Let the Plants Grow, Indoors

Indoor plants reportedly have host of health, mood benefits

By Katie Coleman

It’s reported that more than 85% of a person’s daily life is spent indoors, so the environment you create can have a significant impact on your mood and health.

In addition to the beauty added to your home, interacting with indoor plants can improve mood, concentration and physical health due to plants’ purifying and humidifying benefits.

Studies show that active interaction with indoor plants can reduce physiological and psychological stress with suppression of the nervous system and diastolic blood pressure, as well as increased wellbeing and sense of comfort.

One of these studies, published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology states, “Interaction with indoor plants may reduce psychological and physiological stress by suppressing autonomic nervous system activity in young adults.”

A crossover study tracked the heart rate and blood pressure of 24 young male adults that were split into two groups: one whoworked on a computer task, and the other that transplanted a plant indoors. Then, each subject switched activities.

The study concluded that plants relieve physiological stress and negative psychological symptoms, and contact with plants can help counteract an overactive sympathetic nervous system as a result of stressful situations like working on a computer task.

When subjects did the computer task, their overall sympathetic nervous system activity increased over time, and while they transplanted a plant, it decreased. The study concluded that the diastolic blood pressure was significantly lower after the transplanting task, as well as promotion of comfortable, natural and soothing feelings.

Lexi Katz, 26, is a caregiver and certified reiki practitioner whose plants bring her much joy and healthy energy to her home. Located in Buffalo, Katz has about 60 houseplants throughout her home, which was built in 1901 and is on the second floor of a corner store. Natural light streams through the windows much to her plants’ happiness.

Energy source

According to Katz, her abundance of houseplants provides her with energetic and emotional support and creates a healthier, more grounding space to live and heal in.

“Having houseplants is that reminder for me to take time. To remember that care is a necessary aspect of all elements of life. We can get caught up in the daily routines we cling to but nature provides us with a way to view our own needs. Plants can be shared with a trimming you take, maybe from a plant you’ve had for years, and gift it to a friend. Plants can be passed on through generations,” Katz said.

From the street view, her windows are adorned with different species of plants hanging from the ceiling or grouped together on shelves: species like cacti, ferns, air plants, orchids and peace lilies. As you walk throughout the apartment, there are happy, healthy plants in every room, filling corners, windowsills, bookshelves and hanging from the ceiling.

Many of Katz’s plants have come from local greenhouses or on store clearance.

“Certain plants clean the air around us, help with sleep and can be utilized medicinally, such as aloe which I have in almost every room of my house,” Katz said. “Plants provide the space in your home with the life-giving force of nature and energy to optimize your personal health and the harmony of your home.”

Some recommended indoor plants for their air-purifying capabilities are spider plants, safe for animals and children; English Ivy, which can be grown in shade to full sun; bamboo palm and peace lilies.

Japanese medicine coined the term Shinrin-yoku for the preventive health and healing of walking or spending time in the forest, also known as “forest bathing.” This represents their firm belief in the forest’s ability to heal, keep someone healthy and prevent aging or disease.

If you can get outside for a walk or hike, that’s even better, but the host of benefits that have been reported from indoor plant interaction are a great alternative, especially during the colder months of the year.

Photo: Lexi Katz’s apartment in Buffalo. She has about 60 houseplants throughout her home. “Having houseplants is that reminder for me to take time. To remember that care is a necessary aspect of all elements of life,” she says.