Beneficial Effects of Houseplants

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Houseplants can be very beneficial in our lives. Natural houseplants serve great lively decoration at homes. They promote pleasant atmosphere in every indoor spaces of homes or offices. They purify and renew our stale indoor air by filtering out toxins, p

BENEFICIAL EFFECTS OF HOUSEPLANTS

At the first glance, indoor plants are exquisite decors and lovely to look at. Greens and flowery plants make living rooms, offices or any space lively and even romantic. But more than to the misty eye, houseplants can be very beneficial in our lives. They can purify and renew our dusty indoor air by filtering out pollutants and the carbon dioxide we exhale replacing them with life sustaining oxygen.

Since its summertime of the year, the heat, allergies and the promise of air-conditioning drives people to stay indoors. But for others who take the heat, spending time in the parks and gardens with plenty of trees might have a surprising effect in their health and immune system.

Succulents or water-retaining plants, such as this Jelly Bean Plant (Sedum rubrotinctum) are often grown as houseplants

Image Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e6/Sedum_rubrotinctum.jpg/700px-Sedum_rubrotinctum.jpg  

Studies made by the Department of Hygiene and Public Health, Nippon Medical School in Tokyo, Japan reported that exposure to forest environment enhanced “natural defender” cell activity. The number of natural defender or natural killer cells and intracellular anti-cancer proteins in lymphocytes activity lasted for more than one week after trips to forest both in male and female subjects.

The team from the Nippon Medical School reported that the popular practice of shiorin-yuko or forest bathing can enhance the natural killer activity and expression of anti-cancer proteins. Twelve male participants aged 37 to 55 years were selected from large companies on Tokyo. The participants were allowed a two to three night trips in different forest field. On day one, participants walked for two hours in the afternoon in a forest field: on day two, they walked for two hours in the morning and afternoon, respectively on different forest fields. The forest bathing trip significantly increased the number of natural killer cells, perforin [1], granulysin [2], granzymes [3] A/B expressing cells. Taken together in summary, these findings indicate that a forest bathing trip can increase natural killer activity, increase its number, raise levels of white-blood cells and by the induction of intracellular anti-cancer proteins. This was also confirmed in a former observation in 2007, in which men who took hours of walk in a forest over two days had a 50 percent rise in levels of natural healing cells.

Yucca Gloriosa

Image Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d0/Yucca_gloriosa_in_clay_pot.jpg/450px-Yucca_gloriosa_in_clay_pot.jpg

Scientists run up to phytoncides – the airborne chemical that plants emit to protect leaves from getting brown, drying and rotting and against harmful insects. This air borne elements seems to benefit humans. Another study found that an increase in white blood cells that lasted a week in women exposed to phytoncides in forest environment.

 A variegated cultivar of Sansevieria trifasciata (namely 'Laurentii'), a common houseplant

Image Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/91/Snake_plant.jpg/450px-Snake_plant.jpg

Houseplants promote our indoor spaces a pleasant mood not only by converting carbon dioxide to oxygen but also by absorbing various pollutants. The indoor environment breathes chemicals that are equally dangerous when compared to external pollutants like smog. The paints, adhesives, carpets, insulation and building materials at homes or offices emit volatile chemicals. These chemical pollutants that are released into the air are called ‘off-gassing.’ NASA discovered more than 300 organic compounds in its space shuttle, in an endeavor to conquer space, testing common indoor plants for their capacity to purify indoor air.

Image Source: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-B5amhjUiGms/TWY4q8T3LkI/AAAAAAAAC0s/XszJL5e5eF8/s1600/indoor-plants.jpg

Bottom Line

According to such studies above, is that exposure to plants and trees benefits one’s health. House plants or indoor plants absorb these air-borne chemicals emitted by synthetic materials such as paints, tiles, plastics, aerosol sprays and even electronic devices. Plants exhale life-saving element oxygen, thus refreshing the environment and purifying the air. Some scientists also recommend oxygen therapy for cancer and other ailments. Keeping houseplants or indoor plants are pleasant décor and has beneficial effects on our health.

Note: Many of our most popular indoor plants came from tropical climates where also the highest percentage of poisonous plants resides. I am looking forward to write about poisonous house plants in the near future.

Sources:

[1] Perforin is a cytolytic intermediary produced by natural killer lymphocytes. It is stored and released by cytoplasmic granules. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7734048

[2] Granulysin is a cytolytic peptide contained in the cytotoxic granules of natural killer cells, playing the role of an immune adjuvant. http://bloodjournal.hematologylibrary.org/content/116/18/3379.abstract

[3] Granzymes are crystalline amino acid released by cytoplasmic granules within cytotoxic T-cells and natural killer cells. Their purpose is to induce apoptosis within virus-infected cells, thus eliminating them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Granzyme

Primary Image Source: http://www.networlddirectory.com/images/blogs/9-2008/indoor-plant-sale-medley.jpg

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