As the weather gets warmer and you’re getting ready for spring, don’t forget about indoors too! After reading this, you may just want to get an indoor plant this spring.
How Good Is Your Indoor Air Quality?
Believe it or not, indoor air quality is becoming a major health concern. Given that we spend such a large percentage of our time indoors, it’s certainly something to keep in mind. It turns out that harmful allergens and airborne particles are often present in our homes and offices. Since we can’t see them, they can lead to a host of respiratory and other serious medical conditions.
Poor indoor air quality can come from something as simple as a heating and air-conditioning system that has developed mold and mildew. Another issue found in indoor air is carbon monoxide. One study even found that 75% of homes had carbon monoxide from cars that are parked in the homes’ garages.
Let’s also talk about volatile organic compounds (known as VOCs). Adhesives, furniture, clothing, solvents, and other items emit these invisible yet harmful compounds into the air. VOCs can cause illnesses like asthma and nausea but can also potentially lead to more serious chronic diseases and conditions.
How an Indoor Plant Can Improve Your Air Quality
So how to improve your indoor air quality? The simple act of putting ornamental plants in your home or office has the potential to significantly improve the quality of the indoor air you breathe.
Indoor plants can remove VOCs through a process called “phytoremediation.” When a research team looked at 28 common indoor plants, four plants stood out from the pack for their ability to remove five volatile indoor pollutants:
- Hemigraphis alternate (purple waffle plant)
- Hedera helix (English ivy)
- Hoya carnosa (variegated wax plant)
- Asparagus densiflorus (Asparagus fern)
Formaldehyde is one of the most widely known VOCs. You may not realize it, but there is likely to be formaldehyde in the air in your home or office right now. (Yuck.) Formaldehyde is one of those VOCs found in common building materials like carpet, curtains, and flooring. It is especially prevalent in new construction and renovated buildings. Yet researchers have found that indoor plants can reduce the amount of formaldehyde in the air. They discovered that ferns are the most likely to remove formaldehyde, especially the Osmunda japonica (also known as the Japanese royal fern).
Not only can some indoor plants remove harmful VOCs, plants can also reduce stress and symptoms of poor health. Plants placed in a hospital room are known to benefit patients by helping to reduce stress and even improve recovery times.
And office spaces are better off with greenery, too. When plants are added to office spaces, employees have higher workplace satisfaction, self-reported levels of concentration, and perceived air quality.
Are you convinced yet? It’s time to get outdoors — and go shopping for an indoor plant!
Do you have an indoor plant in your home or office? If so, has it improved your health? Let us know in the comments below.
Jessica Cohen is a health coach, a greener living enthusiast, and an advocate of social good. On her website, EatSleepBe.com, she provides tips for being kinder to yourself, to others, and to the planet. Additionally, Jessica enjoys consulting with like-minded companies to create site concepts, develop editorial and social media calendars, ghost write, publish press releases, and run successful outreach campaigns. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram at EatSleepBe.