We care about the food we eat and the water we drink, but what about the air we breathe? Air is essential to living and it matters to your longevity to keep the air in your home clean. We spend half of our lives in the home and the other half at work. So if you work in an office, you may want to consider having a plant or two at your desk. Most homes can house pollutants and chemicals that we are completely unaware of till later when we suffer from major health problems. These can also damage your immune system making you more susceptible to colds and allergies.
Indoor Hazards to be Aware Of
- Carbon Monoxide and Radon –
- People are finding out that a lot of homes, especially in the midwestern United States, contain high amounts of radon in their basements. This is a gas naturally released in soil and is a silent killer. Radon testing should be done to determine this and then a radon filtration system professionally installed. Carbon Monoxide detectors should be installed in every home as this is also odorless and can result from a wide range of things such as faulty gas ranges and cook tops or just a gas leak from any natural gas appliance.
- Scented fragrances such as air fresheners and candles –
- These actually contain volatile organic compounds that when released into the air can trigger asthma attacks. These phthalates have also been directly linked to cancer.
- The dreaded mold – it is very easy for homes to acquire these especially in the basement and bathrooms, any place that acquires moisture. Black mold is the most dangerous form and requires a combination of bleach and water with you wearing a respirator to clean it.
- Household paint –
- Old paint in older homes can contain lead based paint, but there is also a chemical called benzene found in some household paints today as well.
- Indoor Fabrics-
- Formaldehyde has found to be present in carpets, furniture, and foam insulation.
- Household cleaners –
- According to Consumer Reports.org, “A 2009 study by the Environmental Working Group identified 457 air contaminants—24 linked to serious health concerns, including cancer—in 21 household cleaners. Products labeled “green” were better overall, though the group found 93 contaminants in Simple Green Concentrated Cleaner.That’s partly because many claims on cleaning products aren’t based on any standards. Products with the Design for the Environment (DfE) label from the Environmental Protection Agency have been screened by a third party and contain relatively safe ingredients.Fragrances in cleaners are seldom disclosed. Many manufacturers list product ingredients on their websites, but they don’t have to list fragrance ingredients. And one fragrance can contain 50 to 200 compounds, including dozens of volatile organic compounds. Terpenes, for example, give products a pine or lemon scent, but they’re linked to respiratory problems. They also can react with ambient ozone to form formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, and other irritants. But William Troy, Ph.D., a former chairman of the International Fragrance Association North America, says people need to consider exposure levels. “Fragrance exposure via cleaners is low,” he says, “and does not present a hazard to the consumer.”
We need to be made aware of these harmful pollutants so that we can be conscious of how to protect ourselves and our families. But not to be alarmed! With the following plants and herbs I’m about to show you, and tips on how to make the air in your home cleaner, you can avoid these dangers. You can use the power of nature to purify the air. Herbs can help to eliminate almost 90% of volatile organic compounds from the air. These compounds are more commonly referred to as VOC’s and are highly toxic. All herbs take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen so just the oxygen quality in your home will see improvements by having these herbs indoors.
Top 5 Best Herbs to Plant Indoors to Improve Air Quality
This herb lets out an aromatic fragrance and is perfect for indoors. The aroma produced by this plant helps to improve cognitive function and shield the brain from free radicals such as the pollutants in your home. It is a good way to cut down on airborne viruses in the home as well.
This herb is not only great at cleansing the air you breathe, but acts as an insect repellent as well. It is a very aromatic herb with soothing notes of fragrance that will soothe the soul and quiet the mind. It relaxes the lungs to help you sleep better at night.
This is a great starter plant as it is hard to kill (for all of you out there without a green thumb). I recommend this herb in every home. Not only does this plant clean the air you breathe, but it contains healing properties. The leaves can be cut open and the gel inside applied to cuts and burns. The main chemical this herb protects from is benzene which is found in paint and chemical cleaners.
Not considered an herb, I still need to add this to the list because the peace lily is that amazing at cleaning the air! This plant also doesn’t require much sun at all or even direct sun at that so can be placed not just in homes, but in the office as well. This plant reduces mold spores in the air because it actually absorbs these as food. It can also absorb harmful vapors from alcohol and acetone as well as neutralizing toxic gases like benzene, formaldehyde (present in carpets, furniture, and foam insulation), and carbon monoxide.
An excellent indoor plant for beginners as well, this herb purifies the air and carries an aroma that repels mosquitoes. This herb filters common toxins like trichloroethylene (found in varnishes, paints, and adhesives), formaldehyde, and benzene. The rose geranium makes a great herbal tea as well! It can be dried and then used for people with Diabetes type II as it can help lower blood glucose levels quickly.
Really there are so many plants and herbs that help clean your home and keep it free from toxins!
- Spider Plant
- English Ivy
- Dragon Tree
- Gerber Daisy
- Chinese Evergreen
- Potted Mum
I hope this helps in picking out herbs for your home! They not only look great in the home, but they also smell wonderful and you will reap the benefits. 🙂