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of a healthy home
As winter bites, most of us choose to
vicinity by their polarising and moisture
Houseplants and toxins
wrap the house up tight, with the
regulation of the ambient atmosphere.
Of course, efficient ventilation will naturally remove a fair chunk of these
heating on full blast and the windows closed to the cold gusts. But while we
Back in the 1980s, a two-year study led
detrimental agents from your home, but
might be protected from the elements,
by NASA and the Associated
during winter we often carefully seal
we might also be doing more harm
Landscape Contractors of America
these vapours inside. Which is why
(ALCA) confirmed that many
investing in the right houseplant or two
houseplants had the ability to remove
can make all the difference.
Indoor air quality is a major factor in
harmful elements such as
optimum health. Poorly circulated, dry,
Different species of plants are more
unreplenished air can cause
trichloroethylene and other common
effective in removing particular toxins,
headaches, tired eyes, sore throats,
pollutants from the air.
so we can be specific and target plants to the environmental conditions of each
block nasal passages, cause
in his third article for sláinte, awardwinning horticulturist Fiann Ó nualláin explains how the right houseplants can improve your health this Winter.
irritability and a whole host of
the pollutants in your home
room, or we can have a balance of
symptoms more flu-like than the flu we
The common pollutants that
houseplants throughout the house,
were trying to avoid by closing the
houseplants eliminate are a factor of
replenishing and circulating clean air
windows and blasting the central
modern living, and every home has
everywhere, rather than just the living
heating in the first place.
them to varying degrees: ammonia,
space or home office.
nature’s solution Simple, everyday houseplants that are available everywhere – from your local supermarket to your nearest garden centre and DIY store – can
the common pollutants that houseplants eliminate are a factor of modern living, and every home has them
radically improve your air quality and personal health. from some cleaning products;
The plants that do the business with
Plants like the ubiquitous Spider plant
formaldehyde, from upholstery and
toxic filtration are readily available in
(Chlorophytum comosum), the neglect-
synthetic fibre carpets;
local garden centres and even some
tolerant Snake plant (Sansevieria
trichloroethylene, from some cleaning
trifasciata), the elegant Reed palm
products, printers and photocopiers;
(Chamaedorea sefritzii), the statement-
and xylene from paints and adhesives.
making Philodendron species, trendy
All of these elements are listed as
Dracaenas (D. deremensis, marginata
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
or fragrans), right through to the home
and are considered contributors to
décor staples of Figs (Ficus spp) and
respiratory illness, fatigue, insomnia,
Peace lilies (Spathiphyllum spp) – all
cancer, mood imbalance and more.
and Gerbera daisies will help eliminate excess benzene;
Areca palms, Orchids and Date palms remove xylene and toluene;
have attributes that contribute to a healthier home environment.
These VOCs slowly release from furnishings and products within your
It is a known, scientific fact that plants
home, and whether they gradually
remove carbon dioxide from the air and
build-up over time or just dissipate
replace it with oxygen, which obviously
away, contact with them is detrimental
Indoor Azalea and the attractive Peacock plant extract ammonia; the Boston fern, Peace lily and
makes the air better for us to breathe.
to your health. Even short-term
But houseplants do much more than a
exposure can create health risks such
simple swap of gases during
as rapid heart rate, headaches,
effective at eliminating
photosynthesis: they also remove
dizziness, confusion, drowsiness,
toxins and energise people in their
vomiting, and convulsions.
Rubber plants are all very
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Page 50 Sláinte Magazine - General Health
Fiann Ó nualláin is an awardApart from helping to remove toxins and increase
winning garden designer,
oxygen, remember that leaves also catch dust and
outreach horticulturist and
airborne particles, generally lessening the opportunity for allergic reactions. They also secrete
ethnobotanist. He has worked
phytochemicals from leaves and stems that can
with many health agencies to
destroy harmful micro organisms. What’s more, plants have the opposite polarity to static electricity,
create gardens for optimum
and so are a very positive effect on electric charges
health. You can get more
that sap our energy and concentration levels.
information from Fiann’s website
Houseplants and dry air
Plants absorb excess moisture from the air or release moisture into drier air as part of their natural
Feel great &
t h g i e w e s o L
living processes (transpiration). Keeping the moisture balance of household air during winter is crucial to felling energetic and well. Greenery also has a psychological benefit in stabilising mood, enabling calmness and improving concentration. The subtle foliage and floral fragrances trigger deeper breathing, balancing your mood and inducing
4lbs and “I have lost 3st ”, I feel fabulous! ember Fiona Foran, M
relaxation, all of which will help you have better-quality sleep, while during your waking hours, anxiety is decreased and you will tend to feel more positive mentally and have a sense of well-being. Plants are not just for decoration, they are a vital part of a well-balanced, functioning home environment. Few of the expensively installed systems in your home can match the list of positives that apply to plants – less static, dust and allergens, more oxygen, more efficient heat and moisture regulation, lower bills, higher concentration, better mood, the knowledge of a safer home and a healthier self.
It’s hard to think of a more positive step you can take to help yourself – and everyone who enters your home. And now’s the time to spread the good news – houseplants make great gifts!
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