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20 houseplants with health benefits

by Sarah Walker

If you’re looking to improve your well-being while also greening your space, it might be worth investing in some of these houseplants. They’re herbs, weeds, and flowers that are renowned for their health-boosting properties.

Areca palms

Researchers have found those who are surrounded by leafy greens (one possible example is an areca palm) are happier than those who aren’t. “Nature can provide relief from our daily need to complete tasks, providing us with something inherently fascinating that holds our attention without our having to work at it,” one study co-author Kirsten Beyer told Men’s Journal.

Money plants

NASA has done extensive research into how well plants clear toxins from the air, and the results are pretty startling. According to the organization’s researchers, certain greenery can remove up to 87 per cent of air toxins in a room within 24 hours. One of the top plants for making your breathing space healthier? This hardy vine.

Chinese evergreens

Researchers recently found that those who incorporate plentiful plants into their office space are 15 per cent more productive than those who don’t. “The findings suggest that investing in landscaping an office will pay off through an increase in office workers’ quality of life and productivity,” says study author and psychology professor at the University of Queensland Alex Haslam as reported by Time. One option is the Aglaonema.

Jasmine plants

Want to reduce your stress levels by up to 40 per cent? Get a houseplant! A lovely, compact option that can grow on a windowsill or in a low-light environment is jasmine. The beautifully scented petals will help soothe your senses day and night.


Because houseplants are so great at purifying the air, they make great accessories for those with asthma and allergies. Some of the best plants for clearing a home of sneeze-inducing substances include palms, like the lady palm and bamboo palm.

Spider plants

Air conditioners and furnaces are notorious for drying out the air, sapping the skin and body of much-needed and protective moisture. One study found spider plants can humidify a room, especially when grown near a window with sunlight.


Want to cure what ails your head quickly? It could be as simple as growing lavender in your kitchen! There is strong evidence the delightfully scented herb can treat headaches and migraines. One study from 2013 found that people reported feeling less pain after inhaling the plant’s scent for only 15 minutes.


Pulling long hours in front of a computer screen can lead to fatigue and malaise. One way to cope is to add some colourful plants like marigolds (a.k.a. calendulas) to your space. The move will boost your mood and give your overtired eyes something pretty to look at.

Wild lettuce

In 2008 and 2009, researchers undertook a study to figure out whether being surrounded by plants in a hospital could help improve pain. Turns out, they can! People near plants report significantly fewer intakes of painkillers after an injury or surgery as well as less intense feelings of pain, anxiety, and fatigue. One piece of greenery that’s renowned for its pain-relieving properties? Lettuce!

Aloe vera

Feeling the burn? Reach for this common houseplant! Aloe vera is renowned for its ability to heal cuts, scrapes, and burns, and can cut recovery time from injuries by several days. It is made up of 20 minerals, 20 amino acids, vitamins, and water — all elements that can soothe the skin.


There is a simple solution to soothe sore muscles: grow some chamomile then make a tea out of its petals! The plant contains 36 flavonoids, which are compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties, and has a sweet, subtle scent that can also relax. As a fairly adaptable plant, it’s something even the greenest of green thumbs can grow indoors.


You wouldn’t think growing a plant could help you deal with colds and flus, but that’s exactly what greenery like eucalyptus is good for. The would-be gum tree can be grown in containers, with the leaves leveraged to create an oil that can treat sinus infections and soothe sore throats.


A surefire way to improve digestion and prevent bloating and gas is to steep a few clippings from a patch of mint in hot water. One study found sipping the herbal tea can improve irritable bowel syndrome symptoms by 40 per cent.

Gerbera daisies

Plants are renowned for clearing carbon dioxide and formaldehyde from a room’s air while refreshing it with an extra dose of filtered oxygen. The colourfully petalled gerbera daisy is one of the most effective at accomplishing the task. They thrive in areas of low and high sunlight, making them an excellent plant to cultivate in just about any room.


Because of research looking into the healing power of flowers, some now believe bouquets of blooms are complementary medicine for anyone recovering from a surgery or injury. Looking at a plant with petals can also improve anxiety. An easy-to-grow-at-home option is an orchid. With a little bit of love and the right conditions, the plant can bloom flowers that last years.


If you’re looking to kick stress to the curb, potting some ashwagandha may be a simple solution. Like other houseplants, its appearance can help soothe a stressed-out mind, but uniquely, its leaves can be turned into a tea that can reduce the cortisol levels in one’s body. One study even found that participants supplementing with the herb experienced a 30 per cent reduction in stress.


There is a lot to love about this herb which can easily be grown in the kitchen. One top reason is to reduce the oxidative load in your body. Basil is packed with antioxidants and a compound called eugenol that helps fight free radicals that can lead to cell damage, increasing a person’s risk for everything from heart disease to cancer.

English ivy

Mould is a common concern for just about any homeowner. It can breed in dry, damp corners and contaminate the air with spores that contribute to allergies and sinus problems. The solution to cutting the pest out of your life could be English ivy. One study found it has anti-allergenic effects, while another showed it can reduce and stave off mould problems.

Peace lily

Did you know that alcohol and acetone give off harmful vapours that negatively impact health? It’s true! Luckily, this plant can help prevent overexposure. Its leaves absorb acetone vapours leached out from products, keeping the air clean and clear of contaminants.

Common purslane

Often thought of as a weed, this common plant can do wonders for your health. Edible, it’s jam-packed with omega-3 fatty acids, making it an excellent antioxidant. Common purslane is also a great plant to grow indoors for newbie green thumbs because it’s not super picky about its habitat.



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