Most people are surprised to learn that the air inside our homes and workplaces is often more polluted with damaging chemicals than outside. Especially in winter with our windows and doors closed, there is less fresh air flow through our homes, trapping toxic air inside and harming our health.
Off-gassing chemicals into our indoor air can occur from furniture, cleaning products, building materials, carpet, electronics and toys for many years. These chemicals can add another toxic burden to our already taxed systems and contribute directly to symptoms such as respiratory system issues, anxiety, fatigue, dizziness and headaches.
Studies show that certain tropical plants, commonly used as houseplants, are quite effective in removing many pollutants from the air and replacing them with breathable oxygen. Using the plants listed below, you can transform your toxic indoor air to clean air that can support your health. I choose these plants in our clinics and at home to detoxify our spaces and I encourage you to look at this as another way to improve your health.
Watch this video for my Top 4 or keep reading for more info...
The top 10 plants to detox your indoor air:
- Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
Found to be one of the most effective plants for filtering the air of toxins.
Filters: formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, xylene & toluene, carbon monoxide, acetone.
- Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’)|
Filters: formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, xylene & toluene
- Chinese Evergeen (Aglaonema modestum)
Filters: formaldehyde, benzene
- Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea sefritzii)
Filters: benzene, trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, xylene & toluene
- English Ivy (Hedera helix)
Filters: formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, xylene & toluene, airborne particles of fecal matter
- Devil’s Ivy (Pothos plant (Epipremnum aureum))
Filters: formaldehyde, benzene, xylene & toluene
- Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
Filters: formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene & toluene
- Janet Craig (Dracaena deremensis)
Filters: trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, xylene & toluene
- Aloe Vera (Aloe Vera)
Filters: benzene, formaldehyde
- Gerbera Daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
Filters: formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, benzene
Other benefits of indoor plants can bring
Studies show that indoor plants can:
- Increase concentration
- Reduce tension and anxiety
- Improve mood and increase happiness
- Boost attention and productivity
- Lower stress levels
- Reduce sick leave and enhance workplace satisfaction
- Reduce sound levels
Toxic sources, symptoms and best plants to detox them
If someone shows or suspects an overload of a particular toxin, use this list to find the best plants to reduce that particular toxin from the air. This list can also be used as a guide as to which plants are best in which room or office depending on what kinds of toxins are more likely to be released within that particular room.
Table 1: The top 5 chemicals tested in the NASA study, where they may be found in our homes, the symptoms of exposure and the plants that were found to detoxify them from indoor air. *Grown on an activated carbon filter system. Activated carbon is available for potted plants.
Other tips for improving air quality with plants:
- Allow fresh air to move through living and work spaces. This will improve the efficacy of the plant removing toxins.
- Use plants that have not been heavily sprayed with pesticides, herbicides etc.
- Take care with your choice of soil, as above, minimise soil heavy in pesticides etc.
- Use ceramic pots rather than plastic
- Keep the plants from developing mould by watering appropriately
- Dust the leaves regularly to keep the space dust free
If you would like to clean up your air to reduce the toxin exposure in your home or office, get hold of some of these plants. Most of them are very forgiving, so even those of us without a green thumb can easily maintain these indoor plants with minimal effort.
I've prepared a handy reference guide on this information, which you can download below. It includes benefits of having indoor plants in your home or office, toxins to be aware of and their sources, which plants to choose and how to maximise their capacity to detox your air.
Written by Dr. Jess Harvey B.Sc. (Anat, Phys), B.Ap.Sci (Comp. Med.), Ma Osteo., Registered Osteopath and Director of Head 2 Toe Health.
We provide Osteopathy, Acupuncture, Massage, Life Coaching and Counselling in Springwood (Brisbane) and Oxenford (Gold Coast). "We aim to get you as well as possible, as fast as possible, permanently." We believe in a thorough approach to restoring and maintaining health and address many aspects of our lifestyles that can contribute to pain, stiffness, dis-ease and disease. For any further information, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07) 3208 8308.
This information is intended as a general guide only and is not specific for any particular condition or situation. This information is for educational purposes only. Please seek specific advice for your individual circumstances.