Top 10 Plants to Reduce Stress, and Eliminate Toxins

Posted on March 3, 2011 at 9:12 AM
Top 10 Plants to Reduce Stress, and Eliminate Toxins
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans spend up to 90% of their time indoors.  With today’s modern, energy efficient office buildings, the sealed air inside can contain 10 times more pollution than the air outside due to toxic emissions from building constituents, airborne mold, viruses, and other pollutants. 
Improved indoor air quality can directly contribute to good health, improved productivity and ability to sustain living a sustainable lifestyle. Some of the most common culprits are listed here...
•    Carbon Monoxide
•    Nitrogen Dioxide
•    Respirable Particles 
•    Household Chemicals
•    Pesticides
•    Formaldehyde
•    Dust Mites
•    Mold

A sustainable solution for improved indoor air quality is plants.  Plants naturally clean your air of toxins and chemicals, reduce stress, and improve your overall well-being.  They also increase eco awareness in your environment.   In fact, NASA research has consistently shown that living, green and flowering plants can remove several toxic chemicals from the air in building interiors.   
As a professional consultant, I suggest that one plant should be allowed for approximately 10 square yards of floor space, assuming average ceiling heights of 8 to 9 feet. This means that you need two or three plants to contribute to good air quality in the average domestic living room of about 20 to 25 square yards.  

My  sustainability consulting practice advises small businesses and individuals of the importance of managing indoor environment.   Following are the best plants to reduce stress, fight colds, and reduce toxins in your environment.  
Plants to Fight Stress
  • Chinese Evergreen - In one study from Washington State University, people in a room of plants including this Chinese Evergreen had a 4-point drop in their systolic blood pressure after taking a stressful test, compared with only a 2-point drop in a group that had no exposure to plants.
  • Arrowhead Vine - In one study, the Arrowhead Vine helped induce a 4-point drop in systolic blood pressure among stressed-out test subjects.
Plants to Fight Colds
  • English Ivy
  • Small openings on the underside of a plant's leaves release moisture into the air, boosting humidity to alleviate cold symptoms. Because of English Ivy's high volume of leaves, horticulturists recommend it as one of the most effective cold-fighting plants.
  •  Heart-Leaf Philodendron - In one study from the Agricultural University of Norway, people with office plants including the Heart-Leaf Philodendron reported 37% less coughing and 25% less hoarseness after 3 months than when they left their offices plant-free.
  • Fragrant Dracaena - This Fragrant Dracaena variety reduced workers' sore throat symptoms and helped cut complaints of fatigue by 30%, in a Norwegian study.
  • Peace Lily - Peace Lilies paired with a few other plants, including the heart-leaf philodendron, can boost a room's humidity by up to 5%, finds a study from the Bavarian State Institute of Viticulture and Horticulture. In the dry winter months, this small increase is enough to relieve dry throats and noses.
  • African Violet - An African Violet works well with other plants to add moisture to the air and kick cold symptoms.
Plants to Cut Toxins
  • Janet Craig - When plants take in oxygen and carbon dioxide, they also pull in VOCs, toxins that are released by cleaning supplies, printers, and other household items. Three Janet Craigs cut VOCs in a 130-square-foot room by up to 70%, finds research from the University of Technology in Australia.
  • Sweet Chico - Six Sweet Chicos, a smaller table-size peace lily, have the same toxin-reducing effect as floor-standing Janet Craig plants, according to Australian research. 
  • Kentia Palm -The Kentia Palm breathes in toxins effectively, cutting VOC levels--toxins that are released by cleaning supplies, printers, and other household items--from a home, according to a study from the University of Technology.
The natural inborn ability of live plants to clean the air means that live plants are a sustainable solution for improved indoor air quality.

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