Natural indoor air purifiers

With ever growing number of pollutants around us, it is important to ensure we try to purify the environment we live in as much as possible, especially the air which is vital for our health. The indoor air seem to be far more polluted than outdoor air.

In another post some time ago, I highlighted the dangers of chemicals we use on daily basis:

The other factors include:

  • Biological contaminants like mold and pollen
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Pesticides
  • Gases such as radon and carbon monoxide
  • Materials used in the building

Constant presence of toxins in the air may cause general discomfort, headaches, but could also lead to serious health problems like asthma or other respiratory diseases, cancer and various allergies.

Proper ventilation is very important, however most of the indoor plants can improve the air quality, as well as provide some gentle natural aromatherapy. These listed below are the most efficient examples:

– Various palms, including Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens), Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa), Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii) and Dwarf Date Palm (Phoenix roebelinii). Known as the best air purifiers, palms specifically target and remove formaldehyde, xylen, benzene and carbon monoxide. There are also known for their excellent air humidifying properties;
peace lilyPeace lilly (Spathiphyllum) removes harmful toxins like acetone, ammonia, benzene, ethyl acetate, formaldehyde, methyl alcohol, toluene, trichloroethylene and xylene;
Rubber plant (Ficus robusta): excel at removing chemical toxins (especially formaldehyde) from indoor air and relatively easy to grow, as requires less light than many other indoor plants. Caution: leaves can be toxic;
– Various dracaenas, including Marginata (Dracaena marginata), Warneck (Dracaena deremensis ‘Warneckii’): rather slow-growing houseplants with very few growing needs. They not only remove formaldehyde, xylen, trichloroethylene and benzene from the air, but are also capable of filtering out other toxins which can be introduced to indoor air through lacquers, varnishes, oils and gasoline. Caution: could be poisonous to dogs;
Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata): helps to get rid of the air of pollutants like toulene and xylene, which are found in many paints, nail polishes and glues. Also acts as a natural humidifier;
Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum): great at removing poisonous gases (such as  carbon monoxide) as well as benzene and other impurities like formaldehyde and xylene, a solvent used in the leather, rubber and printing industries;
Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’): this plant is one of the best for filtering out formaldehyde, which is common in cleaning products, toilet paper, tissues and personal care products. It thrives with low light and steamy humid conditions while helping filter out air pollutants;
Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema modestum, Aglaonema Crispum ‘Deborah’): an excellent air-purifier plant which grows even better with less water and minimum light. It can filter out airborne toxins such as benzene and formaldehyde;
English Ivy (Hedera helix): best suited for people with asthma and allergic conditions. Easy to grow in bright sunlight, this plant has the amazing ability to reduces airborne fecal-matter particles, remove benzene and formaldehyde, found in some household cleaning products,  and to off-gas various chemicals released by synthetic materials. Caution: poisonous leaves;
Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis): known for it’s medicinal properties, including skin cuts and burns healing, it also helps with filtering various gas emissions from dangerously toxic materials. This easy to grow, sun-loving succulent helps clear formaldehyde and benzene, which can be a byproduct of chemical-based cleaners, paints and other household products;
indoor herbsRosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): similarly to other needle-leaved plants it is a very good purifier, it respires and gives off oxygen. The most important function of this herb is its ability to improve cognitive function and shield the brain from free radicals. It will exhale some of its essential oils into the room;
Lavender (Lavandula spica): more about this herb in my other post Lavendula, commonly known as Lavender – get it out of your cupboard;
Basil (Ocimum basilicum): this wildly appreciated herb can also be used as herbal tea and will reduce the carbon dioxide in the room;
Mint (Mentha spicatta): the most common as herbal tea with very pleasant aroma, but can also make the air easier to breathe if you have lung disease. It loves sun and water, and is incredibly easy to grow;
– Various geraniums, especially Rose (Pelargonium graveolens): excellent aroma, however quite strong. They are well known for their medicinal properties, but also as natural mosquitoes repellents and ability to purify air;

Dr. Bill Wolverton, former senior research scientist at NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center once said “We feel that future results will provide an even stronger argument that common indoor landscaping plants can be a very effective part of a system used to provide pollution free homes and work places.”


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