- Dr. Brittany Long
House Plants for Health
There was an age-old theory that house plants could actually help to clean up the air in your home and while this theory has been disproved in some recent studies (1), there ARE other benefits with filling your home with some greenery!
The main benefit of house plants (and yes, this has been researched) is that it can help to calm the sympathetic nervous system and ultimately help to reduce overall anxiety and anxiousness (2). In a randomized, crossover study it was found that having plants and caring for plants can help to combat "technostress" which is stress caused by interaction with technology - either fixing a computer problem or more generally, working on a computer, which is something we are all doing a LOT recently!
In this study, the researchers measured blood pressure, heart rate and surveyed the subjects on their overall sense of calm while working with plants versus computers and found that "the subjects felt more comfortable, soothed, and natural after the transplanting task than after the computer task" (2).
There have actually been more than just this study on the impact of house/indoor plants and their effects on our mood and other general benefits of indoor plants include increasing job satisfaction (when in the workplace), reduction in stress, improvement in overall mood and improvement in mental clarity and cognition (2).
Considering most American's spend 80-90% of their time indoors and spend A LOT of that time with technology, isn't it time to bring a little bit of the outside, inside (3)? If only to increase our overall happiness and mood and reduce stress?
Some of my favorite plants to have around the house (because they are sturdy and don't die easily) include the following:
Senecio rowleyanus aka String of Pearls
Haworthiopsis limifolia aka Spider White
Zamioculcas zamiifolia aka Zanzibar Gem
Dracaenea trifasciata aka Snake Plant
Peperomia obtusifolia aka Baby rubberplant
Crassula ovata aka Jade plant
Guzmania lingulata aka Scarlet Star
Philodendron aka Golden Goddess
Scindapsus pictus aka Satin pothos
Sedum morganianum aka Burro's tail
Curio radicans aka String of Bananas
While the "air-purifying" benefits of plants seem to have been disproven (unless you make your home an indoor greenhouse) and you're better off with a high-grade air-purifier such as a HEPA filter (1), the small amount of VOC and CO2 removal plants do on a daily basis isn't going to hurt so consider adding one, or maybe 10 house plants today!
**Be sure to read up on soil, watering and light needs before buying too many otherwise you might set yourself up for some unnecessary and unwanted early plant frustrations!
*DISCLAIMER: This document is not intended to treat or diagnose disease. Before implementing any new treatment protocols be sure to consult with a licensed physician. The author has nothing to disclose in regards to supplements or products mentioned within this document and the author does not receive any monetary or other incentive to mention the recommended supplements or products.