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The therapeutic power of plants at home

September 23, 2023
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The therapeutic power of plants at home

For physical and mental health, the best thing we can do is surround ourselves with plants, whether at home, in the garden or on the balcony. In fact, the benefits of greenery, to be seen, touched and smelled, are multiple and this is what we are talking about today, based on an article published in the magazine Sustainability by a team from Taiwan (Han et al, Sustainability, 2019).

Plants and mental well-being

The research collected, compared and commented on more than 50 previous studies and here is what emerged. The rooms in which we have placed plants are considered more comfortable and capable of arousing strong emotions of happiness, serenity, peace, warmth and relaxation while keeping anxiety and fatigue at bay. Not only that, if we are working or studying in an environment with plants then we are also more likely to experience better concentration and achieve better mental performance. And all this can be achieved even with just one potted plant per room, as studies have shown. In short, those who don't have a green thumb don't have to worry about filling every space in the house to get benefits, a plant, no taller than 45 cm, which is within a radius of no more than three meters from us is enough... And if you are asking how long you have to stay in a room adorned with plants to see the first positive effects, the answer is surprising, less than 20 minutes!

The color of the plants plays a role

The color of the plants also has its say. A bright green or yellowish green plant brings calm. Studies have shown that this foliage color activates specific brain areas and induces feelings of serenity and comfort. Purple, green and pink plants counteract anger and anxiety. However, as regards white-green plants, the results are mixed, with studies indicating that they are capable of inducing calm and other studies stating that they stimulate less pleasant sensations such as sadness and weakness, being considered less attractive. In the latter case, therefore, much depends on how the individual interprets the color white in nature and therefore the sensations aroused by plants of this type are linked to personal experience.

Plants heal faster

Seeing greenery and plants also has a therapeutic power, as was observed for the first time in an article published in the prestigious journal Science several years ago (Ulrich et al, Science, 1984). The research took place in a hospital where it clearly emerged that patients hospitalized in rooms overlooking a natural environment, accessible through the windows of the room itself, recovered quicker, with a 20% shorter time spent in bed while ill, and had to resort to 30% less powerful painkillers than those who had rooms facing a brick wall.

Conclusions

Surrounding ourselves with greenery and plants is therefore useful for the health of body and mind, it makes us feel better, makes us feel richer in energy, calm, serene, relaxed and less anxious and angry and, in case of illness, stimulates faster healing. If we add to this that even taking care of a plant, giving it water and pruning it, is therapeutic, useful for repelling stress, and that many plants are also capable of improving the quality of the air, absorbing toxic substances from the environment, such as the ficus, the spathiphyllum or the dracaena, then we are even more encouraged to embellish the house, balconies and gardens with plants.

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