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Health benefits of houseplants – Part 2

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Happy Blooms
Plants not only can brighten up your surroundings, they can also lift your mood. Employees who work in offices with plants tend to feel better about their jobs, worry less and take fewer sick days. Flowers in particular are a good pick-me-up, so liven up your room with blooms, like a lipstick plant or fresh bouquet and see if your outlook improves.

Allergy Relief
Researchers found that rooms with plants have less dust and mold than rooms without any foliage. Leaves and other parts of the plants act as natural filters to catch allergens and other airborne particles.

Common low-light houseplants, such as Chinese evergreen or the peace lily, can do the job. Violets and other plants with textured leaves might be even better trappers. Avoid plants with pollen or spores.

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Spider Plants For Moisture
Furnaces and air conditioners can sap humidity indoors, especially in the winter. That can raise your chances of catching a cold or flu or make your skin itch. Houseplants add moisture to the air. One study found a collection of spider plants boosted the relative humidity in a bedroom from 20 per cent to a more comfortable 30 per cent. 

Air Purifiers
Carpets, paint, cleaners, printer toners and inks, and many other indoor objects, give off pollutants called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which can build up in the air and irritate your eyes and skin, worsen your asthma or make it hard for you to breathe. Houseplants can soak up VOCs. Some good air-scrubbers include English ivy, asparagus fern and dragon tree. 

Herbs For Better Digestion
Mint may help tamp down bloating, gas and other problems after you eat. Common varieties you can grow in containers include peppermint and spearmint (essential in mint juleps). Basil, another herb for cooking, also can help calm your stomach. Try steeping the leaves in hot water.

Aloe For First Aid
Gel from this plant is a popular home remedy that can treat sunburns and other minor burns and also soothe your psoriasis and other skin conditions. Juice from the aloe plant can even help you poop if you are constipated.

Restful Sleep
Plants take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. This is how they turn sunlight into food, a process called photosynthesis. Some, like gerbera daisies, keep giving off oxygen even after the sun goes down. Put a few cheerful pots in your bedroom and the extra oxygen may help you sleep more soundly.

Stress Relief
Feeling the weight of daily pressures? Try and add a heartleaf philodendron or snake plant to your décor, as this may help you relax. Several studies have measured people’s levels of blood pressure, heart rate and the stress hormone cortisol while they handled a tough task or were under mental stress. Being around plants has a calming effect on people.

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Sharper Focus
Plants may help raise your test scores, make it easier to concentrate on your tasks and strengthen your memory. Students in classrooms with three potted plants performed better on Mathematics, spelling, reading and science tests than kids in classrooms without any greens. Bring home a golden pothos or bamboo palm and you just might clear that to-do list much easier.

Faster Healing
Taking a bouquet of flowers or potted foliage to a loved one in the hospital can be more than just a thoughtful gesture, as it may actually helps them recover more quickly. Researchers found that people who had surgery got better faster if they had plants in their room or even a view of the nature from their window. They also tolerated pain better and needed fewer medications when surrounded by greenery. Try an orchid or a peace lily.

Better Mental And Emotional Health
Some therapists use gardening to help treat depression, schizophrenia and other psychiatric conditions. Learning to nurture a living plant may help lower anxiety, improve attention and lessen the severity of depression. Plants also might help people recovering from trauma and those with dementia or who live in long-term care facilities.

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