Apart from making a space look better, houseplants have many other benefits. NASA did a Clean Air Study (published in 1989) which researched ways to clean air in space stations (in association with the Associated Landscape Contractors of America). The results suggest that certain house plants provide a natural way of removing toxic agents such as benzene, xylene, formaldehyde, ammonia and trichloroethylene from the air, helping neutralise the effects of “sick building syndrome”. As well as releasing oxygen and absorbing carbon dioxide these plants also eliminate significant amounts of the aforementioned chemicals.
The research suggests efficient air cleaning is accomplished with at least one plant per 100 square feet of home or office space.
There are numerous other studies about plants in our environment and their effects on our wellbeing. These include:
- Improving air humidity low humidity can contribute to dry eyes, irritated sinuses, dry skin and dry throat.
- Improving health – For example, hospital patients with plants in their rooms were more positive and had lower blood pressure and stress levels than those who didn’t.
- Feeling good – indoor plants can make you more productive by helping you to stay alert and reducing mental fatigue. The effects can be seen with only a single potted plant on your desk at work.