant that removes trichloroethylene from the air inside.
Trichloroethylene is a chemical compound that causes skin irritation, eye irritation, dizziness, and is associated with some genetic defects. In other words, it can be very harmful to humans when present in the air.
Growing a snake plant is a great way to protect yourself and your family from trichloroethylene that may be present in the air. It removes this chemical from the air and replaces it with oxygen!
It’s also a great plant for the bedroom or any place you find yourself sleeping! This is because it absorbs carbon dioxide and converts it into oxygen, which can help improve air quality at night and improve your sleep quality.
2. Promote Mental Health
Lavender plants are popular in spas and salons because of their benefits on stress and anxiety levels. It has also been thought to promote calm and aid in sleep, and it may help soothe nervousness or anxiety.
Its gentle, soothing fragrance and its colorful flowers make it a great plant to have in a bedroom or living room. These plants also love water and sunlight! To properly care for a lavender plant, water it when the soil feels dry, and make sure your lavender pot has good drainage.
Another plant with mental benefits is rosemary.
Research published by Northumbria University found that rosemary may have benefits for memory and cognitive function in older adults! The study asked 150 healthy older adults to fill out a questionnaire test that assessed memory function. They placed some participants in a room that smelled like rosemary, and others in a room with no scent. Those in the room with the scent of rosemary scored 15% higher than those in the room with no smell.
The compound responsible for this is called 1,8-cineole. This compound boosts levels of acetylcholine in our bodies, which acts as a neurotransmitter. In other words, the compound in rosemary increases cognitive speed and can give a mental boost!
3. Promote Physical Health
The physical health benefits of plants have been studied for years. Research shows that hospitalized patients who had bright, healthy plants in their rooms recovered more quickly than patients with no plants. They also saw lower pain levels, reduced blood pressure, and much faster recovery!
Any healthy indoor plant can reap benefits associated with physical health, but there are also specific health benefits associated with two popular houseplants.
Eucalyptus plants have been known to produce a soothing aroma that enhances relaxation and calm. However, eucalyptus plants can also relieve cold symptoms! The compound known as eucalyptol has been found to open up our airways and help us breathe. It has anti-inflammatory properties that can decrease mucus production, expand the airways in the lungs, and soothe cold or flu symptoms.
Eucalyptus may also help prevent gum disease and plaque build-up. This is due to the antiseptic known as cineol in the plant. This compound rids the mouth of bacteria and can help prevent decay and disease in the mouth!
To reap the benefits of a eucalyptus plant, try placing a few eucalyptus leaves in a bowl of boiling water. You can also hang some eucalyptus in the bathroom while you take a shower. This lets the steam and heat from your shower or boiling water open the pores of the plant and release the soothing properties inside!
Aloe vera plants are popular due to how easy they are to care for and their wonders on dry, sunburned, or irritated skin. It is often used in moisturizers, face masks, shaving gel, and hair products to promote moisture and reduce dryness and irritation!
Aloe vera is also a great soothing agent in many incontinence products. Urinary incontinence increases the risk of developing skin issues around your genitals, hips, and buttocks. If your skin is exposed to urine for long periods of time, this can cause skin irritation, redness, itching, and even lead to infection. This is why skincare is so important for those who live with UI.
These flushable wipes with aloe vera are great non-irritating wipes for keeping skin clean. They also soothe skin and keep skin soft and fresh! You can also try a no-rinse cleansing spray infused with aloe vera to hydrate and restore your skin.
As an added bonus, aloe vera plants can also improve the air quality in your home! If you use cleaning agents to sanitize your home, they can sometimes leave residue behind. Paint can also leave behind toxic chemicals. This plant works as a purifying agent by absorbing these chemicals from the air in your home and purifying the quality!
Indoor plants are a great way to cultivate peace and health in your home. They can purify the air, reduce stress and anxiety levels, and even reduce symptoms of cold and flu! Their added skincare benefits are great for those who live with UI as well.
Exposure to houseplants in your home is a great way to connect with nature and stay healthy. Try growing any of these popular houseplants to reap the benefits and promote your health and wellbeing!