Diana Kelly Levey

Can Taking Care of a Houseplant Boost Your Health?

houseplant next to bookshelf with health benefits

July 29, 2018 | Categories:

Science has proven that taking care of a houseplant can boost your physical and mental health. Here’s how having a houseplant can help your health:

Could Owning a Houseplant Help You Feel in Control?

One study out of the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension examined how indoor gardening experiences affected the lives of 18 seniors living in an assisted living facility. The residents participated in four two-hour interactive horticulture classes taught by a social horticulturist and a sociologist. Class members showed a significant increase in mastery, self-rated health, and self-rated happiness after the four weeks. Five months later, the subjects said they felt more control over their lives as well as feeling healthier and happier than before their plant responsibility experiment started. Perhaps taking care of a plant can have a short-term impact on happiness and feelings of control in your life—as long as you enjoy taking care of that plant.

Will Having a Plant Boost Your Mood?

Some scientific studies have shown that people are more productive, more relaxed, and friendlier when plants are part of their environment—at home and at work.“This won’t turn someone with serious anger management issues into a playful puppy dog in a plant-filled room!” says Creed. “But, it does establish that plants do make most people feel better in subtle ways.

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Can Having a Houseplant Ease Aches and Pains?

Some research has shown that simply being in the presence of certain plants could impact hospital patients who are reporting pain. The next time you’re visiting a friend who’s had surgery, consider bringing them a flowering plant to help speed up their recovery. One study indicates that recovering surgery patients who had plants in their hospital rooms had significantly fewer intakes of pain medication, more positive physiological responses (lower blood pressure and heart rate), less pain, anxiety, and fatigue compared to patients who didn’t have plants in their rooms. The study suggested that potted plants rather than cut flowers might offer more benefit to recovering patients. Learn when you should call your doctor with back pain.

Will My Houseplant Be a Danger to My Pet?

It’s tough to know which plants will make your dog or cat sick, but, the ASPCA has a running list of the plants that may be toxic to your pets if they are ingested. Consult this list and talk to your veterinarian before adding a houseplant that may be dangerous if your pet is inclined to nibble it. Keep plants out of reach of pets and children as well. And Creed’s top advice for keeping your plant alive? “Don’t re-pot that plant you purchased,” he said. “It is the most common mistake people make. Don’t mess with the soil. Don’t mess with the roots. Re-potting sometimes is necessary, and it can be done successfully, but most people don’t do it appropriately and they don’t really know how to do it. It’s best to avoid doing it so you don’t kill your plant.”

Read the full article on DoctorOz.com.

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