The therapist in your pot plant

Potted indoor plants are making a comeback and it isn’t only because more Aussies are living in apartments, deprived of their own outdoor gardens. Health-conscious Aussies are increasingly turning to Mother Nature for ways to stay fighting fit, and that is where the humble pot plant comes in.

Numerous studies have found that indoor gardens can purify the air in enclosed rooms. Many also have aromas to help us become more relaxed or even energised. And the bonus is that over the long run, caring for pot plants is much cheaper than investing in essential oils or vitamins.

A plant’s ability to turn carbon dioxide into oxygen during the day helps to keep a room’s ambient air fresh. There are some plants that can also pump out oxygen at night.

If you want to wake up more refreshed, why not keep one of these stale-air fighters in your bedroom. According to the Nurserylive website, plants that purify the air include: Areca Palm, Snake Plant, Aloe Vera, Gerbera, Christmas Cactus and Orchids.

If you live near a major road or industrial park, or have recently renovated, it may not be only carbon dioxide that bothers you. In the 80s, the US space agency, NASA, conducted experiments using plants to see how they performed at extracting other common chemicals that add to air pollution.

The chemicals were formaldehyde, which is used in building materials; benzene, which is in car exhaust fumes; and trichloroethylene, used in degreasers and refrigerant gases. In other words, substances that are prolific in our built environment. The findings were stunning, and the best performing plants were common favourites: Dracaena Massangeana or the Happy Plant, Chrysanthemum, Gerbera, Weeping Fig and Striped Dracaena.

Depending on the plant, between 47 and 70 per cent of formaldehyde was removed from the test space, compared with the ‘leak’ used as a control. For benzene, the extraction was between 21.4 and 67.7 per cent, compared to just 5 per cent for the leak. For the trichloroethylene, the extraction range was between 10 and 41 per cent, and 10 per cent for the leak.

In addition to wanting the freshest indoor air to breathe, we also need to relax and improve our wellbeing when we are at home. Rather than popping pills, consider these ornamental plants for your home that self-styled alternative medicine David ‘Avocado’ Wolfe recommends for their therapeutic qualities:

  • jasmine helps to promote sleep quality
  • lavender reduces anxiety and stress
  • English ivy gets rid of airborne mould
  • snake plant prevents headaches
  • rosemary improves memory. 


Do you have indoor plants? Are you aware of any other plants that are good for your health?

Related articles:
Gardening on a budget
Make your garden thrive
How to grow turmeric

YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.
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