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BENEFITS OF PLANTS ON YOUR HEALTH

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1. Plants Reduce Stress

Scientists agree that houseplants can improve your outlook.

Research suggests that plants have a positive effect on stress reduction, pain tolerance, and physical discomfort — but environmental psychologists aren’t exactly sure why this happens. It could be that plants simply make a room more colorful and attractive.

Or, an indoor brush with nature may provide the same natural high and stress relief people feel in the great outdoors. There’s even a name for the phenomenon — biophilia (a love for nature) — and entire buildings have been designed to recreate it.

Keeping all those green guys alive is good for you, too. Research has shown taking care of plants can increase a sense of well-being and reduce stress.

2 .They Freshen the Air

Winter means tightly closed windows and stuffy quarters. Plants reduce stale air by producing oxygen. But also, according to research done by NASA back in the late 1980s, certain plants will even filter harmful pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene, and ammonia from the air. Some folks get headaches, asthma, or have chronic health issues from these VOCs (volatile organic compounds) — which could be off-gassing right this minute from your furniture, cleansers, and flooring! Just knowing that could make you pretty depressed.

To combat stale air, try some of these air-scrubbing horticultural heroes: Boston fern, English ivy, spider plant, bamboo palm, weeping fig, flamingo lily, peace lily, and cornstalk dracaena.

3. Houseplants Can Beat the Blues

Best of all, having a houseplant (or a dozen!) can boost your mood in winter months. Here are some great choices:

Anthuriums. These beautiful flowering plants are super easy to care for. They do need a decent amount of light, but they bloom consistently — especially during the February-March doldrums.

They’re big and beautiful. Those with red, pink, or white flowers are most common.

Ferns, particularly the Kimberly Queen (Nephrolepis obliterata) and Boston (Nephrolepis exaltata) varieties. They need a bit more water and a decent amount of light, but they put a lot of humidity back in the air and will help make your space comfortable.

Plus, the Kimberlys are a little easier to care for than the average fern. If you forget to water for a day or two, they won’t crash out.

Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema modestum). This hardy plant can handle the low light of winter. It can be in a dark corner and still look amazing. The blackest of thumbs can take care of this plant.

Golden Pothos or Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum aureum). This plant is also a hardy one that’s hard to kill. Bullene recommends it for anyone without much experience with plants.

Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, Sword Plant, or Snake Plant (Sansevieria). This houseplant of many names is really drought-resistant. You can water it once a month and it grows in high or low light. There are a lot of varieties that have cool shapes and colors.

So when the weather outside is frightful, make way for some greenery and invite some friends over. Call it a Houseplant Happy Hour. You just may be surprised by how genuinely happy your greener home makes you all winter long.

4.Allergy Relief

Researchers found that rooms with plants have less dust and mold than rooms without any foliage. Leaves and other parts of the plants act as natural filters to catch allergens and other airborne particles. Common low-light houseplants like Chinese evergreen or the peace lily can do the job. Violets and other plants with textured leaves might be even better trappers. Avoid plants with pollen or spores.

5.Herbs for Better Digestion

Mint may help tamp down bloating, gas, and other problems after you eat. Common varieties you can grow in containers include peppermint and spearmint (essential in mint juleps). Basil, another herb for cooking, also can help calm your stomach. Try steeping the leaves in hot water.

6.Sharper Focus

Plants may help raise your test scores, make it easier to concentrate on your tasks, and strengthen your memory. Students in classrooms with three potted plants performed better on math, spelling, reading, and science tests than kids in classrooms without any greens. Bring home a golden pothos or a bamboo palm and you just might clear that to-do list.

7.Better Mental and Emotional Health

Some therapists use gardening to help treat depression, schizophrenia, and other psychiatric conditions. Learning to nurture a living plant may help lower anxiety, improve attention, and lessen the severity of depression. Plants also might help people recovering from trauma, as well as those with dementia or who live in long-term care facilities.

A WORD FROM HEALTH QUERIES

Just having plants around you will obviously offer psychological benefits but the act of caring for your plants can also help decrease stress and anxiety. So next time you’re watering your plants, slow down, take a few deep breaths, and really focus on what you’re doing. Admire your plants’ leaves and flowers; touch them; maybe even talk to them! It will help both you and your plants thrive.

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