HousePlants with Benefits
Growing and caring for indoor plants gives many a sense of pleasure, tranquility and peace. It connects us to mother nature in a desperate attempt to escape the chaos that we call life, but not only do plants calm our souls, they also bring us good health. This article will focus on specific plants that will enhance your home's environment while improving the quality of your life. Enjoy!
You're probably wondering why plants should be a part of a healthy lifestyle. The number one reason plants are good for the home is simple, they improve the quality of the air you breath.
The air we breath dictates the quality of life. It's just like the food we consume, if all you eat is junk food, it will reflect on your health with conditions such as obesity and heart disease. If the air you're breathing is full of junk, you will suffer the consequences in the form of asthma, allergies, and bronchitis to name a few. According to EPA, indoor air is often more polluted than outdoor air.
For the most part, it's not your fault. Today's homes are built to be more efficient, which means better insulation, better windows, better everything. We've created a tight little capsule that has no leaks. This is good in terms of saving energy and doing your part in the green movement, but it has no health value if you're not green on the inside. Ok, I've rambled enough, let's learn our plants!
Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
The spider plant is a popular, common household plant native to South Africa. It's distinctive growing pattern will amuse the young and old alike and is a perfect addition to any home. It is very easy to grow and maintain. The health benefits associated with the spider plant, is it's ability to absorb carbon monoxide.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless toxic gas. Although helpful in moderation in the earth's atmosphere, it can be lethal to humans. Being exposed to carbon monoxide leads to a variety of symptoms that include headache, nausea, weakness, exhaustion, dizziness, confusion and angina.
The accumulation of Carbon monoxide in the air you breath is usually caused by poor ventilation, lack of maintenance and improper installation of appliances serviced with gas, oil, coal and wood such as:
- Oil and Gas furnaces
- Gas water heaters
- Gas ranges and ovens
- Gas dryers
- Gas or Kerosene space heaters
To avoid becoming sick from carbon monoxide poisoning, make sure your appliances are well maintained, buy a carbon detector and grace your home with fun loving spider plant.
This humidity lover is a native to the rainy forests of the West Indies. Back in the good old days, ferns adorned just about every house on the block until it's decline, but recent shifts in trends, (particularly the eco trend) has reintroduced this variety into the home and with good reason. That reason is formaldehyde.
The Oversight Committee holds a hearing, "FEMA's Response to Reports of Toxic Trailers."
Formaldehyde is a chemical compound used to embalm and is released form various furnishings found in the home such as:
- synthetic carpets
- Particle board
- Foam insulation
- Air fresheners
- Cigarette smoke
- Grocery bags
- Waxed paper
When formaldehyde is present in the home, it can cause a variety of symptoms like burning sensations in the eyes, nose and throat, nausea, coughing and skin rashes.
Having a Boston Fern in your home is a healthy start to eliminating formaldehyde from the air you breath. Equally important, buying furnishings made from natural sources such as bamboo, hemp and organic cotton will also help clean the air.
I had one of these in my home just a few years back, but it was synthetic. Big mistake. The only thing this plant ever brought me was dust and allergies. However, if you get the real deal, you'll be blessed with a light, feathery friend that will brighten any room and clear the way to fresh air. This plant absorbs Xylene.
Xylene refers to a group of benzene derivatives which is used in a myriad of ways and is probably lurking in your home's atmosphere as you read this. It is commonly found in the following:
- Printing Industries
- Rubber Industries
- Leather Industries
- Cleaning agent for steel
- Silicone wafers and chips
- Paint thinner
- Airplane fuel
- Certain types of pens, writing and drawing equipment
- Bingo dabbers
- Art supplies
Xylene can have ill effects on the brain causing headaches, lack of muscle coordination, dizziness, and confusion. At higher levels it can cause irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, difficulty in breathing, lung problems, delayed reaction time, memory difficulty and stomach discomforts. At very high levels it can cause unconsciousness and even death.
What a list, isn't that crazy! No, that's downright scary. All I can say to that is get your Areca Palm today.
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention
This is the place to go and check for a wealth of information regarding chemicals.
- Health Canada
More information regarding formaldehyde which includes background, health effects, how to minimize the risks, how the toxin gets in the home and the Canadian Government's role in reducing exposure to the chemical.
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
This site offers information about carbon monoxide, what it is, steps to reduce exposure, health effects. levels in the home and and standards and regulations.