Whether you live in a dark New York City studio or a modern mansion in LA, every home can benefit from the health and wellness of houseplants. From geometric terrariums to indoor trees, plants have the ability to improve wellbeing by creating a comfortable and safe living (or working) environment.
Here are the key 7 benefits of houseplants that will inspire you to get out to your local florist and pick up a plant today.
Humans breathe in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. Plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. This makes humans and plants natural roommates, feeding one another necessary gasses while removing harmful waste products. This creates a regulated cycle of fresh air that can boost the quality of life in your home.
Furthermore, plants are able to increase humidity in an environment. When you give them water, they release 97% of it back out into the air. This naturally boosts the room’s humidity, which can decrease incidences of dry skin, colds, sore throats, coughs, and even the flu. This humidity can also help reduce airborne dust levels that contribute to allergies and long-term respiratory issues.
Plants also purify the air by reducing levels of certain pollutants. NASA found that plants may remove up to 87% of volatile organic compounds (those that can cause diseases), such as formaldehyde, benzene, and nitrogen dioxide.
Large plants can actually absorb, diffract, and reflect background noise. If you live on a busy street or in a large city, plants are a great way to drown out exterior noises. Even if the external noise doesn’t bother you, being exposed to background sound for extended periods of time can actually lead to health problems and a decreased immune system! Plants help give back your quiet wellness.
Plants have been shown to reduce recovery time and decrease the prevalence of sicknesses. Kansas State University found that post-operative patients with plants in their hospital rooms had faster recovery rates than those without plants. These patients also requested fewer pain meds, had better blood pressure statistics, experienced less fatigue and anxiety, and were released from the hospital faster. There have also been countless studies that show that there are less sick days taken when a company’s office has plants!
The ability to fight off sickness likely comes from the plants’ regulation of air quality, removing dust and other contaminants that cause illnesses. It also likely has to do with the positive mental health benefits of being surrounded by plants, which you will find below.
Furthermore, certain plants can solve specific ailments. For example, aloe plants can be opened, and the gel inside can be applied to heal damaged skin. The smell of eucalyptus plants can help clear congestion, and lavender plants can help cure insomnia. If you have a specific condition you want to solve naturally, talk to your local farmer or florist for some more tips!
Plants have even been shown to help lessen the symptoms of allergies. Studies have shown that exposing children to plant allergens in the house from a young age can build their tolerance and immunity, so they won’t develop severe allergies later in life. For those people who already have allergies, small, year-round plants can give exposure to these allergens, almost acting like an allergy shot. This works to lessen symptoms at peak allergy times like spring and early fall.
Houseplants have been shown to reduce levels of stress and anxiety while increasing feelings of calm and happiness. Greenery has shown marked improvements in mood because it puts us in a natural and tranquil mindset. This reduction of stress likely comes from the plants’ release of purer, cleaner oxygen.
Caring for plants also betters mental health by increasing feelings of optimism and fighting symptoms of depression. Cultivating something has been shown to be calming and cathartic, and it boosts self-esteem and feelings of control over life. This promotes an improved sense of overall wellbeing.
Not only do houseplants decrease stress, but they also sharpen focus and amplify productivity. The Royal College of Agriculture in England found that students had 70% greater attentiveness in rooms taught with plants. Attendance was also higher. The oxygen given off by the plants helps increase blood flood to the brain, which encourages and stimulates mental processes like focus, creativity, and memory. A houseplant is a great way to get your imagination flowing!
At night, photosynthesis stops, so most plants actually respire in the same way as humans (taking in oxygen and letting out carbon dioxide). However, orchids and succulents continue to take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen fluidly. In this way, these plants are great for the bedroom, because they can purify the air while you sleep. This exposes your body’s cells to more oxygen, so they can better function and repair while you sleep. This is a natural way to create a restful, calm, and deep slumber.
The number and types of plants in your house depend on your needs! If you are looking to cure a specific ailment, you may want to research which plant will work best. If you are looking to purify your home, you will need plants spread out throughout the house (about one large plant or two small ones per 100 square feet.) Also, take into account the conditions of your home. Will the plants get enough sunlight? Will they be held at their ideal temperature?
Go to your local farm stand or florist for more information on which plants will work best for your specific house, climates, and needs.
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