Could Buying Houseplants Improve Our Health?

Houseplants can improve more than the appearance of a home. In general, houseplants remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air and increase humidity levels, although effectiveness can vary depending on the types of plants and lighting conditions. Other plants are good to have around due to individual medicinal properties.

This can reduce asthma, headaches and other symptoms related to high particulate levels, which can become dangerous indoors. Plants can be relaxing; some have aromatherapy benefits, and others have medicinal uses. Here are the details on which houseplants may be most beneficial.


Plants That Improve Air Quality

The biggest contribution houseplants can make to a home is their potential to improve indoor air quality. Indoor air pollution can contain 5 to 70 times the amount of cancer-causing chemicals as the air outdoors, with some forms of particulate matter accruing to over 100 times acceptable levels. Such high levels can contribute to headaches, cough, runny nose, asthma, nausea, dizziness and even fever.

Spider plants have been shown to pull significant amounts of particulate matter from the air. Substances include ammonia, formaldehyde, nitrogen dioxide, CO2, ozone, benzene, toluene and cigarette smoke. Other plants studied for their air-purifying properties include peace lilies, devil’s ivy, English ivy, snake plants, Aloe vera, areca palms, lady palms, rubber plants and orchids.


Plants That Improve Ambiance

Indoor plants may also be beneficial for their aesthetic properties. Just the presence of visually stimulating plants, such as bonsai, may have a relaxing effect similar to that of “forest therapy,” or the Japanese practice of going into nature to relax and decompress.

Other plants might have more value for their aromatherapeutic benefits. One study showed the scent of lavender and ylang ylang could lower blood pressure. Another showed rosemary could improve memory. Rose and lavender may reduce symptoms of postpartum depression.


Plants You Can Use

Some plants are great to have around because of their practical uses. Aloe vera soothes burns, hydrates dry skin and reduces the appearance of acne. Mint repels disease-carrying mosquitoes. Rosemary repels fleas and Lyme-transmitting ticks, and it has strong antimicrobial properties.

Houseplants can have numerous physical and psychological benefits, so consider keeping a few to improve both health and indoor air quality. Keep in mind that some plants can be toxic if ingested, so research individual plants for safety warnings if pets or young children might be exposed to them. Plants also have varying needs with some requiring more care than others, so make sure the chosen plants are good fits for your lifestyle before adding them to your household.

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11/29/2019 8:00:00 AM
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