Many of us appreciate how the sight of a radiant pink moth orchid can lift our spirits, or how a trailing houseplant can transform a dusty bookshelf. But did you know that indoor plants can also help to improve your health? We explain the benefits of having indoor plants and how they can potentially help to improve your mental and physical wellbeing.
A Balm For Body And Mind
That’s right – while they may not be able to cure your cold or ward off that bout of Norovirus, recent scientific research has revealed a few key health benefits of houseplants.
Not only have they been found to boost our psychological wellbeing, but these studies have also uncovered ways in which indoor plants can benefit our physical health too.
In fact, by the time you’ve read how health-promoting these indoor plants can be, you’re probably going to want to rush out to your local nursery or order some lush new foliage from a reputable online seller such as The Stem. They offer a wide range of options, so you can browse their range online and then have them delivered to your home.
Indoor Plants Can Bring You A Breath Of Fresh Air
Many nurseries and garden centres have begun marketing some of their houseplants as air purifiers, and research seems to back up their claims.
In fact, a pioneering NASA study published back in 1989 was the first to look into this phenomenon, exploring the ‘novel approach’ of using indoor plants for ‘removing high concentrations of indoor air pollutants such as cigarette smoke, organic solvents, and possibly radon’.
Since then, these claims have been both confirmed and denied by different members of the scientific community. However, more recent studies do seem to indicate that plants can play a role in purifying the air inside our homes, with the recommendation seeming to be that several different species of houseplant would be most effective.
Scientists have even compiled a list of the top ten plants when it comes to cleaning the air. These include:
- The Areca Palm
- The Lady Palm
- The Bamboo Palm
- The Rubber Plant
Other species, such as English ivy and the Boston fern, are also high on the list.
Fortunately for many of us, the indoor plants mentioned above all happen to be quite simple to purchase and care for, so we can easily add them to our homes.
Introduce More Foliage To Ease Asthma And Dry Skin
Linked to their ability to purify the air we breathe, plants can apparently have a positive effect on respiratory complaints such as asthma and allergies. They can also soothe skin problems such as severe dryness.
These healing benefits are a welcome by-product of plants’ ability to reduce dust in the air – revealed in a study by Virginia Tech – and release water vapour. Dry, dust-laden air caused by air-conditioning and heating systems can be a trigger for both skin and breathing problems, so as plants add their moisture to the air, they can help to reduce this irritation.
Plants could even help with your headaches, by increasing the oxygen levels inside your home and helping you breathe better.
To make the most of these oxygenating qualities, it’s recommended that you position your places within 6-8 feet of where you sit and sleep.
Plants Could Help You Manage Stress
In our fast-paced 21st century world, stress is becoming a widespread problem – and unfortunately, in the long term, it can severely damage your health. That’s why it’s important to make some small but vital changes to your lifestyle, to help you feel calmer and keep your blood pressure and heart rate down.
One of these changes, for instance, could be the purchase of some indoor plants.
Whilst you may think that adding some more living things to your rota of daily tasks is going to cause more worry, not less, in fact, research has shown that indoor gardening can reduce the body’s stress response.
For example, in one study, after a few minutes spent repotting a houseplant, participants were found to have lower blood pressure and heart rate than after completing a computer-based task – even though they were frequent computer users.
This seems to indicate that plants can help to soothe physical symptoms of stress.
If you’d like to test this hypothesis for yourself, there are plenty of beautiful low-maintenance indoor plants you can purchase – from ‘unkillable’ succulents such as agave and cacti to the elegant fronds of a monstera deliciosa or a money tree.
Kickstart Your Productivity With A Kentia Palm
With many of us now working from home, either on a hybrid or full-time basis, motivation and productivity is a topic that is at the forefront of our minds – and probably our employers’ too!
While some people may turn to coffee or Red Bull for a kickstart, if you’re feeling worried about your workplace performance why not invest in a houseplant or two?
A study carried out by Exeter University has found that having plants in the office can boost levels of productivity by a whopping 38%! Indoor plants were also found to have a significant impact on both creativity and general well-being, with improvements of 45% and 47% respectively.
With such impressive benefits, it looks like having a few houseplants dotted around your home office can only bring good things! Increase the mood-boosting factor even further by housing your new plant friends in a selection of colourful pots, and you’ll have yourself an instant productivity kickstart to begin each day.
Plants Can Lift Your Mood
It’s no secret that spending time surrounded by greenery can help to boost our moods and calm anxious thoughts. As a result, many of us turn to gardens and parks when we need a little mood reset, or during times of hardship.
Tapping into this essential human need, horticultural therapy is on the rise, not just in hospitals and other healthcare settings, but in town and city parks too. These nature-based sessions bring together people from all walks of life to find solace in the healing power of gardening.
If plant-based therapy isn’t your thing, however, you can still easily tap into these uplifting benefits by introducing some more greenery into your home.
If you have a balcony, turn it into a miniature jungle jostling with sweetly scented herbs and flowers! Inside your home, line your windowsills and shelves with low-maintenance indoor plants that look amazing but won’t stress you out with any finicky requirements.
Consider selecting a variety of plant species to add extra dimensions to your living space and provide a treat for the senses. There are so many stunning low-maintenance indoor plants to choose from – ranging from the eye-catching patterned leaves of Calathea to the cascading fronds of maidenhair ferns, and the heart-shaped foliage of philodendron.
Things To Consider
As you can see, numerous studies seem to indicate that introducing a variety of houseplants into your home can bring all kinds of health-boosting benefits.
That said, before you make any purchases, be sure to do a little research. Some plants can be toxic to animals and humans, so if you have pets or children running around they’re probably best avoided. Some plants can also trigger allergies or cause skin irritation.
These essential considerations aside, it won’t be hard to find the perfect indoor plants for you. Hopefully, you will soon feel a difference in your wellbeing – even if it’s just that they bring a smile to your face every time you glance at their lush green leaves.