8 Ways Houseplants Help You Lead a Healthier Life

Channeling the lush design aesthetics of the 1970s, having houseplants throughout your home can really make a difference design-wise.

However, that isn't the only benefit offered by houseplants in the home. Keeping houseplants can actually help you lead a healthier life. Read on for the numerous health benefits offered by houseplants.

1. Lower blood pressure

A report published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology studied physical effects on test subjects before and after interacting with houseplants.

What the researchers found is that, after taking on a transplanting project for a houseplant, the diastolic blood pressure of the subjects was lower. The researchers go as far as concluding that the blood pressure of the subjects was "significantly lower."

2. Clean the air in your home

You probably have some sort of air filtration system in your home, but these systems are far from perfect. The EPA has identified an ailment called Sick Building Syndrome (SBS). SBS can manifest in a number of forms of discomfort including headaches, coughs, muscle aches, chest tightness or even fever.

The cause of the syndrome is called Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs, which are harmful gasses emitted from household products that can become concentrated inside buildings. VOCs are released from things like paints, cleaners, office supplies, pesticides, dry-cleaned clothing, air fresheners and even things like building materials and furniture.

Houseplants do a great job of cleaning up these VOCs. NASA reports that plants can remove up to 87 percent of toxins from the air in a period of 24 hours.

house plants

3. Help you de-stress

In Japan, there's a popular form of therapy called Shinrin-Yoku — or "forest bathing." The idea is that surrounding yourself with greenery produces desirable, peaceful effects. And, the method has actually been backed up by research.

Researchers conducted 24 experiments across Japan and concluded that instances of forest bathing promote lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate and lower blood pressure.

Cortisol is the neurotransmitter responsible for responding to high-stress or dangerous situations. You can likely replicate these relaxing physiological effects by creating a "forest" in your own home or workspace.

4. Better sleep

When the sun sets and plants are no longer going through photosynthesis, they stop pumping out the life-giving oxygen that they normally produce. This means that most plants don't have many benefits after the sun has set.

However, there are some exceptions. Orchids, succulents, bromeliads and snake plants actually do produce oxygen at night. And since your body's oxygen levels already tend to drop at night, if you introduce these houseplants into your bedroom specifically, the oxygen production throughout the night could help you get a healthier, more restful sleep.

5. Avoid allergies

Allergies are a dreadful part of the spring and summer for many parts of the U.S., and any allergy sufferer will tell you they'd try anything to relieve their symptoms. One unexpected solution to allergies is to bring a specific type of houseplant into your home — English Ivy.

english ivy

English Ivy is excellent at removing airborne mold particles, a leading cause of allergy suffering. It's also known to reduce up to 94 percent of airborne mold particles.

6. Improve concentration and focus

Growing herbs indoors is a great way to save money and green up a space. But some of these plants actually have tangible health benefits.

A study conducted at Northumbria University concluded through a questionnaire that when the scent of rosemary is present, memory is enhanced. Rosemary contains a certain compound that boosts the neurotransmitters in your brain responsible for concentration and memory.

The same study revealed that the smell of lavender actually has the opposite effect so it might be wise to keep this relaxing plant away from your desk at home and out of your office.

7. Humidify your home

About 10 percent of the moisture in the air is released by plants — a process known as "transpiration." Adding houseplants to your home can help you increase the moisture and ultimately live a healthier life.

A properly humidified home (between 30-35 percent relative humidity) potentially offers a ton of physical benefits, including illness prevention, elimination of airborne dust and generally cleaner air.

Not all plants are created equal when it comes to humidifying your home, however. Most common houseplants will offer some humidifying characteristics, notably snake plants, spider plants, ferns and palms.

One of the most humidifying houseplants is the Areca palm. NASA identified that this plant commonly transpires around a quart of water per 24 hour period. "Drier" plants like cacti or succulents don't offer much of anything in terms of humidifying, but they do still look nice!

8. Facilitate aromatherapy

relaxing with houseplants

Though not much is understood about aromatherapy, there are a ton of examples of research to back up that it works. Researchers have determined a long list of physiological changes that can be brought about by introducing particular aromas.

Jasmine, lavender, ylang-ylang, chamomile, bergamot and orange aromas have all been shown to have relaxing, de-stressing or sedative effects. Part of living a happy, successful life is being able to rest well, so if you have trouble curbing anxiety or getting enough sleep, introducing plants that produce these particular aromas might be worthwhile.

Houseplants are more than just decoration

Houseplants are great to look at. This is especially true right now as it's super trendy to have a house full of houseplants. Hopefully now, however, you realize that having houseplants doesn't just have to be about staying "on trend."

Introducing strategic plants into your home could open your life up to a myriad of health benefits and improve your lifestyle. Don't be afraid to try something new and introduce a new houseplant into your home and life.

Timothy Harris Timothy Harris is a freelance writer based in Albuquerque. He brings a professional background in event marketing, residential real estate and journalism to the table to provide useful and relevant content for the modern renter. Timothy has previously written content for Karsten & Associates in New Mexico and Up 'til Dawn, a philanthropic fundraiser that benefits St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

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