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Friday, 1 July 2016

Living Plants and the health Benefits of having plants in Your Environment

When I first moved into where I now live in Lagos it used to be a thing of joy strolling around the immediate vicinity in the cool of the evenings. My street was lined with pine trees that had weaver birds nestling all over it; the street was a natural, quiet and winding country lane where you enjoyed chirping bird songs, and the swaying pines amidst the evening breeze. Thus the shades the trees provided complimented the scenic beauty. But this was not to last for long because a ‘wealthy’ new neighbour soon moved into the environment and decided to cut down and uproot all the trees just because he needed to construct a perimeter fence around the piece of land and property he had acquired. But, he could easily have left the trees out, or included them in his plans!

Nature comes with its healing essence

Just because the new neighbour simply did not appreciate the trees and the shade they provided, as well as the serenity and joy brought on by the full package of nature, all of these were lost in a twinkling of an eye. If only this person understood the fact that trees provide us humans with the oxygen we need for survival; if only he understood the spiritual peace and positive energies that human beings derive by the presence and conscious enjoyment of these natural elements, perhaps things would have been different.

And so the habit of cutting down every ‘living thing’ on the path of construction should stop because it only goes to show a lack of aesthetic sense, as well as plain ignorance regarding the value of plants to mankind. Apart from the numerous benefits (outdoor) plants give to us, the same is also able to benefit us greatly when we utilise them indoors. The kind of fulfillment you are able to derive from having living plants around you cannot be measured; it is nothing like placing plastic plants and flowers in your room. Living plants are alive and they breathe life into the environment.
Potted indoor plants

Expert studies have shown over time that the addition of living plants has the innate ability to increase the oxygen presence in the air we breathe. Living plants around us and in our homes help to sustain the balance of energy in the space within which we all operate; they produce life-enhancing negative ions, and are therefore incredibly beneficial to the health of human beings.

The fact remains that by the time you fill your house with living plants and flowers, you will immediately begin to feel the difference. Researches show that when we have plants around us, people tend to be more relaxed wherein stress and anxiety are kept at bay. Also, people who work in offices where they have indoor plants have shown evidences of high productivity, similarly for students who study and stay in same kind of environments. Experts say that the presence of plants around us tends to improve the environments as well as the quality of the air around.

Naturally, the plants are able to perform such functions due to their ability to reduce the carbon dioxide levels as well as pollutants present in the atmosphere - like benzene and nitrogen dioxide. Conversely, the plants will inject fresh oxygen into the environment by the simple action of photosynthesis thereby enabling concentration and creativity. Plants are also able to increase or reduce (stabilise) the humidity while keeping down the air temperatures, and level of dust in the environment.

(Indoor) plants give you oxygen

According to building biologist, Nicole Bijlsma, “Plants are like the lungs or kidneys of a building.” “They balance humidity levels. Many plants, especially broad-leaved varieties, release moisture into the air through evaporation of the moisture in their leaves," she says. Studies carried out equally suggest therefore that broad-leaved plants and colourful flowers elicit high spiritedness and good mood in individuals – giving rise to increased productivity.

It is worth noting also that indoor air is often more polluted than outdoor air according to Professor Margaret Burchett, a researcher in the use of indoor plants at the University of Technology Sydney. This, of course is contrary to popular beliefs, but research provides evidence proving that very often, indoor air is stale and therefore injurious to health, experts say. "We use a whole lot of materials derived from fossil fuels that contribute to pollution, like furniture, paint and computers; there's also more carbon dioxide as we all breathe together" Burchett says. 

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