Indoor plants to improve overall health and wellness

Interior landscaping undoubtedly looks great, and styling your home with plants has become one of the top trends for interiors, but did you realise it’s also good for you?  Plants not only look great, but they also have been scientifically proven to be good for your overall health and wellbeing.

One of the unintended consequences of having energy efficient, airtight buildings is that trace chemicals from modern furnishings, computers, paint, carpets and so on, creating a phenomenon called the ‘sick building syndrome’.  NASA realised that astronauts in space were subject to the same sort of problems and did some extensive studies and the best ‘antidotes’…and indoor plants are the simplest and, we would say, stylish solution! Of the dozen plants NASA tested, all cleaned the air. These included mother-in-law’s tongues, spider plant, devil’s ivy, Boston ferns, dracaenas, philodendrons and peace lilies.  Luckily all of these options are really easy to grow at home too.It’s obviously no coincidence some plants have names like ‘peace lily’ and ‘happy plants’…looks like they are trying to tell us something!

Apart from cleaning the air, did you know that indoor plants can also help clear your head?  Green spaces have a positive effect on mental health, and being exposed to vegetation lowers your risk of respiratory disease and cancer – and even indoor plants work here.  To calm your mood even more, adding scents such as lavender and jasmine can also work to improve your wellbeing.  Don’t think that you’ll be so calm you’ll doze off though.  Amazingly indoor plants also improve our alertness, concentration and communication skills, so it makes sense to add them to your work space as well.

Some plants are also natural healers.  Lavender is well known to help people get a good night sleep and has ant-anxiety benefits in the essential oils it contains, however it will only cope inside for a few weeks and really needs to grow in a full sun position; it’s perfect for pots on balconies.  Also great for pots outside, but better adapted to also cope indoors in bright spots, is Aloe vera. The gel inside Aloe leaves is great to use on sun burn, bites, acne and some skin conditions.

Of course, some things just make us smile, and that in itself if good for you.  A stylish bonsai, the elegance of flowering orchid, the splash of colour from a flowering cyclamen or even an African violet, flowering away on the window sill reminding us of our grandmothers…they must have known a thing or two about wellness before it was even a thing! 

By: Meredith Kirton