Want Cleaner and Purer Air? Try Air-Cleaning Plants, NASA Says

Elizabeth Renter
Waking Times

NASA knows a thing or two about keeping air clean,  sending astronauts into space with a limited amont of breathable air for months  on end. Afterall, they can’t simply open a window when things get stuffy in  space. What NASA researchers have learned about air quality in the home  concerning air-cleaning plants, however, is refreshing to say the least.

They’ve found several common houseplant varieties can essentially clean the  air of certain chemicals. They tested a variety of plants  to see which was  best at removing carcinogens like trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, and benzene.  But, these chemicals aren’t in my home—you might be thinking. And you would be  wrong.

Cleansing the air with Air-Cleaning  Plants

According to the NY Times:

“Formaldehyde is commonly found in drapes, glues and coating products.  Benzene is a component of paint supplies and tobacco smoke, and  trichloroethylene is used in adhesives, spot removers and other household  products.”

And with asbestos, formaldehyde, and other VOCs leaching off every wall of  our home, it’s no surprise that indoor  pollution may be causing 50% of illnesses worldwide. Those  headaches you have on a regular basis, where the cause just can’t be pinpointed,  may actually be a result of poor air quality in your home. The good news is that  you can cleanse the air with air-cleaning plants – what better way to  solve a problem than with nature.


  • Taken from NASA’s ‘Interior  Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollutant Abatement‘ report, it reads:

    Another promising approach to further reducing trace levels of air pollutants  in side future space habitats is the use of higher plants and their associated  soil microorganisms. (28-29) Since man’s existence on Earth depends upon a life  support system involving an intricate relationship with plants and their  associated microorganisms, it should be obvious that when he attempts to isolate  himself in tightly sealed buildings away from this ecological system, problems  will arise…

    In this study the leaves, roots, soil, and associated microorganisms of  plants have been evaluated as a possible means of reducing indoor air  pollutants. Additionally, a novel approach of using plants ystems for removing  high concentrations of indoor air pollutants such as cigarette smoke, organic  solvents, and possibly radon has been designed from this work.

    The plants found to be most effective at purifying the air include:

    • Peace lilies
    • Mother-in-law’s tongue
    • Ficus
    • Gerbera daisies
    • Snake plants
    • Devil’s ivy

    Dr. Clifford W. Bassett, of New York University’s School of Medicine says  that one plant for every 100 square feet of your home is a good  rule of thumb.

    Rather than spending several hundred dollars on air purifiers and  humidifiers, you can spend a few dollars on a plant and some dirt for the same  or even better effects.

    And of course there are other air  purifying plants you can use as well:

    • Chrysanthemum (Chrysantheium morifolium) – Reduces  benzene and formaldehyde, while adding a splash of color in your home.
    • Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea sefritzii) – A great plant  for being out of direct sunlight, bamboo palm cleanses the air of  formaldehyde.
    • Red-Edge dracaena (Dracaena marginata) – This  large-growing plant removes benzene and trichloroethylene from its  surroundings.
    • Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) – Don’t want to  baby plants? Try this low-maintenance option that filters formaldehyde.

    It’s nearly impossible to get completely away from air pollution. Even if you  move to a cave in the mountains, your fire and the smog from nearby areas would  reach you. But, if you can decorate your house with air-cleaning plants, you can  at least minimize their presence in your most sacred of spaces.

    While some insist on moving toward genetically  modified plants that produce pharmaceuticals , the rest of us  simply want to embrace the natural cleansing capabilities of nature.

    Additional Sources:

    NY  Times

    Scribd

    This article originally appeared at NaturalSociety.com, an excellent source of news and information about natural health.

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