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Study: House plants remove toxins from air


Spider plant Public Domain/Wikipedia

We have a bit of plant theme today, with my previous article on a houseplant that sold for NZ$27,100 (US$17,500).

Another article in the Daily Mail suggests that certain types of houseplants actually have a healing touch.

If you are struggling with allergies or asthma, one expert recommended spider plants, snake plants and Aloe Vera because they actually help cleanse the air. These plants were recommended because they are easy to grow and have the ability to absorb larger quantities of indoor pollution.

The Spider plant can reportedly “absorb up to 95% of harmful toxins from indoor pollution” including formaldehyde.

The Snake plant is also recommended, because in addition to its high absorption abilities, according to a study by NASA, it absorbs radiation that comes from laptops and other computers and also has the ability to convert CO2 into oxygen during the night.

In its 1989 study, NASA was trying to determine what plants could be used in a space station to help filter the air. The plants were tested on their ability to remove five toxins: benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene/toluene and ammonia.

Wikipedia provides a list of several plants that NASA determined were able to remove indoor air toxins. The amount removed varied by plant.

  • English ivy: [removed four of five toxins studied]
  • Lady Palm and Parlour Palm: [removed five of five toxins studied]
  • Spider plant: [removed two of five toxins studied]
  • Devil’s ivy, Pothos plant: [removed three of five toxins studied]
  • Peace lily: [removed five of five toxins studied]
  • Chinese evergreen: [removed two of five toxins studied]
  • Bamboo palm: [removed four of five toxins studied]
  • Variegated Snake Plant: [removed four of five toxins studied]
  • Red-edged dracaena, marginata: [removed four of five toxins studied]
  • Cornstalk dracaena, mass cane/corn cane: [removed four of five toxins studied]
  • Weeping fig: [removed two of five toxins studied]
  • Barberton daisy, gerbera daisy: [removed three of five toxins studied] The highest absorption rate for benzene and trichloroethylene.
  • Florist’s chrysanthemum, pot mum: [removed five of five toxins studied]
  • Aloe vera: [removed two of five toxins studied]
  • Janet Craig: [removed four of five toxins studied] One of the highest absorption rate for formaldehyde.
  • Warneckei: [removed four of five toxins studied]
  • Banana: [removed four of five toxins studied]
  • Boston Fern: [two of five] One of the highest rate of absorption of formaldehyde.

READ: Could a houseplant help cure YOUR health woes? Experts reveal their surprising healing properties – from immune system-boosting basil to geraniums for easing stress AND NASA Clean Air Study

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