Houseplants for Wellness: Plants for Positive Energy

It’s true- plants make people happy. For many years, both scientists and spiritual practitioners alike have known that bringing plants indoors can have a positive effect on both mental and physical well-being. 

So what are the best plants for bringing positive energy into your space? Here, we’ll cover several different ways to increase your energy levels, from removing impurities in the air to growing plants as nourishing food. Try one, or try them all- either way, you’ll be using indoor plants to create an energizing environment for yourself and your loved ones.

Energy Through Air Purification

There is an often-referenced study done by NASA in 1989 that tested the effectiveness of plants at removing airborne pollutants in office buildings. But what did that study really look at, and what did those scientists discover?

Back in the 70s, many office buildings were transitioning to systems with less air circulation to conserve energy. They also used a lot of furniture and building materials that give off gases and other organic particles, which caused health issues for the occupants of the offices. The issues reported included itchy eyes, drowsiness, headaches, and rashes- very similar to allergies.

This became known as “sick building syndrome,” the phenomenon that occurs when building materials, lack of ventilation, and lots of humans in one enclosed space all come together to cause illness. The solution NASA proposed was incorporating the natural world into this completely unnatural environment.

What they discovered was that some plants have the ability to remove a larger amount of unpleasant particles from the air than others. The three compounds NASA tested on their plant subjects were benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde, all of which can be found in small amounts in most indoor spaces and can cause health issues in humans.

The plants that did the best job of removing those compounds were snake plants (sansevieria laurentii), peace lilies (spathiphyllum “Mauna Loa”), gerber daisies, and several species of dracaena including warneckeis, janet craigs, mass canes (also commonly known as corn plants), and marginatas.

So it’s official- the study proved that adding plants to our indoor spaces can have a positive effect on air quality. However, it’s important to remember that the experiment was done using other factors like activated charcoal filters and very high concentrations of airborne particles. But that doesn’t mean you won’t experience benefits in your own space. 

To get the biggest energy boost out of your air purifying plants try placing them in rooms like the bathroom, where people are most likely to use products (like hairspray) that contain compounds that your plants can help remove.

Adding Energy Through Feng Shui

Another popular way of using houseplants to improve the energy levels in your home is the practice of feng shui. This may be on the opposite end of the spectrum from the very scientific NASA study, but people have been using feng shui practices for thousands of years.

There are several plants that are considered to have positive energy benefits in feng shui, primarily those known as “money plants.” These species of plants are also believed to bring prosperity to their owners.

The three most common “money plants” are pilea peperomioides (also known as “friendship plants”), jade plants, and the easily recognizable braided trunks of pachira aquatica. For the best feng shui effect, make sure to pick a spot for your plant that is both auspicious (according to feng shui guidelines) and beneficial to the plant’s light and water needs.

Creating an Energy-Boosting Routine

For many people, creating a solid daily routine is a necessary part of maintaining their energy levels. It can be especially helpful for those who have found themselves suddenly working or studying from home, and having to completely replace the routine they used to know.

Incorporating house plants into your home or office can help you build a routine around natural elements that can boost your mood, keep you focused, and keep you grounded. Watering, cleaning leaves, checking for pests and monitoring humidity levels can be both an exercise in mindfulness and a way to help yourself keep track of passing time. 

For creating an energizing routine try to pick plants that you personally enjoy looking at, and that have needs that you can meet without stretching yourself too thin. For example, if you have a very busy schedule a low-maintenance snake plant might be just what you need. For those with more time in their week for in-depth plant care, a fern or orchid would work well.

Energy Through Recreating Nature

For many, simply being outdoors and in nature is an energy-boosting experience. However, most of us can’t just pack up and go camping or hiking in the woods whenever we feel like it. Luckily, creating an indoor jungle can have a very similar effect.

To create a positive energy-rich environment, try recreating a forest canopy in your own space. Think floor to ceiling foliage, combining plants on the floor level or on plant stands with plants hung from higher vantage points like curtain rods, ceiling hooks, or draping from tall shelves. Make sure to include plants that you find personally beautiful and relaxing to look at.

Healing Energy Through Food

A final way to use plants to bring positive energy into your space is by growing food plants. In its own way food is like medicine for our bodies, and using home-grown herbs when cooking can have a very positive effect on both the body and mind. 

Some herbs that are easy to grow indoors are basil, sage, rosemary, lavender, and mint. All can be used for cooking, and both sage and lavender can be dried and used in other applications throughout your home.

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