That Boston Fern May Help You To Breathe Easier

how indoor plants help to clean the air in your home

As someone who practices meditation and yoga on a daily basis I am very aware of my breath. I know that breathing keeps me present and focused and fully able to participate in life. Sadhguru has said, ”Whichever way you breathe, that is the way you think. Whichever way you think, that is the way you breathe.”

What we breathe makes a difference

I also know that what we breathe affects our health and every day we breathe in smog, particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and toxic air pollutants and that’s just outside. Indoors we may be breathing in asbestos, bacteria and viruses, building and paint products, carbon monoxide, cleaning supplies and household chemicals, dust mites and dust, formaldehyde, lead, mold, radon, secondhand smoke and volatile organic compounds.

Poor quality air has been linked to a host of diseases including lung disease and cancers as well as short term health risks. That headache, dizziness or fatigue you are experiencing indoors could be the result of an indoor air pollutant.

For me it’s personal

For me it becomes personal. I suffer, as do 25 million Americans, from asthma and have for as long as I can remember. I have terrifying memories as a child of being awake all night, gasping for air and being held by my parents as they tried to calm me down. To this day asthma pops in like an uninvited dinner guest at the most inopportune moments, forcing me to never go anywhere without my inhaler in my pocket.

It’s one of the many reasons my mission in life is to help people understand how the environment affects our health and offer simple solutions to live with a green heart.

The spider plant is an easy and inexpensive solution

Air pollution and poor quality air in our homes and offices are all contributing to the problem but there are solutions. While many of them require community and government involvement to change what we’re allowing to be emitted into the atmosphere, there are also things we can do to help improve the quality of the air indoors. One of the easiest and certainly the least expensive is including houseplants in our decor.

According to a study conducted by NASA with the American Landscape Contractors of America in 1989, plants which naturally absorb gases through the process of photosynthesis when they convert light energy and carbon dioxide to fuel growth, were also found to absorb volative organic compounds. These are the gases that are emitted from ingredients in common household items like cleaning products, paints and cosmetics, all of which linger in your home or office and are up to ten times higher in concentration than outdoors!

The best houseplants for the job

The good news is that some of the best houseplants for the job are also the easiest to keep. Boston ferns, rubber plants and English ivy are all good choices as are peace lilies, Chinese evergreens, spider plants and golden pothos. Technically not a houseplant, florist’s chrysantemums also make the list.

“Nature’s life support system”

NASA has called houseplants “nature’s life support system.” While the addition of a red-edged dracaena in your living room won’t remove everything it does help and it is an easy first step towards breathing easier and more healthfully and to living with a green heart 💚.