Can houseplants actually benefit your health?

Ok, so have you ever heard that having plants inside your home can make you feel better and be good for your health?! This is something I discovered after not feeling my best this week. I mean I’ve always loved having flowers in the house, or the odd houseplant (if I remember to water it) because it uplifts my spirit. Having a big bunch of blossoming tulips or a potted succulent makes it feel as though a bit of nature has come inside, bringing a relaxing vibe whilst adding some colour and interest (I’ve also just got the cutest new vase, so any excuse to fill it..!). But before now I had not fully considered the vast number of health benefits plants bring with them!

Houseplants can actually remove toxins from the air in our homes through absorption. According to NASA’s clean air study back in 1989, plants such as the Peace Lily, Spider Plant and Gerbera Daisy can remove toxins such as Formaldehyde, Benzene and Trichloroethylene.

*The sciencey bit*

Formaldehyde is a chemical found in numerous building materials such as plywood and particle board and is also within household items including glue and washing detergents. The Health Protection Agency even explains how it is used in some paper and textile finishes and the International Agency for research on Cancer has classified it as a carcinogenic, meaning that it has the potential to cause cancer. When there are higher levels of the chemical in the air, formaldehyde can cause irritation to our skin, nose, eyes and throat. Basically, it’s not a very nice chemical so I think i’ll be planning a trip to the garden centre very soon! Some cosmetic products such as nail varnish even contain the chemical, which has just clicked with me to be why some nail salons have their staff wearing masks… It all makes sense now!

Benzene is also found in the production of a number of materials including plastics, detergents and dyes, but can also be found in tobacco smoke. It is also classified as a chemical which can cause cancer, as is Trichloroethylene, however this is less commonly exposed to the general public.

Ok, so it is pretty amazing that something as natural and simple as a plant can be responsible for cleaning such toxins from the air, right!? Why would we not want plants filling up our homes… Not only this but plants can increase air humidity, in turn reducing dry skin, coughs and sore throats. They also have been shown to boost morale and spirits in the workplace, increasing workplace satisfaction by up to 40% according to the Green Versus Lean report. The University of Michigan have also undertaken research to show that nature can increase memory retention by up to 20%, so why not bring the nature inside! I wish I had known this when revising for exams!! Of course, the added bonus is that they can look beautiful and add a variety of colour and texture to your home.

My top houseplants:

All of the following played a part in NASA’s study and proved to be beneficial in removing toxins from the air.

Aloe Vera – the gel inside can also be used for cuts and burns! A perfect addition to a kitchen window sill.

aloe vera

Janet Craig – a striking floor plant that will add a bit of ‘wow’ to an empty corner.

Janet Craig

Pot Mum – add a splash of colour with a potted ‘pot mum’ (Chrysanthemum). These are a perfect present and will last around 6-8 weeks.

pot mum

Goldon Pothos – these are great if you are prone to forgetting to look after a plant. Also known as the Devil’s Ivy, this plant can survive with low light and will look gorgeous in a hanging pot as it’s a climbing plant.

Goldon Pothos

Peace Lily – perfect for an office or brightening up a room, you’ll be glad to hear the Peace Lily is happier to be under-watered than over-watered!

Peace lily

Remember to check whether any plants are poisonous to your pets before placing them in your home! As a full-time dog lover and owner, I know how precious our fur-babies can be…

That’s it for this evening. I hope you enjoyed reading, as it was something a little different for me and it brought back a few memories from science lessons at school! I definitely learnt a thing or two and now think plants are the best thing since sliced bread!! As always, i’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. What’s your favourite houseplant? Where do you normally place them in your home?

If you’d like me to blog about any other topics then let me know and i’ll definitely see what I can do!

Love,

Ro x

 

For more information:

https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19930073077.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/341377/hpa_formaldehyde_general_information_v1.pdf 

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/561046/benzene_general_information.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/318882/HPA_Compendia_of_Chemical_Hazards_TRICHLOROETHYLENE_v3.pdf

http://ns.umich.edu/new/releases/6892-going-outsideeven-in-the-coldimproves-memory-attention

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/kenneth-freeman/the-green-versus-lean-deb_b_5802346.html 

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