March 23, 2018 | ° F

Go green: health benefits of planting in your home

Photo by Sonya Szczesna |

Houseplants may maintain your pad’s earthy coolness, but they aren’t solely decorative. The hidden truth about interior plants is that they house a host of health benefits. A little leafy, clay-potted plant sprouting in the corner of your room can provide you with so much: Plants can decrease your stress while increasing your happiness, aid your ailments and purify the surrounding air. 

Therapeutic properties of plants

Plants can be known to improve happiness levels and increase empathy due to their aromatic presences. The act of gardening benefits people who suffer from depression and other psychological disorders. Plants can also eliminate stress. A plant in particular that stabilizes stress levels is anthurium, a low-maintenance beauty that blooms in red flowers and long, lush leaves, according to the Journal of Environmental Psychology.

Colorful plants like croton can promote creativity, and red plants provide people with a subconscious kick of energy. Also, the Royal College of Agriculture states that people are 70 percent more likely to concentrate while in a room with plants, and bamboo particularly fosters concentration.

Aid your ailments

With so many different types of houseplants, many of them can treat your minor illnesses and irritations. For many, aloe is a bottled gel used to treat post-beach lobster skin, but aloe vera is actually a superpower, burn-busting plant you can grow in your own home. It’s best kept in a kitchen, where you can cut it open and use its inner leaf juice as elixir for oven burns. 

Some people say that just a glance at a pothos plant can ease your tired or irritated eyes. That may be true, but a sure way to soothe your eyes is stripping the plant of a vine and pressing a leaf against your closed eyelids for 3 to 5 minutes. Doing this each day will not only aid your eyes, it’ll help you in the long run — these plants are believed to prevent glaucoma and cataracts. 

Additionally, calendula has an abundant amount of antioxidants that helps to heal injured skin. The plant can easily be made into an oil and directly applied to skin.

Purify and fortify the air

Indoor air pollution can unsurprisingly have harmful effects on people, like increasing one’s risk of stroke and heart disease. This is especially frightening considering humans spend 90 percent of their time inside. Plants are useful for scouring away harmful air pollution. Peace lilies and florist's chrysanthemums are some of the most powerful natural air purifiers, according to NASA. Pothos, the eye aid, is another plant with purifying properties. 

A good college student-proof plant that’ll restock your bedroom with oxygen at night is the snake plant. Not only is it cute, it’s nearly indestructible. It requires minimal sunlight and can withstand a long period of time without water. This is unlike all the other plants you may have regrettably killed in your life.

Add greens to your diet 

Some people struggle to fit vegetables and leafy greens into their diet or simply don’t like paying for pricey herbs at the grocery store, especially when they go bad quickly. By growing your own greens, you’re not only saving money, but you also have no excuse not to eat them as they've grown conveniently in your home. Fresh herbs such as mint, basil, oregano and rosemary grow rapidly, are easy to maintain and can be incorporated into virtually any recipe. Basil, for example, is an excellent herb to make pesto with. All you need are pine nuts, olive oil and Parmesan cheese to make a quick, delicious pasta sauce. 

So many plants, so many perks. Of course, you don’t have to ransack the Home Depot and transform your room into a greenhouse — your roommate may resent you for that. But, a few leafy greens can make your space just a little bit prettier and whole lot healthier, too. 

Abigail Lyon

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