You are certainly already aware of the nutritional benefits of fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
Fruits and vegetables that you grow yourself are free from pesticides or other chemicals, and retain much more flavor and nutritional benefit than those bought in the supermarket because they go straight from your garden onto your dinner plate. Fresh herbs from your own garden also not only taste better than the dried, store-bought variety, but also retain their health benefits. In addition, eating healthier also improves your mood.
Even decorative plants and flowers that you have grown yourself can be beneficial to your mood. Consider the joy that you can give to a loved one by presenting them with a bouquet of fresh flowers that you grew in your own garden. While there is no question that all of these benefits from plants and flowers can improve your mood, the reason why has been a mystery.
There has been some interesting recent research that is looking into exactly how plants, even those that are indoor plants, can improve health and well-being. Read further to see how you and your patients can “go green” from having some easy-care indoor plants.
Health benefits of indoor plants
A 2015 article in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology compared the physiological and psychological stress responses between transplanting an indoor plant and working on a computer task for a group of 24 young adult men.1 In looking at both sets of responses, the researchers found that the subjects felt more psychologically comfortable and soothed after the transplanting task than after the computer task. Furthermore, their physiologic stress responses, such as blood pressure, were lower following the transplanting task.1
The researchers concluded: “Our results suggest that active interaction with indoor plants can reduce physiological and psychological stress compared with mental work.”
A 2009 article in the journal HortTechnology looked at the potential benefit of plants for reducing the amount of ozone within indoor environments.2 The researchers looked at three species of common indoor plants – snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata), spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum), and golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum) – to determine how effective they were at removing ozone pollutants from indoor environments.
Ozone depletion rates were faster in the environments with plants than in those without, but there was no difference between the plant species in terms of depletion rates. The average depletion time ranged from 38 minutes to 120 minutes.2
Which are the best house plants?
So which plants will be the most beneficial for you to have in your office? A research project by NASA to determine ways to reduce pollutants within the sealed environments of spacecraft compiled a list of the 10 best house plants at reducing various pollutants that are often found within indoor environments.3
- English Ivy (Hedera helix)
- Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
- Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exalta bostoniensis)
- Dracaena (Dracaena deremensis)
- Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)
- Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata)
- Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
- Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa)
- Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
- Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)
NASA also looked for plants that required little maintenance and could easily thrive in indoor environments where there was not a great deal of sunlight.3
Where are the best places in your office to have plants for the most benefits? You should certainly have more than one plant in your lobby, to provide a welcoming atmosphere. One plant in each of your treatment rooms would also help calm nervous patients.
Consider hanging plants for these places, so as not to get in the way. Finally, both you and your staff will also benefit from plants in your work areas. Not only will you beautify your office space, but you and your patients will get all the health benefits of “going green” with indoor plants.
- Lee M, Lee J, Park B-J & Miyazaki Y. (2015). Interaction with indoor plants may reduce psychological and physiological stress by suppressing autonomic nervous system activity in young adults: a randomized crossover study. Journal of Physiological Anthropology, 34(1), 21.
- Papinchak HL, Holcomb EJ, Orendovici Best T, Decoteau DR (2009). Effectiveness of houseplants in reducing the indoor air pollutant ozone. HortTechnology, 19(2), 286-290.
- Claudio L. (2011). Planting healthier indoor air. Environmental Health Perspectives, 119(10), a426-a427.