The Surprising Health Benefits of Owning House Plants
Plus, easy ways to work more plants into your home decor.
Forest bathing, or “shinrin-yoku” in Japanese, is the practice of regularly noticing, experiencing, and appreciating the natural world around you. It’s a philosophy built on the belief that it is in our human nature to crave the company of trees. “Bathing” or immersing your senses in a forest-like atmosphere is central to Buddhism, Zen Buddhism, and Shinto, and is thought to improve overall quality of life. Qing Li, MD, the world’s leading expert in forest medicine, explains this phenomenon in Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health And Happiness.
Dr. Li found that forest bathing can actually reduce blood pressure, lower stress, and even improve concentration and memory, among other benefits. The best part is that you don’t have to live near a wooded area to reap the benefits of the latest health craze. Incorporating organic elements into your home will help you stay in constant contact with nature. We curated a list of products and tips from Dr. Li as well as from Dee Schlotter, the Senior Color Marketing Manager at PPG Paints, to help bring the forest effect into your home.
1. Create indoor space for growing plants. Consider incorporating a green wall or mounted planter to add some life to an office or family room. You can also add plants to cabinets or window ledges, points out Schlotter.
2. Incorporate plants that act as natural air purifiers. "Plants act like sponges, soaking up the toxic chemicals found in paints, fabric, cigarettes, and cleaning products," says Dr. Li. "The top-ten air purifying plants are: Peace Lily, Golden Pothos, English Ivy, Chrysanthemum, Gerbera Daisy, Mother-In-Law’s Tongue, Bamboo Palm, Azalea, Red-Edge Dracaena, and the Spider Plant.”
3. No window in your office? Hang pictures of nature. “Have a picture of nature as a screensaver on your computer, or as a lock screen on your phone," says Dr. Li. "Pin photographs of the countryside on the wall near your desk.” Schlotter also suggests infusing “your space with nature-inspired colors like the PPG 2019 Color of the Year, Night Watch (PPG1145-7) — a classic shade of green that allows homeowners to emulate the euphoria and the healing power of being in nature."
4. Fill your home with woodsy scents. “Reed diffusers are good for when you can’t plug something in: look for ones with white cypress, hinoki wood and leaf, rosemary, cedarwood, eucalyptus, and pine for a true Japanese forest bathing experience,” says Dr. Li.
5. Eat fresh herbs. Growing herbs in your home will add an element of green to your space, and fresh herbs are good for you, too. If you don't have a green thumb, start with one of the easiest herbs to grow inside, such as mint or thyme. Then, once you get your indoor garden growing, this herb saver will preserve your herbs for up to three weeks.