Gerbera daisies and mini Gerbera daisies. Photo via flowerbud.com.
A number of years ago, NASA began to look into the air purifying properties of plants (PDF). Specifically, they were trying to find out if plants could be used to clean the air in orbiting space stations. The findings--helpful for both their purposes and ours--proved common indoor air pollutants (culprits called Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs, off-gasses from the likes of fabric finishes, paints, wood adhesives, and floor stains) can be mitigated or removed by way of the leaves, roots, and soil of certain indoor plants.
English Ivy. Photo via Talkin Over It.
By keeping plants like Gerbera daisies, English ivy, and bamboo palm in the house, your air can actually be a great deal healthier than it would be without the plants.
New Research Shows Plants in Hospitals Help Healing
All of this is something I’ve known for quite some time. What is exciting me today is recent research showing that plants also have a tremendous healing influence on hospital patients.
And here’s why it’s so interesting to me now: For the last two weeks, I’ve spent my days with my 90-year-old stroke-recovering grandma. We’ve gone to physical, occupational, and recreational therapy appointments together. We’ve eaten meals of pureed turkey and vegetables. We’ve watched a continuous loop of wildlife scenes on the in-house hospital TV channel. We’ve read cards from well-wishers and (being the proud grandma that she is) snippets from the galley copy of my upcoming book. And we’ve marveled at the beauty of the live plants and fresh cut flowers in her room. This is why I was thrilled by the recent influx of information on the actual, scientifically proven, healing properties of plants.