The Benefits of Plants 

The hidden secrets of indoor plants

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Indoor plants have the ability to soften high levels of most airborne contaminants.

nside buildings, a large range of indoor-sourced pollutants augments the air.

Two of the most significant of these are volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbon dioxide.

Volatile organic compounds are petrochemical vapours that are “out-gassed” or continuously liberated from building materials, such as paint and carpet, as well as furnishings, plastics and electronic equipment. In high concentrations, many of these agents are acutely toxic and carcino-genic. Some even disrupt the endocrine systems of animals.

Up to 900 different compounds have been detected in some buildings.

The most commonly found ones include benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and xylene.

While the concentration of volatile organic compounds in modern buildings is generally quite low, there is growing evidence that continued chronic exposure to even low levels of these chemicals may result in the condition know as sick building syndrome.


Sick Building Syndrome (SBS), a phenomenon where the health of occupants deteriorates based on how much time they spend in a building, has been caused in great part by the combination of air-tightness and poor ventilation. Also consider that many modern building materials release pollutants.

Suffers of this syndrome experience acute or sub-acute discomfort and health effects that appear to be linked to the duration of time spent in a building. Typical symptoms range from drowsiness, physical irritability, difficult concentration, fatigue and nausea.
These symptoms can be severe enough to greatly diminish a person’s ability to work effectively. Their direct cause is usually unknown to the sufferer, but they are relieved soon after leaving the building.

Having a plant in the office has positive outcomes, including an improved emotional state, reduced negative mood states, reduced distraction, increased creativity, and improved task-performance.

Plants are important for maintaining the habitability of the indoor environment, where most of us spend the great majority of our lives.
Whether contact with vegetation is active (gardening) or passive (viewing vegetation through a window) results show a consistent pattern of effects that are diminished when plants are absent. 

Research, summarized in Biophilic Design: The Theory and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life (Kellert, Heewagen and Mador, 2003) shows that people in spaces with vegetation compared to those lacking vegetation are more likely to experience the following outcomes: 

• Psychological and physiological stress reduction
• More positively toned moods
• Increased ability to re-focus attention
• Mental restoration and reduced mental fatigue
• Improved performance on cognitive tasks
• Reduced pain perceptions in health care settings

Research by NASA has reveled that indoor plants can remove up to 87 per cent of air toxin in 24 hours. Also, discovered that plants purify trapped VOCs inside by pulling contaminants into soil, where root zone microorganisms convert VOCs into food for the plant.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air quality can be as much as 5 times worse for us than outdoor air.
Adding plants to hospital room’s speeds recovery rates of surgical patients, according to researchers at Kansas State University. Compared to patients in rooms without plants, patients in rooms with plants request less pain medication, have lower heart rates and blood pressure, experience less fatigue and anxiety, and are released from the hospital sooner.
A study at The Royal College of Agriculture in Circencester, England, found that students demonstrate 70 percent greater attentiveness when they are taught in room containing plants. In the same study attendance was also higher for lectures given in classrooms with plants.

The Agricultural University of Oslo, Norway, conducted a study across 51 offices and those that contained plants had a reduction in the following:
• Sore and/ or dry throats
• General fatigue
• Dry facial skin
• Coughs
• Headaches
It is actually often the poor and dry indoor air that is causing your mental fatigue, general tiredness, headaches, irritable eyes or even that annoying sore throat.  

Have you ever stopped and realized that you haven’t seen or been in contact with nature, or taken a breath of genuinely fresh air all day? Interact with nature more often, every day if possible.