Keeping indoor plants – be they flowers, succulents, or herbs – is a great way to decorate your home. Indoor gardening also has surprising health-and-wellness benefits that can make your home or office a healthier and happier place. When you keep plants inside, you enjoy four life-enhancing results: cleaner air, a healthier body, access to natural medicine, and an improved mental state.
Plants breathe, just like humans, but when plants exhale, they release oxygen instead of carbon dioxide. By keeping plants inside, you are supplying your home with fresh air. Boston ferns, baby rubber plants, and aloe vera are three examples of very powerful air purifiers; they remove up to 87% of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) from the air in one day. VOCs are extremely common in homes, and include formaldehyde (found in rugs, grocery bags, and cigarette smoke) and benzene (found in paper). Indoor plants will pull these toxins from the air, purifying your home.
If you do get sick or suffer from an injury like a burn or cut, keeping an indoor garden can provide you with natural medicines. As an example, the aloe plant (which is very easy to care for) can be used to treat skin allergies and rashes, as well as cuts and burns. You can even drink a little aloe vera juice to settle an upset stomach and to treat constipation. By keeping a plant like aloe, you are cultivating a sustainable, natural medicine that has multiple purposes and none of the side effects of over-the-counter drugs.
The mere presence of plants can keep you healthy and prevent disease. Multiple studies on indoor plants in hospitals has confirmed that plants can speed up recovery in surgery patients. When patients have plants in their rooms, they require less medication, have lower blood pressure, and are even released earlier than patients who didn’t have plants. Similar studies have shown that indoor plants in a work setting is also extremely beneficial for the health of workers. People who keep plants in their offices get sick less often and have more energy.
The last benefit indoor gardening offers is mental wellness. Millions of people around the world suffer from mental conditions like depression, anxiety, and ADHD. Cultivating an indoor garden has been shown to not only improve concentration in an office setting, but it can promote feelings of happiness and purpose in those with depression. This is especially true during the dark winter months when Seasonal Affective Disorder takes over. While an outdoor garden dies during the winter, an indoor garden can continue to thrive, and continue to offer mental stimulation and beauty.