Living in a modern world that is driven by technology has had a serious impact on humans. One of the major global health issues that we are facing today is air pollution. We breathe air that is of the worst possible quality. However, it is not just the air quality outside our homes and offices that are bad. Indoor air quality is also rapidly declining. To cope up with this and improve the quality of air, using air purifiers at home is becoming more common. However, a more natural method of trying to improve the air quality of your house or office is placing air purifying plants indoors.
The ability of a plant to absorb and remove harmful toxins from the air is known as Phytoremediation. It is the use of plants to absorb pollution of various kinds like air, soil, and water. It was NASA that discovered that certain houseplants absorb toxins that are present in the air, especially in a closed setting. This was back in 1989, since then we have come a long way in making air-purifying plants a part of our homes. There have been various studies about indoor plants and their air cleaning ability.
When you buy an air-purifying plant, the action of buying and getting it over to your house is pretty simple. But it is the plant that does the actual work.
Just how plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, they absorb other harmful gases as well. These gases are called Volatile Organic Compounds. The important ones are formaldehyde (that is found in cosmetics and dish detergent) and benzene (that is found in some fabrics, plastic, and cigarette smoke). They do so through the pores on the surface of the leaves and roots.
According to NASA, 2-3 pots of these plants 8-10 inches in size, should be placed for every 100 sq.mt.
The most obvious benefit of using air purifying plants is the cleaner air they release back. This improves air quality and makes it easier for us to breathe. Some other benefits associated with them are:
1. Reduces stress and anxiety
2. Increases productivity
3. Improves mood
4. Better memory
With over 200 species available, the spider plant is one of the easiest plants to grow. The spider plant is also known as the air plant. These plants do not require much of our attention. They make a great décor item, especially when they produce white flowers.
• Xylene- this pollutant is found in furniture and can cause dizziness as well as headaches.
• Formaldehyde- found in synthetic fabric and plastic, formaldehyde can cause irritation of the throat, mouth, and nose.
2. Care: water 2-3 times a week.
3. Safety: this is a non-toxic plant that makes it safe for children as well as pets.
4. Other benefits:
• Easy maintenance: the spider plant is a houseplant that can grow by itself. This means that they can thrive and adapt to various climatic conditions even when they are not taken care of. Light or no light, they grow beautifully.
• Better recovery rate of patients: studies have shown that keeping spider plants in rooms of patients recovering from surgery leads to better recovery in comparison to patients who are in rooms without plants. Patients showed reduced blood pressure levels, anxiety, and pain.
• Gets rid of other pollutants: spider plants are known to remove one of the most dangerous pollutants, particulate matter. These are so fine that they can easily enter your lungs and bloodstream. It is also capable of removing ozone, which is becoming increasingly common and has dangerous effects on your body as well as the environment. Another important pollutant that it removes is nitrogen dioxide.
Also known as sword fern is an evergreen plant. These plants act as a humidifier that keeps the air moist.
• Benzene- is found in paints, furniture, and detergents. It causes headaches, dizziness, irregular heartbeat, and confusion. High-level exposure to benzene can also lead to death.
• Toluene- is found in nail paints, thinner, glues, ink, and stain removers. It causes irritation of the respiratory tract, skin, and eyes.
2. Care: Boston ferns do extremely well in humid conditions. If there is not enough humidity, the leaves will turn yellow. You can increase the humidity by placing the pot on a tray filled with pebbles. Place in a pot with indirect light. Make sure the soil stays damp at all times by frequently misting it, and once a month, soak the plant.
3. Safety: Safe for children and pets.
4. Other benefits:
• Improves humidity- naturally improves humidity level making your home more comfortable.
This is a diverse plant that has around 40 species. They come in different sizes and colors. Dracaenas are ideal for people who are new to gardening.
• Trichloroethylene: this is found in ink and paint and causes dizziness, headaches, and nausea.
2. Care: keep in a well-lit room. Keep the soil moist, but the soil should not be soaked in water as it will kill the plant.
3. Safety: toxic if ingested. May cause your pet to have dilated pupil, vomit, or salivate more. Keep away from children and pets.
4. Other benefits:
• Improves humidity- if a room is dry, place a Dracaena plant in it. Studies have shown that any health condition that is caused by low humidity and dryness like cold, dry skin, or sore throat is kept in check.
• Aesthetically pleasing- dracaenas make great ornamental plants. The long leaves are pleasing to look and make it a great desk plant. The woody stems that develop as the plant matures add color to any space.
• Easy to maintain- these plants do not need much water or sunlight, thereby making them easy to maintain.
These low maintenance plants are also known as mother-in-law’s tongue and viper’s bowstring hemp. It has stiff leaves that grow upwards and belongs to the succulent family. When it matures, the leaves turn dark green with light grey stripes.
2. Care: these plants do not require much sunlight and should be kept in a dry room with moderate sunlight. Water occasionally but in moderation, maybe once or twice a month.
3. Safety: non-toxic, safe for children and pets.
4. Other benefits:
• Drought resistant- since the snake plant is a succulent, they do really well without water even in harsh and hot weather conditions.
• Produces high amounts of oxygen- according to a study, snake plants are one of the highest oxygen-producing plants.
• Anti-cancer- snake plant absorbs various harmful pollutants that can cause cancer that are present in the air.
• Feng shui friendly- since it can absorb harmful particles, it is considered to bring positivity and good luck.
Though small in size, Peace lilies absorb a great deal of pollutants. There are 37 species of peace lily. The white lilies blossom all summer long, adding to the beauty and peace.
2. Care: they should be placed in an area that receives sunlight for a few hours and is then covered by shade. This is important to ensure that the flowers blossom. The soil should be moist, but overwatering will kill the plant.
3. Safety: toxic, should be kept away from children. It also contains pollen and can trigger some allergies.
4. Other benefits:
• Prevents mildew- damp environments like bathrooms are a thriving ground for mold and mildew. Now, because peace lilies do really well in humid conditions, they are ideal for placing in the bathroom, preventing the growth of mildew.
• Absorbs acetone vapors- apart from pollutants mentioned previously, acetone vapors get released into the air from everyday household products like varnishes and nail paint remover. Exposure to acetone leads to headaches, fatigue, slurry speech, and low blood pressure. Peace lily is known to absorb such vapors.
• Promotes sleep- since peace lilies absorb toxic material from air, it is ideal to be placed in bedrooms. As it purifies the air, it increases the humidity, which releases irritation in the throat. It also relieves stress, thereby improving the quality of your sleep.
You should note that using these plants is only one of the many ways of minimizing indoor air pollution. Using these plants alone will not solve the problem. Apart from this regular cleaning of your house, using natural cleaners and an increase in ventilation will have a better effect on the indoor air pollution. Using air purifiers has also become common (internal link for air-purifiers).
So, while considering tackling the pollution within the four walls, make sure these plants remain one of your options as they provide other benefits too. Take good care of the plants, and they will do the same for you in return.
A single targeted dose of radiotherapy could be as effective at treating breast cancer as a full course, a long-term…
The loss of smell that can accompany coronavirus is unique and different from that experienced by someone with a bad…
What are finger foods? Any solid food that can be eaten directly with hands rather than with utensils like a…
Raising your kid as a team Parenting is a rewarding feeling for both partners. However, along the way, it often…
How generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is treated? The treatment of generalized anxiety disorder is decided on the basis of severity…
How generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is diagnosed? Before getting into the diagnosis details of GAD, learn about what is generalized…