Photo credit: Indoor Garden Nook
While there is no doubt that bringing a bit of greenery into a space is an easy way to add beauty, color and life, embellishing your home with plants does so much more than just add a chic, Instagram-worthy esthetic. House plants can actually help optimize your health in profound ways. And with fall and subsequent chillier temperatures right around the corner, now is the perfect time to start thinking of ways to improve the quality of your indoor living space.
How Plants Can Help...
1. More Oxygen
Our human respiration process involves taking in oxygen, and exhaling Co2. Plants do the very opposite - they take in the Co2 released from our lungs and give us clean oxygen in return. Every cell in the body will benefit from a more abundant supply of pure oxygen. Proper oxygenation is vital to every aspect of our health, from our metabolism, immune system, and detoxification processes, to our mood and energy levels.
2. Less Toxins
Both plant leaves and roots work to help eliminate toxins from the air via a process called phytoremediation. Our modern-day indoor work and living environments have the potential to contain a true cocktail of toxicity from trace amounts of carbon monoxide gas, to common household toxins of benzene, formaldahyde and trichloroethylene which enter into homes through things like vinyl, adhesives, paints, or plastics. Most mainstream cleaning products are also full of chemicals which can toxify the air through vapors, fumes, and residues. The level of indoor air pollution has become such a concern that the EPA has even warned that our indoor environment has the potential to be even more polluted than the outdoor air in large, industrialized cities. While it's best to try and minimize the presence of these chemicals in our environment as much as possible, plants do have the ability to help absorb and filter out many of these toxins naturally while we go about our daily lives. We're breathing deeper already.
3. Allergy Relief
Whether it's dust, pollen, or pet allergies, house plants can bring a world of relief to your sinuses by helping to reduce allergy-inducing particulate matter that may be floating around in the air. Because of their large surface area, plants attract particulate matter that may be stimulating mild or moderate environmental allergies. Just be sure to show your plants some TLC by gently wiping the dust from their leaves every so often. They will show their appreciation by becoming greener, healthier, and better able to cleanse your air.
4. Cold and Flu Buster
One of the major benefits of more oxygen and less toxicity in the environment is that it sets the body up for more robust health and better resiliency. A cleaner, healthier environment means that the immune system is less burdened on a daily basis, which means that when cold and flu season hits, your immune system will better able to beat the bug.
5. Improved Skin and Respiratory Health
Nothing ages us faster than chronic dehydration. House plants to the rescue! Certain house plants, especially those that live in tropical environments like palms, help to restore moisture levels to dry indoor air at levels comparable to electric humidifiers. And no electricity needed. This can help keep the skin, sinuses, and respiratory tract more hydrated and comfortable during the cold, dry winter season.
6. Mood Boosting
Have you ever wondered why you feel instantaneously uplifted and more grounded when surrounded by nature? Part of this has to do with what's called the biophilia effect. This hypothesis states that human beings have an inborn tendency to seek connection with nature and other forms of life. It explains why environments rich in visual or physical aspects of nature, whether it's nature photography, or actual living plants, can have a calming, healing effect. This can be especially helpful during the fall and winter season when most of us tend to go into hibernation mode, spending less time outdoors.
7. Peace and Quiet
Plants have long been used outside to help buffer noise pollution from busy roads and city life, and this same benefit can be used to help buffer background noise in your home or office as well. Plants have the ability to absorb, diffract or reflect sound, making both living and working environments much more comfortable with less distraction or annoyance.
8. Plant Medicine On Tap
A few common house plants even have medicinal benefits that we can enjoy on a regular basis. Aloe vera, for instance, is very low maintenance and easy to grow indoors, and the healing jelly it contains can be harvested fresh directly from the leaves. Aloe jelly is rich in polysaccharides and humectants, which plump up the skin with moisture, stimulate tissue repair, and soothe inflammation. The jelly can be added to smoothie or juices for great benefit to the GI tract, or it can be used topically to nourish and heal the skin.
Our Top Plant Picks
If you're completely new to the world of house plants - here are a few faves to get you started....
3. Fiddle Leaf Fig
5. Peace Lily
7. Snake Plant
Have fun creating your indoor oasis and breathe deep!