Plants – For More Than Just Good Looks

Plants are great for us. More than just a great aesthetic, some studies have shown that plants can be beneficial for both our physical and mental health. From something as humble as the dandelion to the popular aloe vera plant, here are a few of these potential benefits and how to make the most of them.

Aloe Vera – fleshy succulent, cultivated for agricultural and medicinal uses.

Aloe is a pretty popular choice of house plant due to being relatively low maintenance. Aloe Vera has been used for thousands of years as a natural remedy. Originating from the Arabian Peninsula, it’s said to contain many powerful antioxidants, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It can be used to heal burns, treat psoriasis and eczema, reduce plaque build up, treat acne and more! To use aloe vera (straight from the plant) snap off a stalk and rub the gel like liquid on the affected area of the skin.

It can also be a fairly easy plant to care for as it thrives in indirect sunlight, and the soil should be left to dry slightly before deep watering. If the plant browns that could be a sign of too many chemicals in the air or too much sunlight. If it is not getting sunlight, this is a good indicator of what is also going into your lungs.

Peace Lily – tropical, flowering plant with dark glossy leaves and impressive white bloom.

The glossy and tropical look of a peace lily is a great a photo worthy and low maintenance addition to your home. The name of the plant derives from its relation to the cala lily and resemblance of the white bloom to a white flag of surrender (peace). The potential benefit to having a peace lily in your home is that they are said to remove harmful toxins from the air and increase humidity levels. Both of these factors promote better breathing, relieving throat and nose irritation and works as a natural air freshener. To use a peace lily, place in a dry environment or anywhere in the home. You will want to note that it does create some pollen and a floral scent so it may not be the best choice for people with allergies such as hay fever.

Peace Lilys also prefer a shady environment and should be kept slightly moist but be sure not to over water.

Snake Plants – hardy plants know for the stiff, sword-like leaves and striking appearance.

Snake plants are native to tropical West Africa where it also goes by the cheeky name: mother-in-law’s tongue. Studies have shown this plant to emit oxygen while you sleep. It also is known to remove formaldehyde, trichloroethelyne and benzene from the air, improving your breathing through the night for a better rest. To best use a snake plant, place it in your bedroom or any room in your home.

Snake plants love indirect sunlight and want to be completely dried out between waterings making them incredibly easy to care for.

Dandelion – often thought of as a pesky weed, the flowering yellow plant has long been used in medicine.

Dandelions are often thought of as pesky weeds blighting our lawn. However, by botanists, it has long been considered an herb and people have been using it for its medicinal reasons for many years. It is said to contain beta-carotene, an anti-oxidant which prevents cells from damage. Potential benefits include lowering cholesterol, boosting the immune system, helping digestion and detoxifying the liver. To use dandelions, you can brew the roots as a tea or use them in salad as a garnish. Many Asian cultures use the leaves as lettuce, boiled, fried or made into soup.

As a typical weed, dandelions really require no care.

Rosemary – a woody evergreen herb with needle like leaves and an intense fragrant aroma.

This woody herb is most-known for the use in cooking to provide a fresh flavor. Native to the Mediterranian, it has also been used to make perfumes. Rosemary is said to have many other health benefits, as a rich source of anti-oxidants and having anti-inflammatory compounds, it is thought to assist with boosting the immune system and improving blood circulation. As a result, rosemary is said to be able to improve concentration and memory. To use rosemary, put a few sprigs into olive oil, make lemonade or rosemary salt with the fragrant herb.

Rosemary can be easy to grow but needs some special attention. It likes a lot of light and you should avoid watering until the plant is dry. It will need pruning in the Spring and again after flowering.

St. John’s Wort – a herbaceous perennial plant with pretty, star shaped flowers.

This pretty shrub is easily recognizable for its yellow flowers, but did you know it’s also said to be helpful for your health? It is believed that St. John’s Wort contains chemicals that act on messengers in your nervous system to regulate your mood which can potentially relieve anxiety and symptoms of depression. To use, brew the flowers in a tea, or apply topically as an ointment. Note that St. John’s Wort can interact with certain medicines so be sure to consult your doctor as with all plants on this list.

The best place to grow St. John’s Wort is somewhere that gets sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon when it is hot. This plant is very adaptable and can withstand both moist and dry soil.

English Ivy – an evergreen, super climber that can work well both inside and out of the home.

English Ivy is able to climb to heights of 50ft or more. And aside from looking impressive, this plant is said to purify airborne mold particles. It is also believed to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic properties too. This is turn can relax airways, treating asthma symptoms, loosening mucus and improving air quality. English Ivy is poisonous so it should be kept high, away from children and pets. If you have difficulty breathing at night, use Engligh Ivy up high in your bedroom. Touching the leaves can cause a skin reaction and you should avoid it if you are pregnant.

English Ivy grows well under fluorescent light but not directly in sunlight, so the ideal placement is in a darker room with artificial light. Keep its soil moist, but never soggy.

Marigold – a fast growing, woody based perennial known for its impressive deep orange bloom in summer and fall.

Marigold is fast growing and known for its impressive orange bloom. This popular garden plant is said to have antiseptic and antibacterial properties to treat skin diseases, improve wound healing, reduce inflammation and treat infection. Marigold is also believed to be a natural insect repellant so it is the perfect addition to your garden. To use, dry out the marigold flowers and brew them as tea or apply a cream/ointment topically.

Marigolds are easy to care for, planting them in any area that receives enough sun, they only need a good watering once a week once established.

For more tips about plants both indoor and outdoor, with uses more than just good looks, give us a call. We would love to point you in the direction of some of our favorite plants, gardeners and more.

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