We've known this for years, but now new research proves indoor plants can drastically reduce levels of stress and ill health and boost concentration because they soak up harmful indoor air pollution.
Horticulture expert Dr. Stanley Kays, the lead researcher at University of Georgia, says some indoor plants remove harmful VOCs from indoor air. He identified five "super ornamental plants" that every workplace should have to clean up indoor air. They include English ivy, waxy-leaved plants and ferns.
The study says that simply introducing common houseplants into your home has the potential to significantly improve the quality of indoor air. The grassroots campaign, O2 for You, gives a great overview of the health benefits of indoor plants.
According to a World Health Organization report in 2002, harmful indoor pollutants represent a serious health problem that is responsible for more than 1.6 million deaths each year.
Indoor air is up to 12 times more polluted than outdoor air in some areas, with air quality affected by chemicals from paints, varnishes, adhesives, furnishings, clothing, solvents, building materials and even tap water. These produce volatile organic compounds that have been shown to cause illnesses in people who are exposed to the compounds in indoor spaces.
Kays, writing in the journal HortScience, said: "The VOCs tested can adversely affect indoor air quality and have a potential to seriously compromise the health of exposed individuals."