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Breathe Better Indoors With These Air Purifying Plants

The Hyfe Mind

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January 24, 2022
CoughPro is not a medical product. It is a wellness app intended only for users to obtain a better understanding of their cough. It is not intended to diagnose, monitor, or treat any illness.

We at Hyfe, Inc., are a company devoted to working on tools to better understand the importance of cough. It is Hyfe’s intention in the future to seek regulatory approval for medical products that analyze cough in order that they may be used to diagnose, monitor, and facilitate better treatment of respiratory illnesses.

indoor-plants

Are you fed up with trying several ways to breathe better? Try introducing air-purifying plants to solve this issue. These plants work by improving indoor air quality. Keeping an indoor plant is a source of contentment as it refreshes your mind. But, above all plants, bring you closer to nature. You may call these natural air purifiers or filters. 

Unfortunately, indoor air is poorer than the outdoors, for various reasons: synthetic household items (e.g. furniture, polishes, and paints) breaking down and releasing harmful gases; smoke, from fires or cigarettes; carpets and doormats that preserve toxic particles; finally, a lot of modern-day houses lack windows and proper ventilation systems.

Harmful gases found indoors include:

  • Carbon monoxide – A deadly poisonous gas that can cause hallucinations
  • Ethylbenzene – A potentially carcinogenic component of cigarette smoke
  • Formaldehyde – A carcinogen released as certain materials break down
  • Methyl ethyl ketone (MEK)/butanone – Used in making certain glues, paints, and synthetic rubber and found in cigarette smoke, causes neuropsychological effects
  • Methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) – A flammable gas that irritates the skin, eyes, and lungs
  • Nitrogen dioxide – A poisonous gas that can worsen asthma
  • Toluene – A toxic gas that causes confusion and tiredness
  • Trichloroethylene – A solvent with anesthetic properties that mimics alcohol in low doses
  • Xyelene – A flammable gas that causes dizziness and vomiting

Indoor air also includes particulate matter, which describes all the dust, dirt, solids, and liquids suspended in the air that are small enough to be inhaled. Plants can filter these too.

All of the above can be harmful to your respiratory system.

People install different types of machinery such as air filters, air purifiers, and turbos. However, these are heavy on pockets and require frequent maintenance. Air purifying plants can save both time and money. 

1. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera has been famous since ancient times for its numerous benefits. This magical plant has applications in beauty enhancements and healing cuts or wounds. 

In addition to all these medicinal properties, NASA scientists found first found aloe helps cleanse the air, which other scientists have later confirmed. Aloe vera removes the following air pollutants:

  • Carbon monoxide1
  • Nitrogen dioxide2
  • Toluene3
  • Ethylbenzene4
  • Formaldehyde5

2. Philodendron

Philodendron plant

You may have heard of the Philodendron genus due to certain types selling for hundreds or thousands of dollars due to their looks and rarity. They are stunning plants, especially the variegated varieties, but even the more common and affordable types of Philodendron have air purification properties.

The heartleaf philodendron (Philodendron oxycardium), spadeleaf/elephant ear philodendron (Philodendron domesticum), the tree philodrendron (Philodendron selloum), and the silverleaf philodendron (Philodendron sodiroi) remove formaldehyde from the air67. Other research has found the sweetheart philodrendron (Philodendron scandens) can also remove MEK/butanone from the air8

3. Pot Mum/Florist's Daisy/Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemum are plants with brightly colored flowers that help increase the beauty of your home and garden. The most popular type is Chrysanthemum x morifolium, an ancient hybrid that comes in hundreds of different shapes and sizes, and was found by NASA to clear the air of:

  • Formaldehyde9
  • Benzene10
  • Tricloroethylene11

Remember that, indoors, chrysanthemum plants usually only live for a year and then need to be replaced. 

Outdoor chrysanthemums live longer (you can bring the cut flowers in for decoration) but the air purification qualities are in their leaves12 so you need the whole plant indoors.

4. Gerbera Daisy

Gerbera daisies (Gerbera jamesonii) work wonders when they get a good amount of sunlight and have good soil. Keeping these colorful plants in the laundry rooms helps filter out chemicals released by our clothes, such as:

  • Benzene13 – the gerbera daisy removed the most benzene of any plant NASA tested
  • Formaldehyde14
  • Trichloroethylene15

5. Peace Lily

Peace lilies (Spathiphyllum wallisii) placed high up NASA’s list of plant air purifiers. Paired with the fact it is a low-maintenance houseplant, this elegantly flowering plant is perfect for bedrooms and tabletops, where its attractive white flowers and textures leaves will purify the air of:

  • Benzene16
  • Formaldehyde17
  • Trichloroethylene18
  • Particulate matter19

6. Snake Plant

Another name for this plant is Mother-in-law’s tongue or viper’s bowstring hemp. Scientifically, it is called Dracaena trifasciata, although until 2017 it was called Sanseviera trifastica. This plant is not kept for its flowers but for its striking, tri-colored foliage. They are easy to care for – some even say they thrive on neglect.

