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Monday, 9 March 2015

Natural Health Benefits from Plants

I have often seen people using artificial (plastic) plants or flowers to decorate their homes and offices, as well as for occasions, and I wonder - what manner of taste? When I enquired from a few of the people who are inclined to this kind of practice, the reasons I got were even more absurd: Some say they prefer the use of plastic plants because they do not need to bother themselves (feeding) watering the plants! I will not bother to go into the other reasons and details because this one is just enough for me. What I have gathered is that so many people, especially Nigerians simply do not realise that there is plenty of health benefits to be derived from plants apart from its sheer natural effervescent beauty, and it is a serious matter and a big pity. The followings are some of the specific natural health benefits that we have been freely given to enjoy from plants around us.

Indoor plant - courtesy:

Gaseous exchange

In the first place, there is the ecosystem which by the perfect work of nature, has made plants and animals (which includes man) to depend on each other for survival; this interdependency of living organisms in an interaction with their physical environment, is what has placed a state of equilibrium on planet earth. Thus for example, scientific research has long proven the fact that plants give out oxygen as a by-product of photosynthesis - a chemical process through which plants make their food in the presence of sunlight, and take in carbon dioxide when they respire. Conversely, animals including humans will breathe in the oxygen and expel carbon dioxide instead, and so life goes on.

What this simply means is that plants and humans coexist to complement each other in this symbiotic process of gaseous exchange.

Aesthetic (quality and) health

Plants and indeed the entirety of the vegetation around us apart from giving us oxygen, also make available for us – food, herbs for medicine, shelter or shades, and beautification to our environment. Plants and the flowers they produce give us joy and in turn make us radiate with a feeling of well being that is unquantifiable. Medical research has so far confirmed that having plants around your home has a lot of therapeutic effects especially mental and psychological. In addition, plants in your home help fight pollution by absorbing the used air, dust and foul smell from paints and chemicals, etc.  Plants also help you maintain good mood, confidence and relaxation.

Plants give off oxygen in exchange for carbon dioxide

A Sense of Responsibility

By cultivating plants around us and even especially in and around our homes, we assume a certain sense of responsibility. This is so because when you are ‘called upon’ to tend the plants by nurturing them as nurseries or cuttings, supplying them with water so that they can remain alive, trim or prune them when they tend to over grow or lose shape, etc, it does give one a sense of satisfaction owing to the fact that you have been responsible for their survival and growth. All of these are hinged on values that are sublime and spirit lifting. This is what makes us human and distinguishes us from animals. The joy and satisfaction that can be derived from these plants just cannot be measured. They are in their bloom, airy shades, food and herbs, nectar, pollution control including green-house gas control, and most importantly oxygen.

If you have plants in and around the home or office, etc, they add to the beauty and health, and attractive ambiance of your environment. It also goes without saying that as you must have known it makes for a healthier you in that plants give off what we so much need for our daily survival – oxygen.

By Morgan Nwanguma

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