Indoor house plants aren’t just the perfect amenities to have in your home to make it look incredibly modern and stylish, they also have a whole list of health benefits that you’d never even know about.
We’ll start by looking at the effect that clean air can have on our bodies.
Stress and anxiety can actually be drastically reduced by clean air. So many of us spend the majority of our time in closed offices surrounded by other people, which can often limit the amount of time we can spend outside making it quite the task to get moving and inhale that beautiful fresh air.
However, it takes just a minute to get outside and be in nature amongst the freshness of outdoors to immediately start reaping those health benefits.
Inhaling good clean air into your lungs has a direct correlation on stress and anxiety, this is due to the oxygen having the power to increase your serotonin levels (the neurotransmitter for happiness) which in turn contributes to increased feelings of calm and happiness.
So now you know what an impact something seemingly as simple as clean air can have on our bodies. Here’s a few more benefits that the outdoor world has in store for you.
Freshly cut grass releases a certain chemical after its been cut that can again actually result in a calming effect and in turn make you happier. Something as simple as freshly cut grass and clean oxygen can make you a happier person in just a few breaths.
A study that focused on Jasmine oil, where the participants smelled the oil, very quickly experience elevated moods. As well as an instant mood booster Jasmines scent alone has the potential to reduce signs of depression.
Now we know that going for a jungle stroll isn’t always possible, which is why we created this article, so you can bring the health benefits of the outdoor world to your home but first let's cover some more benefits that clean air can have on your body.
Living in polluted hotspots can play a big role in many common health issues, including but not limited to, asthma, strokes, heart disease, cancer and even dementia.
When your lungs are exposed to polluted air it can force them to work that much harder. Fresh, clean air increases oxygen levels in the bloodstream resulting in an immediate reduction those who suffer from high blood pressure.
Simply put, the better the air, the easier it is for your body to inhale and pump around you.
Your body will thank you for it.
More Energy, Faster
Fatigue is something that we all feel at some point, whether you feel tired all the time or just in the mornings or evenings.
This fatigue is not necessarily coming from lack of sleep or staring at a computer if you work in an office, but may be due to the limited amount of fresh air that you are able to consume due to the impure air that circulates around confined spaces.
If you are looking for that extra boost of energy, try staying away from caffeinated drinks that give you the instant boost and try getting outside instead.
If you already like to get active in the gym, that’s great! Next time maybe try taking your workout outside, try something like outdoor yoga, going for a hike, an outdoor run, or something as simple as a fast-paced walk will do wonders for you.
The fresh oxygen helps with that lactic acid build up, helping you to feel less sore after your workout!
More clean air in your blood equals more oxygen supply to your sore muscles.
Give your immune system a helping hand
Fresh air can help create bacteria required to kill a variety of harmful pathogens. A pathogen is simply anything that can produce disease.
Pathogens are stopped by having a healthy surplus of good bacteria in your body helping you to fight off these infections and diseases. Having a good amount of fresh air can sometimes be enough to give your immune system a boost and fight off these bad pathogens.
Outdoor air is most likely going to be less contaminated than the air in your office, even if you live in a city area, chances are it’s going to be a lot cleaner and hold fewer toxins. (If you can get to less busy and more green areas all the better!) This is because there are hundreds of substances that are found in the common office air supply that are known to cause work-related asthma.
Just another reason to get out and walk!
Knowing the importance of clean air, you should definitely be looking to bring some of this clean air to your home.
Certain house plants have been found to specifically clean and filter the air of toxic chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde, and ammonia, as stated in NASAs clean air report.
Here are some of the best indoor plants that purify your homes air, to bring the freshness of outdoors straight to your home.
This plant is great at removing chemicals like benzene from the air and is one of the recommended plants to have in your home from NASAs clean air report.
Golden Pothos falls short only due to it not being the best at removing formaldehyde from air.
They are also fairly hard to kill, making it a greater starter plant to get into your home to get you on your way to a cleaner, healthier home as it can tolerate low light and irregular watering.
Ok so what are these long names of toxins that I’m referring to here?
Here are the definitions of some of the most common chemicals and toxins found in homes that plants can help fight against. (I will be referring to these more than once throughout our list.)
