Did you have a new year resolution to improve your health? Lots of us do. Here's the good news: plants can help you! Yes, you would expect a gardener to say that, but read on to find out a little about plants for health at home and work!
I am not referring to the value of herbal medicines, 'folk’ or traditional remedies or the use of plants in 'conventional' medicine, although it is fascinating to learn about the health benefits of qualities in different plants. (Interested? find out more from the British Medicinal Plants Appeal and its work to support and use research into the health giving uses of native British plants.)
No, I mean that at home and in your workplace, plants around you can improve your health. Easy!
Don’t believe me? Read on, then create and enjoy a healthier home and workplace.
Research shows plants improve health
According to lots of studies (summarised in a great booklet produced by the organisation 'Plants4Life') plants improve health in our homes and workplaces because they can help:
- prevent illness
- recovery from illness
- raise our mood and cheer us up
- reduce stress and anxiety
- protect health
- improve indoor air quality (did you know it can often be worse than outdoor air quality?)
- improve concentration (amazing! Why aren’t schools filled with them?)
- increase productivity (I need more plants on my desk NOW)
- reduce ‘sick building syndrome’, and reduce sick leave.
Green plants improve health
In their list of ‘50 plants that clean the air’ Ourhouseplants.com highlight a host of lovely green and luscious plants, perfect for work places and home. Many are old friends of mine, and perhaps yours? Did you have a weeping fig (Ficus benjamina)? And you must have (or have had) a spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)? Bring them back into your life! These are plants for health. Add a trusty ivy (Hedera helix), the calming presence of a Peace Lily and your green oasis is nearly done!
Colourful plants improve health too
In the dark days of January green may not be all you want around you. Colour helps lift our mood and many flowering plants help clean the air too. Indoor flowering plants often may not flower again and again, but even for a short time their boost is worth it. Why not plan a regular flowering treat at home or work with a series of seasonal flowering plants? Enjoy winter flowering bulbs, reliable and low priced pot chrysanthemums, the superbly cheerful flowers of gerbera. And moth orchids (Phalaenopsis spp.), the wonderful gift we love to receive, are good for you too!
How many plants improve health in my office?
According to studies summarised by the organisation 'Plants4Life' the ideal number of plants is:
- one large plant for every two people or every 12 square metres of indoor space (that is about the size of an average sitting room) and
- one plant at each 'work station', the place where a person spends most of their working day.
Of course not every workplace can be a home to plants: health and safety prevents plants in kitchens and food serving areas. But rest rooms, reception areas, halls, corridors and toilet areas are good places for plants that improve health.
And what's stopping you at home?
Choosing plants for health
The Daily Telegraph is one of many sources of information about the ‘best’ indoor plants to buy that includes plants that will appeal and suit a wide range of settings. Many are low cost and most are easy to care for, so go shopping and try different plants for health all year.
Here's to a healthy new year !
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