Plants—they’re alive, colorful, scented , and did we mention just plain beautiful? While many people are aware of the many decorative benefits of plants, few realize that they have the ability to improve your mental and physical health. Whether you live in the “Concrete Jungle” or the vineyards of Northern California, every home can benefit from bringing the great outdoors inside.
They Reduce Stress Levels
Have you ever noticed that the minute you step out into a lush forest or beautiful park, you instantly feel at ease? It’s not your imagination—people actually feel calmer when surrounded by greenery.
Plants Improve Air Quality
Believe it or not, some plants are so good at purifying air and supplying oxygen that NASA actually requires them to be onboard certain spaceships.
But even your typical green plant has the ability to:
- Reduce carbon dioxide levels in your home.
- Control humidity levels.
- Reduce pollution levels in your home (specifically the pollutants benzene and nitrogen).
- Diminish airborne dust levels.
- Lower room temperatures.
- Add pure, clean oxygen to a room.
Plants Help You Heal
Plants may not be a miracle cure, but studies have shown that something as simple as looking at a picture of nature can decrease pain levels. Take, for example, a 1993 study that looked at how artwork and simulated windows in hospitals affected patient healing. Amazingly, patients who looked at landscape photographs (compared to others who had white panels or abstract paintings in their room) reported less anxiety and needed less medication.
The reason? Scientists believe that the calming effects of nature images can reduce cortisol levels and improve your mood, effectively speeding up the healing process. If a picture can do all that, imagine what live plants could do!
Health-Promoting Plants to Bring into Your Home
Lavender isn’t just a beautiful bloom for your garden–the flowering plant can provide various health benefits due to its gentle and calming scent. Lavender is often used in Epsom salts, soaps and candles to help promote relaxation and relieve stress. Lavender essential oils can also be placed in a diffuser–let it run through the night and experience the soothing scent for less restlessness and insomnia.
“Stop and smell the roses” isn’t just an expression anymore! Studies have shown that just by looking at a rose, people were able to decrease their stress levels and feel more level-headed.
Aloe Vera has been used a natural remedy for generations, surpassing the test of time as new methods and medicines have been developed. The clear gel from the plant’s leaves soothes the skin and is typically used for sunburns, psoriasis, frostbite and general burns.
Sansevieria, also know as the snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue, is well known to improve the air quality of your house. Snake Plants remove toxins from the air like trichloroethylene, formaldehyde and toluene all while converting the carbon dioxide you release into oxygen. Another great benefit? They’re notoriously easy to care for. Looking for more easy-to-care for plants? Learn more here.
If your home suffers from low levels of humidity, skip the humidifier and consider buying a fern. Within days, you’ll notice that your skin and hair feel less dry and your home’s air is easier to breathe.
Like the Snake Plant, Peace Lilies are a great pollutant remover. They can absorb harmful air-bound substances like ammonia and xylene that may be present in your home. Not only will you breathe better, you’ll breathe lighter—the peace lily has a pleasant, calming aroma since it produces flowers.