Snake plants absorb carbon dioxide from the air and give out oxygen20, like all green plants, while also removing unwanted chemicals like

Other plants in the Dracaena and Sanseviera genii also clean pollution from the air, such as Sanseviera hyacinthoides26, striped dracaena (Dracaena fragrans/deremensis)27, and lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)28.

7. Spider Plant

The spider plant is iconic, seen in many an office and home, its long leaves arching gracefully down and interspersed with stems on which pups (baby spider plants) grow. 

It is the perfect fit for you if you want a low-maintenance plant that is easy to propagate – all you need to do is cut off a pup and suspend its base in water until it has roots, pot up, and then you have a whole new spider plant to start purifying the air in your home even more.

Also, it is safe for pets and children.

Although it does not seek much attention, spider combats the following air pollution:

  • Toluene29
  • Ethylbenzene30
  • Benzene31
  • Formaldehye32

8. Weeping Fig

Also called the benjamin fig or ficus tree (scientific name: Ficus benjamina), growing this plant inside your home or office is favorable for your health. It helps absorb toxins from the atmosphere, such as:

  • Formaldehyde3334
  • Benzene35
  • Trichloroethylene36

Weeping figs take some more effort to successfully grow than other plants on this list, and require regular fertilization during the summer, but will reward you not only with healthier air but a large and elegant plant.

Do keep it away from cats and dogs who may nibble on it, as it is toxic to them.

9. English Ivy

Growing English ivy indoors can be challenging, requiring high humidity, fertilization and bright, indirect light, yet its old world charm and elegant growth make it popular – and it also cleanses the air!

It is particularly good at removing toluene37.

Here are some more contaminants that this plant can detoxify:

10. Chinese Evergreen

Chinese evergreens (scientifically, the genus Aglaonema), as their name implies, originate from Asia and have become popular, easy-to-care-for houseplants. They tolerate shade well, making them good fits for areas of your home that don’t have enough light for other plants.

Chinese evergreens are particularly good at removing benzene from the air, and get better at it over time43.

They also remove the following other impurities:

  • Formaldehyde4445
  • Ethylbenzene46
  • Carbon monoxide47

11. Golden Pothos

This one is also known as the money plant and devil’s ivy, and its scientific name is Epipremnum aureum. It is said to be impossible to kill, tolerating many light levels and only needing water when dry.

Although it is poisonous, it filters out the followingtoxins from the surrounding air:

  • Formaldehyde4849
  • Benzene5051
  • Trichloroethylene52
  •  Methyl isobutyl ketone53

12. Bamboo Palm

Bamboo palm, scientifically called Chamaedorea seifrizii, is also considered an excellent air purifier by NASA.

It clears the following harmful gases from the air:  

  • Benzene54
  • Formaldehyde55
  • Toluene56
  • Trichloroethylene57
  • Xylene58

13. Rubber Tree

The rubber plant (Ficus elastica), from where latex was first harvested, is also grown as an indoor plant.  This plant can cut the amounts of the following harmful gases:

Further members of the Ficus genus that can help purify your air include the Bengal fig (Ficus benghalensis), which can remove toluene and xyelene from the air62, the fiddleleaf fig (Ficus lyrata), which helps filter particulate matter63, and the sacred fig (Ficus religiosa), which helps remove benzene from the air64.

Overview

Plants play an essential role in our lives. Placing these indoors can be positively impactful for your health. Not only do they purify the air, as described in this article, but they also improve your mental health, reduce stress, and make you generally feel better65. Consult your local garden centre before choosing indoor plants to make sure you get the best ones for your situation.