- Benzene is a colorless, flammable liquid with a sweet odor. It evaporates quickly when exposed to air. Benzene is formed from natural processes, such as volcanoes and forest fires, but most exposure to benzene results from human activities. Benzene is known to cause cancer, based on evidence from studies in both people and lab animals. The link between benzene and cancer has largely focused on leukemia and other cancers of blood cells.
- Formaldehyde is a commonly used chemical compound that exists in various forms and at room temperature, is colorless, strong and even pungent smelling, flammable and gaseous substance. It is also important to note that the “11th report on carcinogens” classifies formaldehyde as "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen". (Carcinogen meaning a substance capable of causing cancer in living tissue.)
- Ammonia is a colorless gas with a characteristic pungent smell. It dissolves in water to give a strongly alkaline solution and also exists naturally in humans and in the environment. Ammonia is irritating and corrosive. Exposure to high concentrations of ammonia in air causes immediate burning of the nose, throat and respiratory tract. This can cause bronchiolar and alveolar edema, and airway destruction resulting in respiratory distress or failure. Inhalation of lower concentrations can cause coughing, and nose and throat irritation. Ammonia's odor provides adequate early warning of its presence, but ammonia also causes olfactory fatigue or adaptation, reducing awareness of one's prolonged exposure at low concentrations.
- Xylene is an aromatic hydrocarbon widely used in industry and medical technology as a solvent. The main effect of inhaling xylene vapor is depression of the central nervous system, with symptoms such as headache, dizziness, nausea and vomiting.
Peace Lilies are another great plant for removing nasty benzene and formaldehyde both of which can be emitted from harsh cleaning products and a whole host of other things.
It’s actually one of the few plants that can come into bloom indoors, not only functional but beautiful as well.
To water Peace Lilies you’ll want to water only when the soil feels dry. To check, just touch the soil to feel if it’s dry or not, just be careful not to over-water.
These are great because not only are they full of vibrant colors, but they are also a very inexpensive plant.
Garden Mums remove benzene, formaldehyde and even filter out ammonia and xylene making this plant a great fighter for indoor clean air!
As a tradeoff Garden Mums will need lots of bright light, so you’ll want to place this one next to a window so it can absorb as much of that sunlight as possible. Again best to water when the soil feels dry.
English Ivy has been named as the best air filtering houseplant by NASA scientists due to it being the most effective plant when it comes to absorbing formaldehyde.
English Ivy is also really easy to grow and is very adaptable to conditions, making this a difficult plant to kill.
This is a great plant to have hanging over a bookshelf or a window edge due to the interesting way it grows and hangs to give your home a nice modern look.
Grow this one in normal room temperature room and with average amount sunlight, meaning it doesn’t need to be in direct sunlight everyday but every now and then is good.
The Snake Plant is actually one of our favorite indoor plants. There’s something mesmerizing about the way they stand and point perfectly upwards all whilst displaying such beautiful strong green colors.
The Snake Plant is especially perfect for your bedroom because not only does it remove benzene and formaldehyde, but it absorbs carbon dioxide and releases clean, fresh oxygen at night.
To keep it growing, let the soil dry between watering and place this plant in indirect light with occasional sun exposure.
And our final plant for cleaning the air in your home is the Ale Vera plant. Aloe Vera has become famous for its oil and its healing properties on the skin. But as an indoor plant it also boosts some great features.
It removes high levels of formaldehyde from the air and when the amount of harmful chemicals in the air becomes excessive, the plants’ leaves will display brown spots alerting you to the high levels of chemicals in your home.
Keep this one in a sunny area, best suited to your window sill. What’s more is Aloe Vera requires virtually no maintenance to keep your home beautiful and toxin free just water it every three weeks or so.
So, there you have it. Six amazing indoor plants to help filter out harmful toxins from the air in your home or the air in your office. (Indoor plants also make for a perfect gift for someone who spends a lot of time in an office).
You know how the old saying goes, ‘if you can’t beat em, join em’? Well it’s the same for plants, of course you can’t live outdoors or spend every moment in a beautiful, green forest.
What you can do however, is get outside whenever you have a chance and protect yourself in your own home with beautiful indoor plants that not only look after your body, but also look super stylish!