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Benefits of indoor plants backed by science

We are increasingly spending more time indoors and the current pandemic has made that worse. If we are going to spend most of our time indoors, we would benefit from improving the quality of the environment indoors. Having plants around you in indoor spaces, whether that’s at home or your workplace, provides a lot of benefits including reduced stress, improved mood, increased creativity, cleaner air, and generally a healthier you. If you don’t have any indoor plants or were considering getting them, perhaps learning about the benefits they provide will help you make the decision to go for it.

Cleaner air

While it is common knowledge that plants absorb carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen, studies have shown that they can also remove harmful chemicals like benzene, toluene, and formaldehyde.[1][2] Benzene, while not normally found in the air, can make its way indoors through attached garages where vehicle exhaust acts as the source. Benzene is also a known carcinogen.[3] Plants like the Jade plant and French hydrangea among several others are very good at removing benzene from the air.[4]

Image credit: Brodie Vissers

Increased productivity

If you feel like you just aren’t able to get things done, indoor plants can help you with that too. Simply being around indoor plants provides a boost to your productivity. According to one study, the boost can be as much as 15%.[5]

Beneficial for your skin

Humidity generally drops in winter and when you add indoor heating to that, it drops to the point where we are left with dry skin and other issues. Indoor plants are shown to restore humidity back in the air through a process known as transpiration. Plants can increase the level of humidity indoors[6] which can prevent several issues like dry skin, chapped lips, and scratchy throat. Plants like peace lilies, snake plant, and areca palm do an excellent job of increasing humidity indoors while also being relatively easy to look after.

Image credit: Brodie Vissers

Reduce stress

Every year our lives become more busier and more stressful given everything that is going on around the world. While there are many ways to control stress, indoor plants can be used as another tool in the fight against stress. They not only reduce stress[7] but as a result of less stress, your body’s immune system gets a boost as well. Looking after indoor plants also provides a welcome distraction from the daily or weekly rut we tend to get into.

Therapeutic effects

Gardening indoors has proven to provide positive and healing effects for people dealing with mental ailments. Through the use of horticultural therapy, patients have been able to fight against dementia, anxiety, mood disorders, and generally improve overall mental health.[8]

Image credit: Amanda Kirsh



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