Look around your study area, room or office. Seeing green? Perhaps you should be. Indoor plants have a tremendous power to increase the health of the spaces you spend time in. Not only do plants have a soothing, pleasant quality to gaze at, they have been proven to boost moods and energy simply from the smell of the plant and, if it’s healthy, the soil the plant is in has the same effect—often reminding us of being outdoors in nature.
Keeping indoor plants reduces carbon dioxide levels, increases humidity, lowers air temperature and keeps airborne dust levels to a minimum. These benefits alone help improve sleep quality, workplace productivity and overall health. It’s even proven that adding plants to hospital rooms speeds the recovery rates of surgical patients, allowing for less anxiety, lower heart rates and blood pressure and better quality room oxygen.
In office settings, multiple studies demonstrate that workplaces with indoor plants results in a measurable decrease in fatigue, colds, headaches, coughs, sore throats and flu-like symptoms. In one particular study performed in Norway, sickness rates fell by 60% in offices with plants.
SCNM’s Dr. Patricia Gaines, head of the Department of Botanical Medicine and Nutrition, is an avid Master Gardener and enthusiastic professor focused on the healing properties of plants. She says, “Being in nature, as well as having nature around us provides many health benefits. Indoor plants help clean the air and reduce carbon dioxide levels, promoting a healthier workplace. Many common indoor plants actually detoxify harmful compounds from the air.”
She adds, “We spend so much time breathing indoor air, that improving air quality can be an important factor in our overall health. There’s no doubt that people feel better when plants are included in any living or work space.”
SCNM is located in Tempe, Arizona, where we have no shortage of cacti and succulent plants. Although all cacti are considered succulents, not all succulents are classified in the cactus family. No matter where you live, succulents and the cactus family are famous for being extremely low care, generally non-allergy producers and truly unique looking plants. They have a long life span, and many have multiple benefits beyond a typical house fern. The aloe plant, for example, is a succulent that is famous for its healing properties on the surface and the inside of our bodies, and is not only resilient, but free of those pesky cactus-type needles. Consider aloe or one of its many cousins—or really any indoor plant you feel happy around and add it to your life. Your mind and body will appreciate it!