How a Simple Houseplant Can Improve Your Health

It’s no question that human beings have an innate attraction to nature. What is questionable, however, is the neglect of nature in modern-day societies. How is it that something so imperative to our health could be so underappreciated? Nowadays, it’s more fascinating to see a drone in the sky than a bamboo tree in someone’s backyard, and it’s understandably so… drones are sick. They are new, shiny, and can take photos 50 feet in the sky. That’s incredibly fascinating, but no matter how many steps forward we take, we shouldn’t forget where we came from.

 

During most of our evolutionary history, a green environment surrounded us. Only recently did we deviate from a green jungle to a concrete jungle. This change in environment has caused stressors in the human psyche. The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health posted an article based on the analysis of about fifty empirical studies and they came to the following conclusion:

 

“Although any organ or bodily function can suffer from discords, the human brain appears to be particularly vulnerable—due to its complexity, the fact that it requires substantial maturation after birth, and that the maturation takes place in response to environmental stimuli. This vulnerability presumably helps explain why mental disorders are one of the main health problems of Western societies [10]. Thus, to the extent that a lack of natural elements is a discord, one would expect that a closer association with nature should improve psychological health. Most of the research related to biophilia has focused on positive effects of associating with plants rather than negative, i.e., discord, effects of removing greenery. According to the concept of discords, a positive effect suggests that those who presently obtain a suboptimal dose of exposure to plants have a concomitant reduced life quality. Current statistics of mental health does not contradict this model.”

 

In other words, plants = happiness.

 

Therefore, everyone should own a plant. Plants go beyond improving the indoor aesthetic, they also improve and purify the space we live in. Plants provide cleaner air, lower your risk for illness, boost your mood, enhance concentration and memory, and they even promote healing in hospitals! Nowadays, with all the chemicals we release from household items (such as air fresheners, perfumes, cleaning products, and cosmetics), we should be living in a green jungle! Though, since we have the luxury of indoor establishments and because being indoors is so cozy and comfortable, owning at least a couple plants will do (preferably one plant per 100 square feet to reap the benefits). In the late 1980’s, NASA began conducting research on the top houseplants for purifying the air and here are a couple of them:

 

1. Aloe Vera

Removes benzene, which is commonly found in paint and cleaning products.

 

2. Peace Lily

Removes trichloroethylene, benzene, acetone, and alcohols from the air.

 

3. Spider Plant

Removes formaldehyde and carbon monoxide.

 

4. Boston Fern

Removes formaldehyde and acts as a humidifier to restore moisture in the air.

 

5. Snake plant

Removes carbon dioxide and formaldehyde.

 

6. Dragon Tree

Removes xylene, a chemical released by paints and cigarettes, from the air.

 

7. Bamboo palm

Removes benzene and trichloroethylene, also acts as a humidifier.

 

No matter what plant you decide, any plant is better than none. Happy plant hunting!

 

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