As a culture, we spend a lot of time inside. In the winter, even in sunny southern California, there are people who rarely spend any time outside. I've met a few people for whom their only time outside was the walk to the car after work and the walk into the house when you get home. But Ayurveda advises to do the exact opposite - to spend more time outside, specifically more time in nature. The benefit can be a more balanced nervous system and increased overall vitality. However, in addition to spending more time in nature, it is also important to transform our indoor spaces so the divide between nature and our indoor life isn't so extreme.
Have you ever walked into a home filled with plants? There's a vibrancy in some of those spaces. Plants infuse life and provide health benefits in our indoor lived environment. They clean our air and provide us the opportunity to remind ourselves to be patient with the pace of growth and regeneration. If we can't survive long term in the outside world without plants and trees, why wouldn't our lives be more enhanced if we brought this life into our indoor spaces as well.
The EPA released a study that our indoor air averages a level of toxicity that is five times higher than our outdoor environments. A study by NASA on addressing Sick Building Syndrome revealed that plants were able to clean out 87% of the toxins in a room in a 24 hour period. Other studies have shown that plants can increase concentration by up to 15%. Plants can also help regulate humidity in an indoor space, in addition to increase feelings of positivity.
Here are some of my favorite plants that can be grown indoors:
Spider Plants are one of the easiest plants to maintain. They absorb carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and xylene. They prefer a sunny area, but they can still thrive in areas with less light.
Aloe Vera is easy to maintain. A succulent that requires very little maintenance, it helps to clean the air of formaldehyde and benzene. In addition to its air cleaning properties, you can also use the leaves as healing medicine for burns and cuts. And if you grow enough, you can even make your own aloe juice.
Holy basil absorbs harmful gases like carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide from the environment. It is one of the most revered plants in India and can be found in almost every home in India. It is said to ward off pests, mosquitoes and other bugs. As a plant it is considered "sattvic" in nature, which means that it promotes higher consciousness. As a form of herbal medicine, it is a great herb that supports a healthy digestion, a calm mind, and a healthy respiratory tract.
Snake Plants are the best of the best in cleaning out our air of carbon monoxide, benzene, formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene. It is ridiculously easy to maintain. I found a Snake Plant that sat unwatered in a pot with no drainage for weeks and it was still alive! It also grows well in shady areas of your home.
The Bamboo Palm also does well in shady environments. In addition to cleaning the air of formaldehyde, benzene, carbon monoxide, xylene, and chloroform, it also provides increase moisture to the air during cold, dry fall and winter months.