The quality of the air inside the spaces has become a real problem. However, with the use of indoor plants we can improve the air quality in our home.

Indoor air often contains formaldehyde from carpets and adhesives, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from paints, petrochemicals from fragrances, and a long list of chemicals from fabric softeners.

Thanks to nature we have a natural way to combat it, since the use of indoor plants can benefit our health, modifying the air in our environment.

Evidence that indoor plants purify the air

According to the EPA, scientific evidence indicates that indoor air can be more polluted than outdoor air even in the largest, most industrialized cities. Other studies indicate that people spend about 90 percent of their time indoors.

Bad effects can arise just after a single exposure, as well as repeated exposure, and can lead to irritation to the eyes, nose and throat, headaches, dizziness and fatigue. These effects are generally short-lived and can be treated – sometimes simply by removing the source of contamination, but many times we attribute these symptoms to other causes when the problem may be right in front of us, within our own home.

Health benefits of indoor plants

Other health effects can appear years after a single exposure, as well as long periods of time or repeated exposure. These effects, including some respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer, can be very debilitating or fatal. It is important to try to improve the indoor air quality in your home, even if symptoms are not noticeable.


Although it is always important to leave some fresh air, NASA research found that many indoor plants are capable of reducing toxins in the air, such as: benzene, formaldehyde, trichlorethylene (TCE), toluene, and many more.

Benzene is a cancer-causing agent found in many glues, solvents, paints, and art supplies. Formaldehyde is another cancer-causing agent generated by waste gases from furniture and carpets. Trichlorethylene is a solvent used with metal parts, dry cleaning, paints, and paint strippers. Toluene is found in nail polish and nail polish remover, as well as foam.

Indoor plants that provide the most benefits

These indoor plants are some of the best air purifiers and effective in reducing toxins.

1. Bamboo palm ( Chamaedorea seifritzii ) – benzene, formaldehyde, trichlorethylene (TCE)
2. Chrysanthemums or MUMS ( Chrysanthemum morifolium ) – benzene, formaldehyde, TCE (the most effective plant against TCE according to NASA)
3. Common Ivy ( Hedera helix ) – benzene, formaldehyde, TCE, toluene, octane, terpenes (the most effective plant against benzene according to NASA)
4. Ficus tree or weeping fig ( Ficus benjamina ) – benzene, formaldehyde, TCE, octane, terpene
5. Dracaena massangeana – benzene, formaldehyde, TCE (the most effective plant against formaldehyde, according to NASA)
6. Peace lily ( Spathiphyllum ) – benzene, formaldehyde, TCE (Avoid lilies if you have cats – they can be toxic)
7. Purple Heart ( Tradescantia pallida ) – benzene, TCE, toluene, terpene
8. Red Ivy ( Alternative Hemigraphis) – Benzene, TCE, Toluene, Octane, Terpene
9. Love tie (Chlorophytum comosum, Chlorophytum elatum ) – formaldehyde, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide
10. Wax flower ( Hoya carnosa ) – benzene, TCE, toluene, octane, terpene.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *