Improve Your Health and Wellness by Adding Life to Your Home

by Caleb Chilcutt

Indoor houseplants allow us to intertwine the outdoors with our homes. Aesthetically speaking, the lush element they create within a space is exquisite and their presence is known to boost mental health. Owning plants, however, does not have to stop with the aesthetic element; There are many ways you can utilize what you grow to improve your physical health. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced plant parent, you will find that learning how to incorporate plants into your health is intrinsically valuable and will allow you to grow with your plants in a new way. 

 

Grow Your Own Herb Garden

Many herbs can be grown inside given the proper conditions, and the avenues for their uses are quite extensive. Herbs generally will require bright, indirect light, growing best when placed near a south facing window. Planting them in pots with drainage is important to avoid overwatering, and they will need to be watered about once a week. The following herbs can be incorporated into your cooking, combined with eucalyptus in your shower, made into tea, and more!

Lavender

Lavender acts as an anxiolytic, therefore easing stress, anxiety, insomnia, and headaches. Accompanied by a fresh aroma, it has also been found to relieve symptoms of menopause and mild depression.  Apply it topically on insect bites or sunburns for relief from itching and burning symptoms. You will want to remove the flowers for use, adding them to a tea, an herbal bath, or combining with eucalyptus in the shower. 

Sage

With a wide variety of health benefits, sage leaves are an excellent option to add refreshing flavor to your meals while boosting immunity. The plant maintains antimicrobial properties that against colds, fevers, and flus. When facing an illness, a sage-infused throat gargle can offer relief for canker sores, tonsilitis, laryngitis, gum disease, and more.  The most common use of sage, however, is reducing secretions, calming overactive saliva glands, decreasing sweat, easing lactation, aiding a runny nose, and alleviating excess vaginal discharges and loose stool. 

Rosemary

Rosemary leaves are high in antioxidants, making it an excellent tool in batting neurological conditions as well as aiding the cardiovascular system. The plant has been shown to improve poor circulation, lower high blood pressure, lessen varicose veins, help symptoms of ADHD, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease, reduce tension headaches, cleanse and protect the liver, and slow the aging process. It offers a comforting taste when incorporated into a variety of foods and can even be dried and paired with eucalyptus in the shower.

Oregano

Venus, the Roman goddess of love, was said to have grown oregano all across Mount Olympus as a means to build happiness around the region.  Bringing those qualities into your home, you will also find that rosemary is an excellent defense against viral or bacterial bugs and is also often utilized for delayed menstruation, indigestion, peptic ulcerations, and digestive weakness. 

Thyme 

Among the countless herbs that you can chose to add to your indoor garden, thyme brings a beautiful aura, and both its leaves and flowers can be integrated in culinary use. Uniquely, it is a wonderful mouthwash option, as its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties battle tonsilitis, gingivitis, halitosis, dental decay, oral thrush, and sore throats. Like lavender, it can also be incorporated into topical use as it offers disinfectant properties that help in healing acne, wounds, stings, fungal growth, and more.

 

Be Mindful of How Your Plants Will Benefit You

Walking into a plant store or nursery is so exciting, but how do you pick just one or a few plants? The options seem endless, and with the variety available, it is hard to know where to start. These plants will largely offer air-purifying qualities, and all of them are beginner-friendly to grow your green thumb.

Snake Plant

The snake plant, also known as the “mother-in-law’s tongue,” is one of the hardiest plants you can choose. Not picky about light and only needing water once a month, the snake plant is nearly indestructible, and is praised for its air-purifying abilities. It is a perfect plant to have even in a dark bedroom, as it will add oxygen to the room and aid in sleep. 

Orchids

Similar to the plants in your herb garden, orchid petals can be dried and used for tea to boost the immune system and reduce fatigue. Orchids will grow best in partial sun and create a relaxing element that can also improve sleep. 

Aloe

The aloe creams and gels we all purchase at the store are derived from a plant you can grow in your home. While there are hundreds of variations of the aloe plant, the most common one to utilize for skin conditions is called Aloe Barbadensis and can be found at almost any plant store. To use the plant to treat burns, rashes, or abrasions, first cut the of the aloe off as close to the stem as possible, wash the leaf to remove any bacteria, trim the prickly edges with a knife, scoop the gel from the skin using a spoon or knife, and apply. The gel can also be stored for short term use in the refrigerator, or cubed and stored in the freezer for longer-term use. In addition to the topical uses of aloe, it can also be used to promote gastrointestinal health. Taken orally, often incorporated into a smoothie, aloe is an anti-inflammatory agent that can help heal ulcers, balance insulin, lower cholesterol, and act as a laxative. As a part of your home, aloe will be another air purifying agent, absorbing airborne particles from cleaning agents and other chemicals. 

Pothos

Pothos are one of the most common beginner plants, and for good reason. Watching a pothos grow is stunning and generally they grow very rapidly. With wide, glossy leaves and thin stems, the pothos grows extensively long, trailing downwards, able to be manipulated into its surroundings. In addition to their beauty, pothos are easy to care for and are known to purify the air of benzene, formaldehyde, and carbon monoxide, while reducing odors. 

Fern

A bathroom with a window can make an excellent home for the right plant, and a fern is certainly one of those plants.  Ferns thrive in lower levels of light and high humidity and will add a spunky pop of green to any space. The Boston Fern is the most well-known option to purify the air of plastics, formaldehyde, benzene, smoke, and more. Their bushy leaves will not only absorb toxic compounds but also help in maintaining your mental health.

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