What helps ward off colds, bolster memory, decrease depression and so much more? If you’re thinking the answer to this question is the latest wonder drug to hit the pharmaceuticals market, think again. This miracle cure is actually the common houseplant. “Common” hardly applies to these green cure-all’s. Not only does the incorporation of greenery enhance the aesthetic appearance of your home or office space, but it also helps promote a healthier environment for both body and soul.
Human beings take in oxygen and emit carbon dioxide when they breathe. Plants are also living organisms, which, in a process called photosynthesis, release oxygen through the absorption of carbon dioxide. Placed in a room together, a wonderful plant-people partnership occurs, resulting in naturally refreshed environment. Plants also have the ability to remove harmful toxins from the surrounding air; according to NASA, plants trap VOCs, like formaldehyde and benzene, in their soil, and can remove up to 87 percent of contaminants. Plants also act as natural humidifiers, helping to prevent respiratory distress and headaches, both of which can be caused by stale air and allergens.
Concentration, Are you Ready?
If so, let’s go! Many of us played the rhythmic, chanting game “Concentration” as kids for fun, and also to sharpen our mental acuity. Plants, too, have a similar stimulating effect on mental cognition. While a trip outdoors can can share the same benefits, a brisk nature walk is not always possible because of time and weather constraints. By bringing plants into the home or office space, a naturally calming environment can be fostered, which boosts memory retention by as much as 20 percent, according to research from the University of Michigan. Not to mention that the act of caring for a living thing has been found to have positive emotional benefits.
Let the Sunshine In
If your budget extends beyond basic greenery, consider enhancing the benefits you reap from exposure to the great outdoors by having a skylight or floor-to-ceiling windows installed. Not only do these upgrades lower your electric and heating bills by providing no-cost light and heat, they also brighten your space with beneficial natural light. The sunshine that enters your home helps your body naturally synthesize essential vitamin D, which can be effective in warding off seasonal affective disorder, as well as in promoting overall mental well-being.
Modern science is just beginning to tap into the many benefits of bringing the outside in through the incorporation of plants and natural sunlight into our living and working spaces. Today’s takeaway: never underestimate the power of the plant!