References
  1. Wolverton, B. C., Donald, R. C., & Mesick, H. H. (1985). Foliage plants for the indoor removal of the primary combustion gases carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides. Journal of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences, 30(1-8). https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/19860044351[]
  2. Wolverton, B. C., Donald, R. C., & Mesick, H. H. (1985). Foliage plants for the indoor removal of the primary combustion gases carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides. Journal of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences, 30(1-8). https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/19860044351[]
  3. Sriprapat, W., Suksabye, P., Areephak, S., Klantup, P., Waraha, A., Sawattan, A., & Thiravetyan, P. (2014, April). Uptake of toluene and ethylbenzene by plants: Removal of volatile indoor air contaminants. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 102. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2014.01.032[]
  4. Sriprapat, W., Suksabye, P., Areephak, S., Klantup, P., Waraha, A., Sawattan, A., & Thiravetyan, P. (2014, April). Uptake of toluene and ethylbenzene by plants: Removal of volatile indoor air contaminants. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 102. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2014.01.032[]
  5. Wolverton, B. C., Johnson, A., & Bounds, K. (1989). Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement. NASA. https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/19930073077[]
  6. Wolverton, B. C., Johnson, A., & Bounds, K. (1989). Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement. NASA. https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/19930073077[]
  7. Zhou, J., Qin, F., Su, J., Liao, J., & Xu, H. (2011). Purification of formaldehyde-polluted air by indoor plants of Araceae, Agavaceae and Liliaceae. Journal of Food, Agriculture & Environment, 9(3&4). https://www.wflpublisher.com/Abstract/2478[]
  8. Torpy, F., Clements, N., Pollinger, M., Dengel, A., Mulvihill, I., He, C., & Irga, P. (2017). Testing the single-pass VOC removal efficiency of an active green wall using methyl ethyl ketone (MEK). Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health, 11. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11869-017-0518-4[]
  9. Wolverton, B. C., Johnson, A., & Bounds, K. (1989). Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement. NASA. https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/19930073077[]
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  11. Wolverton, B. C., Johnson, A., & Bounds, K. (1989). Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement. NASA. https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/19930073077[]
  12. Aydogan, A., & Montoya, L. D. (2011). Formaldehyde removal by common indoor plant species and various growing media. Atmospheric Environment, 45. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2011.02.062[]
  13. Wolverton, B. C., Johnson, A., & Bounds, K. (1989). Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement. NASA. https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/19930073077[]
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  22. Wolverton, B. C., Johnson, A., & Bounds, K. (1989). Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement. NASA. https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/19930073077[]
  23. Sriprapat, W., & Thiravetyan, P. (2016). Efficacy of ornamental plants for benzene removal from contaminated air and water: Effect of plant-associated bacteria. International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation, 113. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ibiod.2016.03.001[]
  24. Sriprapat, W., Suksabye, P., Areephak, S., Klantup, P., Waraha, A., Sawattan, A., & Thiravetyan, P. (2014). Uptake of toluene and ethylbenzene by plants: Removal of volatile indoor air contaminants. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 102. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2014.01.032[]
  25. Sriprapat, W., Suksabye, P., Areephak, S., Klantup, P., Waraha, A., Sawattan, A., & Thiravetyan, P. (2014). Uptake of toluene and ethylbenzene by plants: Removal of volatile indoor air contaminants. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 102. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2014.01.032[]
  26. Sriprapat, W., Suksabye, P., Areephak, S., Klantup, P., Waraha, A., Sawattan, A., & Thiravetyan, P. (2014, April). Uptake of toluene and ethylbenzene by plants: Removal of volatile indoor air contaminants. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 102. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2014.01.032[]
  27. Sriprapat, W., Suksabye, P., Areephak, S., Klantup, P., Waraha, A., Sawattan, A., & Thiravetyan, P. (2014, April). Uptake of toluene and ethylbenzene by plants: Removal of volatile indoor air contaminants. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 102. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2014.01.032[]
  28. Sriprapat, W., Suksabye, P., Areephak, S., Klantup, P., Waraha, A., Sawattan, A., & Thiravetyan, P. (2014, April). Uptake of toluene and ethylbenzene by plants: Removal of volatile indoor air contaminants. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 102. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2014.01.032[]
  29. Sriprapat, W., Suksabye, P., Areephak, S., Klantup, P., Waraha, A., Sawattan, A., & Thiravetyan, P. (2014, April). Uptake of toluene and ethylbenzene by plants: Removal of volatile indoor air contaminants. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 102. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2014.01.032[]
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  33. Al Qassimi, N., & Jung, C. (2022, January 13). Impact of Air-Purifying Plants on the Reduction of Volatile Organic Compounds in the Indoor Hot Desert Climate. Frontiers in Built Environment. http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fbuil.2021.803516[]
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  39. Srbinovska, M., Andova, V., Mateska, A. K., & Krstevska, M. C. (2021, January). The effect of small green walls on reduction of particulate matter concentration in open areas. Journal of Cleaner Production, 279. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.123306[]
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  41. Lin, M.W., Chen, L.Y., & Chuah, Y.K. (2017). Investigation of A Potted Plant (Hedera helix) with Photo-Regulation to Remove Volatile Formaldehyde for Improving Indoor Air Quality. Aerosol Air Quality Research, 17. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2017.04.0145[]
  42. Aydogan, A., & Montoya, L. D. (2011). Formaldehyde removal by common indoor plant species and various growing media. Atmospheric Environment, 45. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2011.02.062[]
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  45. Zhou, J., Qin, F., Su, J., Liao, J., & Xu, H. (2011). Purification of formaldehyde-polluted air by indoor plants of Araceae, Agavaceae and Liliaceae. Journal of Food, Agriculture & Environment, 9(3&4). https://www.wflpublisher.com/Abstract/2478[]
  46. Sriprapat, W., Suksabye, P., Areephak, S., Klantup, P., Waraha, A., Sawattan, A., & Thiravetyan, P. (2014). Uptake of toluene and ethylbenzene by plants: Removal of volatile indoor air contaminants. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 102. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2014.01.032[]
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  58. Wolverton, B. C., Donald, R. C., & Mesick, H. H. (1985). Foliage plants for the indoor removal of the primary combustion gases carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides. Journal of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences, 30(1-8). https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/19860044351[]
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  • Accurate count of coughs
    by Beardonna — Mar 8, 2023 - App Store

    Just installed the app. Very accurate measuring coughs so far! Cannot wait to see how much coughing I do while sleeping. I'll have a better picture to discuss with my physician at my next visit.

    Try CoughPro for Free

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