Top 4 Health Benefits of Indoor Plants

Indoor plants can be decorative features that make a room feel more alive. However, the benefit of plants goes beyond their aesthetic value, affecting human health in subtle yet significant ways. Here are the top 4 mental and physical health benefits that indoor plants can offer.     

Clean air

Plants are perfect partners to humans in breathing, allowing us to bring a small piece of fresh air from the great outdoors to the comfort of our homes. While we inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, plants do the opposite during photosynthesis, removing carbon dioxide from the air and releasing oxygen. While allowing us to breathe easier through providing increased oxygen to our environments, plants also remove toxins from the air. According to research by NASA, household plants remove trace levels of toxic chemicals, such as carbon monoxide and formaldehyde, from our indoor environments. For maximum freshness, invest in a variety of houseplants because different plants remove different suites of toxins from the air. Among this mix of plants most effective in purifying household air is the Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum), a popular vining houseplant native to French Polynesia. Golden Pothos is best know for its capability to remove formaldehyde, a common household toxin found in everything from building materials to home furnishings. Another example is peace lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii), a low-maintenance plant with white, moon-like flowers that also can remove toluene and xylene from the air. 

Stress reduction

The presence of indoor plants may reduce stress. Research has shown that the stress-reducing effects of plants are evident through lowered blood pressure levels in individuals who were assigned to work with plants compared to those assigned to work with computer-based tasks. Another study showed that the presence of plants reduces stress levels among hospital patients through their perceived attractiveness of the room. Lavender (Lavandula), a purple-flowered plant native to the Mediterranean region, is especially popular in aromatherapy to reduce anxiety and stress because of its potent, calming natural scent.  

Concentration

Placing plants in a work environment may be an effective way to enhance concentration, productivity, and memory. Research shows that adorning a workspace with plants may increase productivity by 15% through enhancing satisfaction with the workplace environment. The presence of plants may enable us to maintain focus for a task at hand by allowing us to periodically refresh our minds through gazing at greenery. Peppermint (Mentha x piperita), which can be grown at home as a refreshing, green-leaved potted plant, is one example of a plant that may help with cognitive performance both through its aroma and visual effect.

Healing

Indoor plants may boost our immunity and allow us to heal more quickly from a variety of ailments. For surgery patients or those with chronic conditions, the aesthetic qualities of hospital gardens have been shown to help with perception of pain and with the healing process. Moreover, plants can help to ease more common ailments, such as the dry skin, coughs, colds, and sore throats, through their humidifying properties. Finally, some plants may also be healing for incidental injuries or burns. Aloe Vera, a short-stemmed plant with serrated edges on the leaves, is one commonly used plant for in moisturizers and for sunburns because of the immediate cooling relief that it provides to damaged skin. 

These are but a few of the numerous physical and mental health benefits of indoor plants. Decorating a room with your favorite types may profoundly influence breathing, thinking, and healing in addition to bringing beauty to everyday life.