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The Benefits of Having Plants in the Home

We’ve all heard about how plants are good for us from a dietary perspective, it seems like every other day there’s a new superfood but how about we move away from eating them. Maybe we could try living with them instead. 

Enter houseplants. For many houseplants are like having a pet without the work. They provide a source of fulfilment and add to the atmosphere of a room, but they aren’t just limited to décor, no these little friends come with a whole host of benefits.

First things first, plants do require some care not as much as a cat or a dog, but they still do need some attention. There is the option of getting an artificial one if you want something purely for aesthetics but if you’re really seeking to reap the rewards real is the way to go.

A small study showed that when people are placed in a classroom with either a fake plant, a real one, a photograph of a plant, or no plant at all, those in the room with a real one were able to concentrate better. Now this doesn’t mean you have to start growing the most exotic, high maintenance plants on the market, starting small and simple is just as good. Perhaps look towards the succulent family and invest in a cactus, aloe vera or an echeveria. All these guys require is some sunlight and a bit of water upon occasion. 

Plants have also been known to help lift your mood too. In fact, ‘horticultural therapy’ has been a thing for years and its roots can be traced back to ancient Mesopotamia. Research published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology has shown that being able to get back to nature, even on a small scale, can lower your body’s stress responses ultimately creating a sense of calm. 

Let’s throw it back to Leaving Cert Biology for a second and state the obvious. Plants provide oxygen. Multiple studies, including one carried out by Nasa in the 1980s, have shown that they can actually purify the air. Some of the best ones for the job are rubber trees and spider plants. 

You may think of allergies when you first think of houseplants, but these little power houses can actually prevent them, you just need to choose the right ones. Their leaves can help catch airborne particles like dust and mold spores, kind of like natural air filters. Plants with textured leaves are even better for the task. If this sounds like something that might benefit you, why not buy a Chinese evergreen or a peace lily?

Ultimately bringing a touch of the outside world into your space can provide a positive influence in your life be it mental or physical. You don’t have to turn your home into a greenhouse to benefit from plant power, so go on and get growing!

Second year journalism student in DCU.
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