Cleaner Household Air… the No-Work Way
Not too long ago, I wrote to you about a problem with indoor air. We’ve made our buildings so efficient, that they hold unhealthy gasses – such as carbon dioxide – in.
I also offered a few suggestions for improving the quality of the air in your home. And today, I’d like to offer one more. One your grandmother probably took for granted.
When I was growing up, practically everyone’s grandmother had houseplants. And it turns out our grandmothers were pretty smart. Because houseplants offer several benefits.
For one thing, plants can help solve any carbon dioxide problem.
We inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. That’s the main reason carbon dioxide builds up in our tightly wrapped modern homes.
Plants, however, do exactly the opposite. They take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. So a few houseplants can help keep the air in your house fresher.
Photosynthesis – the process that makes oxygen – shuts down without light. So most plants don’t give off oxygen at night. But orchids and succulents do. So these are great plants to keep in your bedrooms.
Houseplants can clear more than carbon dioxide from the air, too. They can also lower the levels of ozone. Ozone is a major component of air pollution. And that includes indoor pollution.
Ozone can make breathing more difficult, make your throat sore and your lungs ache. If you have lung trouble, ozone usually makes it worse. It can eventually lead to permanent scarring in your lungs.
In 2009, University of Pennsylvania scientists pumped artificially high levels of ozone into several sealed rooms. One room contained no plants. The scientists put three types of common houseplant in the others.
They measured air quality in the rooms every 5 – 6 minutes. They found the ozone levels in the rooms with plants dropped far faster.1
Finally, houseplants can even help remove toxins from the air.
Say, “Detox,” and most people think of nutritional supplements. But houseplants act as powerful detoxifiers of the air you breathe.
Many houses have high levels of chemicals called VOCs – volatile organic compounds. These chemicals can cause breathing trouble, rashes, headaches, fatigue… and even nervous system damage.
Levels in homes are so high because VOCs have many, many sources. Household carpeting and furniture give them off. So do cleaners, air fresheners, cosmetics and perfumes. And these are just a handful of sources.
Studies show that houseplants can lower VOC levels by 75% or more.2
Best of all, these studies didn’t involve exotic plants. The researchers chose common plants that require minimal care.
Snake plant, spider plant, and golden pothos were all effective at lowering ozone levels. Dragon tree and Janet Craig are especially good at clearing VOCs out of the air.
Yours in continued good health,
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
1 Papinchak, H.L., et, al, “Effectiveness of Houseplants in Reducing the Indoor Air Pollutant Ozone,” HortTechnology. Apr-Jun 2009; 19(2): 286-290.
2 Orwell, R.L., et al, “The Potted-Plant Microcosm Substantially Reduces Indoor Air VOC Pollution: II. Laboratory Study,” Water, Air, and Soil Pollution. Nov 2006; 177(1-4): 59-80.