Health and Wellness

Plant Life for a Calm Life

By Jessica Pignataro

Plants. They are some of our greatest friends considering what they do for our physical health and overall wellbeing, all the while expecting little in return.

They are the source of our medicine, food, fuel, clothing, building materials, artistic inspiration, revolutionary designs in biomimicry such as velcro, a joy for green thumbs and for many, close companions that exchange moments of compassionate care. They also provide the bed track for nature sounds of course that we can’t seem to get enough of to help us relax.

Let us not forget to mention that plants are the great enablers of life that at some point in their tireless complex process of photosynthesis convert carbon dioxide into clean oxygen so that us mere mortals can carry on surfing the internet while eating smashed avocado toast.

Beyond this, the presence of plants enhance our quality of life in significant ways and if given a chance will grow on you or rather with you in this case, in more ways than one.

A plethora of studies across the board including some of the driest medical sources suggest that the benefits of having plants as part of your entourage inside your home or in the office are numerous:

1) Calming Effect, Stress Reduction and Help Relieve Depression:

Hard to think of a calmer living organism than a plant. They can help set the tone of tranquility in your space. Remaining patient and serene, it doesn’t matter what else is happening in the world, plants peacefully sit there and do their thing. You can keep elevating your blood pressure by gorging on the world news or you can take a cue from that gorgeous green thing winking at you from across the room – relax and breathe. Plants also follow a circadian clock like us humans and their subtle movements may not be apparent to the eye because “nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished” said Lao Tzu, an ancient Chinese Philosopher and evident nature lover.

2) Immunity Improvement:

Plants release phytoncides which contain antifungal and antibacterial properties along with other airborne chemicals, that when we breathe them in, trigger an increase of our white blood/ NK cell count in the human immune system that combat tumours and viruses. Hospitals the world over have documented a notable speed in recovery in patients exposed to plants while in medical care or otherwise.

3) Improved Air Quality:

You might be surprised that the quality of the air in your home or office could be worse than it is at the busiest downtown intersection. The reason being that unless you have the most advanced thermal air and purifying systems, much of what gets in doesn’t get out. Certain plants can in fact can reduce air toxins including mold by up to 90% which in turn kills viruses, alleviates allergies and improves all over respiratory health. Also, plants contribute to air humidity by up to 30 % due to the moisture produced. Plants can also reduce the air temperature significantly on hot summer days by absorbing heat and sunlight.

4) Improved Sleep:

The combination of all the health benefits particularly improved air quality and increased room oxygen is conducive to a good night's sleep.

5) Reduced Background Noise:

Due to their density and dynamic surface area plants can actually offset nagging background noise and improve the acoustic environment. Let the Japanese Peace Lily or Rubber plant drown out chatty Cathy or kitchen dishes without having to adjust any of your volume. (Check out our Nature Sounds and Music From Plants channels for a relaxing and subtle ambiance).

6) Increased Productivity and Concentration:

The statistics have shown whether in cases of academia or professional work spaces – plants have an undeniable impact on performance resulting in positive results be it test scores, reduced absenteeism, elevated morale and better bottom lines than if plants weren’t in the room.

7) Boosted Creativity:

The presence of plants and their vitality sends an inspirational signal by its presence alone. The creative life force is just that. Sunshine embodied in a plant. A healthy environment can awaken the senses to new heights and fresh insights. Need to reorient, glance at your fern and let it transport you to the lush, verdant forest in your mind's eye to rejuvenate. Experiments show that there is a spike in creative response when exposed to the colour green versus red, blue and grey…

8) Overall Improved Aesthetic:

Like music, the elegance of plants can compliment any space well with the right selection.

Biophilic design is the one of the latest trends in interior design and forward architecture which is the practice of bringing nature indoors (and as part of the exterior façade) essentially to support human wellness while also serving initiatives in environmental sustainability while simply making a space more inviting the way good lighting and music does. Soundscapes too should be part of the experiential design where possible. A gentle waterfall, birds chirping or loons in the night can add so much texture and delight while playing subtly in the background with our Nature Sounds channels.

And final thoughts….

Just as you would be wowed by someone’s warm hospitality, an exquisite work of art, an impressive piece of furniture - plants are no exception and can positively command a room just as much if not on the periphery. Your jasmine bush pregnant with aromatic blossoms or tiny ancient bonsai tree that you have been religiously cultivating for 30 years adds to the personality and aesthetic of your space. Not only will you enjoy your plants existence but others in your life will too. Check out our Music From Plants and Nature Sounds channels.

Here are a few beneficial indoor plants to consider (consult local resources to ensure suitability for your climate zone):

  • Aloe Vera
  • Rubber Plant
  • Snake Plant
  • English Ivy
  • Flamingo Lily
  • Chinese Evergreen
  • Boston Fern
  • Jade
  • Succulent
  • Basil, lavender, chamomile, rosemary
  • Spider Lily

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