Houseplants for Health

Houseplants for Health: Cleaning, Humidifying, Healing

Spring has sprung in Sacramento, as evidenced by the pollen counts.  Despite what the temperatures suggest, we still have a few weeks until we hit summer when the surrounding hills turn brown and unwatered lawns dry out.  Currently, the outdoors is green and lush.  But with temperatures soaring, we may be tempted to turn on the air conditioning and stay inside.  If you would like to enjoy the beauty of nature while cooling off in your living room, one option is to fill your living space with houseplants.  

Indoor plants can help clean the air, and they just make us feel good.  Each type of plant has different properties, and care needs.  If you are new to the world of houseplants for health, we hope this list can help you figure out the types you may want to bring into your home.

Plants that “Clean” the Air

Some plants have air purification qualities. Tests have shown that volatile organic compound (VOC) levels decrease significantly when certain houseplants are added to the home environment.  

Among the best houseplants that clean the air:

  • Dracaena – There are 40 different types of Dracaena.  They help to filter formaldehyde and benzene. 
  • Weeping Fig/Ficus – This is a low maintenance plant.  It helps filter out formaldehyde and benzene.
  • Spider Plant – These plants have a reputation of being hard to kill, and are therefore good for beginning gardeners.  They thrive in bright but indirect sunlight and filter out formaldehyde and xylene.
  • Peace Lily –  This small plant is an effective air filter, removing benzene, formaldehyde, and ammonia.
  • Viper Plant –  Another hardy plant that is good for beginners and acts as an effective filter.

House Plants that Add Moisture to the Environment

Sacramento is notoriously dry.  During our long, hot summers, we like to proclaim, “at least it’s a dry heat.”  But human tissues like humidity – our skin and lungs in particular.  Some houseplants help by adding moisture to the air via transpiration.  This process occurs when water comes through the roots and is released into the air through pores that are found under the plant’s leaves or fronds. The following houseplants are natural humidifiers:

  • Areca Palm – These palms are low maintenance with a high transpiration rate, and are great humidifiers.
  • Boston Fern –  Ferns can be kind of finicky in terms of care.  They need regular misting and watering along with indirect sunlight in order to stay healthy.  The humidity they need to survive will transfer back into the air in your home.
  • Chinese Evergreen –  This plant needs lots of sunlight and well-drained soil.  It is a beautiful plant with variegated leaves, and it will add humidity to your indoor air.
  • Bamboo Palm – Being a tropical plant, this palm, like all palms, needs a lot of sunlight to thrive.  It both filters and humidifies the air in your house.
  • Rubber Plant – The rubber plant is a variety of ficus.  It needs to be watered sparingly and can grow quite tall.  It does best in partial sunlight.

Houseplants for Health: Healers

Plants have been used for centuries for their healing properties.  Many natural beauty and health products consist of plant oils; not to mention, many ancient and modern medications are derived from plants.  You can bring some of those healers into your home and create your own natural pharmacy.

  • Aloe Vera – Probably the best-known healing plant, aloe vera is a succulent that requires bright sunlight and infrequent watering.  The balm within the leaves helps soothe sunburns, rashes, and other skin inflammation.  Many people drink aloe vera infused water for its anti-inflammatory properties.  
  • Lavender –  A favorite of massage therapists and yoga practitioner, this herb is used for aromatherapy.  The scent of lavender is said to calm anxiety and may promote better sleep.
  • Peppermint and Spearmint – Mint leaves have been used for centuries to promote healthy digestion.  Fresh mint plants grow easily and can take over garden space, so container planting and bringing it inside near a window is a good solution.  Mint is also delicious added to salads or muddled into teas or mojitos.  

A small investment of a few houseplants can bring added health benefits you may have never realized, in addition to the natural beauty they bring to indoor spaces.  

Below is a Wall Street Journal video about the health properties of houseplants.

Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer 

I’m Ed Smith, a personal injury lawyer in Sacramento. My law firm focuses on holistic health and we have represented many injured Sacramentans with knowledge and compassion for over 38 years.  Anytime you or a loved one are in need of legal advice due to injuries you sustained, reach out to us for free and friendly advice at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.

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