Tags: plants | health | indoor | air | quality

Houseplants Boost Health: Researchers

By    |   Wednesday, 06 May 2015 09:43 AM

The Chinese were the first to keep indoor plants, pioneering the custom more than 3,000 years ago. Over the centuries that followed, a passion for keeping indoor plants spread far and wide across the globe.

Arguably its most extreme manifestation is in Japan, where bonsai, the indoor cultivation of miniature trees, is a national art form. Bonsai aficionados say that fussing over their tiny indoor landscapes promotes tranquil and contemplative escape from life’s pressures and worries.

Now green thumbs can claim to have science on their side. Indoor plants, an exhaustive new study confirms, are good for you.

Researchers have found that houseplants can improve air quality and help boost your energy level, ability to concentrate, productivity, and feelings of overall well-being.

“We can confirm, quite definitely, that indoor plants are extremely beneficial to health,” says S. Alexander Haslam, professor of psychology at Australia’s Brisbane-based University of Queensland.

“Any type of houseplant will do. They all seem to work equally well and, as far as I know, no research has yet been done to discover whether one variety of plant is any better than another.”

Haslam, one of four researchers responsible for the study, explains that the work was conducted by a multinational team from four prestigious universities and published recently in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied.

“Whether at work or at home, having plants around is good for you,” he says, highlighting his research team’s conclusion. “Plants improve feelings of satisfaction with the world. They enhance your quality of life.”

For the new study, the researchers tracked the experiences of more than 300 men and women working at two large commercial offices — a business consultancy in central London and a big Dutch office where employees were mostly involved in giving clients insurance advice over the telephone.

At each location, office space was divided into two sections. One of these was plant-free, but at the other, researchers installed an array of large-leafed green plants — an average of three potted plants for every five desks with at least two plants visible from each desk.

Most volunteers in areas with plants reported increased ability to concentrate after the introduction of potted foliage. They perceived
air quality to be better than it was previously (though this wasn’t measured).

Researchers checked on workers’ output, finding productivity increased by as much as 15 percent when plants were present. No significant differences in results were noted between the British or Dutch locations.

As Haslam puts it, plants create “more enjoyable, comfortable, and profitable places to be.”

The full version of this article appeared in Health Radar newsletter. To read more, click here.

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New research suggests indoor plants are good for your health, not to mention the air you breathe. Plants can help boost your energy level, ability to concentrate, productivity, and feelings of overall well-being.
plants, health, indoor, air, quality
Wednesday, 06 May 2015 09:43 AM
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