When considering a change in lifestyle for a healthier, more balanced you, many consider changing their diet, exercise routine, or supplement regimen. However, when it comes to health and wellness, one of the most life changing, health promoting modifications is actually the simplest…houseplants.
Bringing plants into your home could be one of the best things you do for your health. In the age of the internet, becoming healthier can be one of the most confusing and overwhelming things we attempt. The infinite amounts of information, conflicting studies, and talking heads can make one give up the moment they attempt their new lifestyle. However, when it comes to the most reliable, affordable and agreed upon lifestyle choice, it’s houseplants.
Plants have become a staple of indoor decor for many, providing a green backdrop to the sometimes bleak apartment walls or design failings. However, many don’t realize the health benefits they provide, giving us a new lease on health without us knowing. From lowering depression and anxiety to improving air quality, increasing concentration and productivity and boosting immunity, plants have evolved into the ultimate health supplement. And they don’t cost us an arm and a leg either.
To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”
Today humans spend around 90% of their time indoors, where air is more polluted than the outside. Lucky for us, some of our favorite plants have the ability to clean our air. In the 1980’s, NASA studied around 30 plants and their air cleaning prowess. These special plants are able to clean out carcinogens such as formaldehyde and benzene and create a healthier space for you and your loved ones. Some of these plants include the Snake plant, Boston Fern, Chinese Evergreen, Peace Lily and Aloe.
It’s been shown that plants have the power to improve our outlook as well as decrease stress. Participants in a 2008 study who had indoor plants in their hospital rooms reported less stress and a better outlook on their prognosis.
Studies have shown that patients recovering from surgery who have a view of a garden or plants actually recover quicker than those who face a wall or have no windows overlooking plants and trees.
Although small, a Norwegian study done in 1998 found that workers had fewer complaints of illness such as a sore throat, cough, itchy and dry nose and coughing in offices which had plants.
More recently, it’s been shown that plants in the workplace boost productivity and morale, often by as much as 15%. If you want your co-workers to do more of their fair share of work, it’s time to get them a green gift.
Plants are more than just office or home decor, they provide us with a sense of well-being and provide health effects previously unknown. It makes sense, as we evolved with nature and are often attracted back to our roots. It’s often forgotten, in the age of skyrises and freeways, that we come from nature, and within nature we often feel our best. Perhaps we’re forgetting the ultimate health hack: nature.
Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Michelle Polk, an acupuncturist and herbalist based in Chicago, IL. She’s passionate about health and wellness and empowering people to take charge of their own health. She’s also a plant aficionado and runs her website, www.houseplantgirl.com, in order to educate and inform people on the importance of gardening and herbalism.