Indoor Plants and Your Health - January 2018

By Miscellaneous

indoor plant

When you add indoor plants to your home's interior, you add greenery as well as living organisms that provide health benefits. A number of studies have found an association between houseplants and a range of positive psychological and physiological benefits.

Air purification
Researchers have investigated the role of indoor plants for biofiltration, a process that purifies the air. Plants can absorb carbon dioxide in addition to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as benzene (found in some plastics, cigarette smoke, fabric softener) and formaldehyde (found in some cosmetics, carpet cleaner and fabric softener). 

NASA carried out a landmark study of plants and air purification in 1989.  Researchers wanted to look at how plants could affect the indoor air quality of a space station and energy efficient buildings with little outside ventilation. According to NASA researcher Dr. Wolverton, indoor air pollution is one of the world’s greatest public health risks. The indoor environment is important since we spend about 80 to 90 percent of our time indoors. Plants found to be most beneficial for the indoor environment include the spider plant and gold pothos, and to a lesser degree the dracaena, philodendrom, ficus, English ivy, peace lily, Chinese evergreen, bamboo and reed palm. The Mother Nature Network website has the complete list of plants from the NASA study. 

Researchers are examining the relationship between a high concentration of VOCs and health problems such as dizziness, asthma, and allergies. The NASA study served as the basis for newer studies including a 2016 study out of the State University of New York where researchers looked at the efficiency and capability of five plants to absorb VOCs - the jade plant, spider plant, bromeliad, dracaena, and Caribbean tree cactus. The lead author, Vadoud Niri, notes that both new and old buildings can have high levels of VOCs. Niri and colleagues placed plants in air-tight chambers with specific concentrations of several types of VOCs. The purification of the air was measured over time and the best plant was Bromeliad plant which cleaned up to 80 percent of the air pollutants in six of the eight VOCs. You can watch a video by the American Chemical Society that describes this study.

Future research will look at ‘real-life’ scenarios instead of lab controlled conditions. While the Environmental Protection Agency reports that there is no clear evidence at this time regarding the number of houseplants needed to remove a significant level of pollutants, NASA suggests placing two or three plants in 8 to 10-inch pots for every 100 square feet for air purification purposes. The most benefit can be gained by having a variety of plants in a room. 

Other benefits of house plants: 
Lowering stress - a study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology found that houseplants can decrease stress levels. 

Positively affecting mood - one study found higher concentration, job productivity and satisfaction in offices with plants when compared to offices without plants.  

Healing for surgery patients - research has found that the process of healing from surgery was improved with plants e.g., fewer painkillers, better physiological responses to tests, less anxiety and fatigue, as well as less time to heal. 

Negatives of houseplants: 

Fungi or bacteria in plants and the soil make them inappropriate in the environment of people with compromised immune systems.  

Plants may not be appropriate for people with allergies. The Berkeley Wellness Letter suggests removing an indoor plant to see if this affects your allergies. 

Pet danger - some plants are poisonous for pets (see the list on the Ontario SPCA website). Some common poisonous plants for pets include sago palms, tulips and azaleas. 

Future research 
Building on small-scale research, a large scale project is exploring the benefits of houseplants in the Netherlands and will be completed in December 2018. Called the Plants for a Good Interior Climate, the project is looking at the effects of ornamental plants on the health and well-being of people in office buildings and care institutions. The researchers are seeking to identify the plants that contribute to air quality, and the influence of the plants on the well-being and health of the building residents.

If you would like to know more about having houseplants in your home or office, check out this presentation by McGill University. To ensure success with plants, look for the right plant for the right spot. For example, the snake plant is a tried and true plant that can tolerate all levels of light and humidity. 

Source: Berkeley Wellness Letter website, David Suzuki Foundation website, Science Alert website, ABC News website, American Forests website, Phys Org website

 



 Miscellaneous
Float Body and Mind Wellness in Penticton

Copyright © 2004- 2011 OKinHealth.com. This article is of the copyright of OK in Health and the author; any reproduction, duplication and transmission of the article are to have prior written approval by OK in Health or the author.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER
This information and research is intended to be reliable, but its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. All material in this article is provided for information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this newsletter / e-magazine / website. Readers should consult their doctor and other qualified health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being. The information and opinions provided in this newsletter / e-magazine/website are believed to be accurate and sound, based on the best judgment available to the authors. Readers who fail to consult with appropriate health authorities assume the risk of any injuries. The publisher is not responsible for any errors or omissions. OK in Health is not responsible for the information in these articles or for any content included in this article which is intended as a guide only and should not be used as a substitute to seeking professional advice from either your doctor or a registered specialist for yourself or anyone else.
Connect with Us
facebook    twitter

Maria's Ireland Sacred Tours


Wellness Tip
Bananas
Bananas are easy to eat fruit! The average banana contains 95 calories which makes them a good snack choice, it will fill the hunger gap until the next meal. For a pudding, make your own banana split with a scoop of ice cream and sprinkle of home made granola.


Maria's Ireland Sacred Tours


Wellness Directory
Ashley Piderman ~ Registered Acupuncturist ~ Vernon, BC
Specialty: Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine
Ashley Piderman is a Registered Acupuncturist with the CTCMA and works out of the Vero Health Naturopathic Care in Vernon, BC.
View Details


Float Body and Mind Wellness in Penticton


Event
Healing Massage Certificate Course (VICTORIA)
Date: May 12, 2018
Location: Vancouver, Victoria & Across BC
Learn basic massage techniques and how to move blocked energy out of the body! A fun, informative course with LOTS of hands-on training.
View Details


Bodysentials - Youth Nutritional Product - Before and After school shakes


Article
Spring Cleansing and Detoxifying
Detoxifying medicine is an ancient concept that appears as part of many healthcare systems around the world. As a treatment detoxifying and cleansing your system is more important today than ever before.
Full Article


Celtic Healings Intuitive Readings with Maria O'Farrell Carr


Recipe
Chocolate chip cookies
Category: Desserts
Description: This recipe is an example of how you can subsitute agave nectar or honey for corn syrup to make these a healthier choice. Agave makes a good substitute for sugar for a variety of reasons. Agave nectar is a real sugar, as opposed to an artificial or non-nutritive sweetener. It has properties similar to many sugars with one important exception: its glycemic index is significantly lower. This makes it a healthier alternative to many processed and natural sweeteners.
Full Recipe


Bodysentials - Youth Nutritional Product - Before and After school shakes