I'm always on the look out for ways to create a healthy home and work environment. Growing up in the country, on the land, has always meant I feel most at home when surrounded by nature. The older I get and the more and more chronic diseases I see in clinic linked back to our environment (and associated stress, chemicals, poor sleep, the increasing use of pesticides and plastics, pollution etc), the more I want to find ways to help my family and my patients truely live the healthiest, balanced and best life they can.
Indoor plants may provide a valuable weapon in the fight against rising levels of indoor air pollution. NASA scientists are finding certain indoor plants to be surprisingly useful in absorbing potentially harmful gases and cleaning the air inside modern buildings.
My project this weekend was to to research and start incorporating more common indoor plants into my home. I've always had Aloe plants inside (impossible to kill and looks pretty), but never actually realised they were doing us some benefit. Aloe Vera helps to keep your home free from benzene which is commonly found in paint and certain chemical cleaners
I'm always looking at ways to improve our "oh so valuable" sleep. If you don't value your sleep or have issues with your sleep, I encourage you to delve deeper. Poor sleep is usually the sign that other things are not so good in the body with stress, hormone and gut imbalances. I found the Mother-in-Law's Tongue "the bedroom plant." has the ability to take away oxygen at night (as opposed to others that photosynthesise during the day), so this means it gives off oxygen at night. It also filters formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene, and benzene from the air
I found English Ivy and other varieties to be good ones to have in the bathroom and kitchen areas, purifying the air but also removing mould and spores. Apparently also good for the bathroom for poo spores that might be floating around.
So if you're interested in giving this a go, the easier one to start with is the 'Mother in Laws Tongue'. Other ideas could include:
Top 10 plants most effective in removing:
Formaldehyde, Benzene, and Carbon Monoxide from the air
Bamboo Palm – Chamaedorea Seifritzii
Chinese Evergreen – Aglaonema Modestum
English Ivy Hedera Helix
Gerbera Daisy Gerbera Jamesonii
Janet Craig – Dracaena “Janet Craig”
Marginata – Dracaena Marginata
Mass cane/Corn Plant – Dracaena Massangeana
Mother-in-Law’s Tongue Sansevieria Laurentii
Pot Mum – Chrysantheium morifolium
Peace Lily – Spathiphyllum
Warneckii – Dracaena “Warneckii”
Always remember to check, some of these plants aren't so friendly for pets.
A few tips for caring for indoor plants so they last
Dust: they will collect dust, so a solution is to put them outside when it's raining
Position: Keep indoor plants away from the direct radiant heaters, hot windows and warm and cool blasts of air from vents.
Watering: More plants are killed by over-watering than under-watering so check to see if your plant needs to be watered. The best way to do this is simply push your finger into the soil to the second knuckle, and if the soil feels dry, water the plant and if it feels moist, don't. If the tips of leaves are browning, chances are its being over watered. And never let your plant sit in a saucer of water as it can kill the plant.
Enjoy your indoor plants and let me know how you go :)
Michelle is a Passionate Degree Qualified Naturopath with 10 years experience in the Natural Health Industry.