In the past, household plants had been linked to reduced stress and anxiety, but now, a new study linked to NASA and several other leading organizations has investigated the benefits of indoor plants and how different species of flora can affect human behaviour. Mostly common plants that can be found in your average garden, scientists believe that bringing these plants into your home where you come in contact with them daily could yield some very positive benefits.
NASA’s interest in indoor botany revolves around the issues of interstellar travel and the potential for future colonization of nearby planets. Having plants that improve efficiency, have some effect on environmental factors or subconsciously make crew happier are all factors that could improve the chance of successful space exploration. A list of potential space-bound plants has been drawn up, but there is no reason why you shouldn’t be privy to it and add them to your home in an effort to improve your own health!
One of the most important plants is the Areca Palm. This Madagascan native is known to work as an efficient dehumidifier, which means it is also able to remove airborne pollutants and has also been linked to improved sleep. Within the same category, Aloe Vera has been singled out due to its air purification properties, whilst English Ivy and Peace Lilies have shown a propensity to fight off mold – one study indicated that Ivy could remove up to 78% of airborne mold in just 12 hours.
On a more personal basis, Spider plants have been added to the list due to its ability to remove toxins from the air (up to 90%!), and has been earmarked as a potential bedroom addition. Likewise, the Weeping Fig has been recorded as a plant capable of absorbing any pollutants emitted from carpeting and furniture.
Whilst these findings certainly could influence future space travel or colonization arrangements, they definitely open up an avenue for more personal botanical care in your home. All these plants and many more are available to the general public, and could help with reducing a range of issues, including but not limited to several allergies to dust, pollution or toxins as well as improving the air quality of the surrounding areas. If NASA is considering adding these plants to future missions, there is an argument to be made that you yourself should be encouraged to add them to your own household.