Healing Plants for the Home

Plants increasingly being used for more than decoration

photo: Leeann-Cline
photo: Sanni-Sahil-

Houseplants are not just for decoration. The advantages of having healthy plants throughout your home go far beyond feng shui. Plants can clean the air in your home and offer a number of medicinal benefits that can make you feel better and live healthier. Here are five healing plants you should consider for your home.

Boston Fern to Clean the Air

A NASA Research Report revealed that houseplants like the Boston fern can purify and revitalize a home, protecting its occupants from harmful toxins. According to the Virginia Cooperative Extension, indoor pollutants found in a home can include asbestos, pesticides, detergent and solvent fumes, carpet and drapery fibers, insulation, mold, and tobacco smoke (in smokers’ households). To help clean the air, set two to three ferns per room, spaced apart to allow each plant to “breathe.”

photo: Stephanie-Harvey

Aloe Vera to Reduce Pain and Swelling

“Aloe contains various compounds that reduce inflammation, swelling, redness, pain and itching,” says Marci Cervone, a natural living consultant and master gardener with the University of Florida Extension Program. Cut open a fresh aloe leaf and rub it on your wound. “It promotes healing, and helps injured skin from getting infected,” says Cervone. The clear gel skins over to create a natural bandage.

photo: Anna-Hliamshyna

Peppermint to Settle Your Stomach

Jethro Kloss in his book, “Back to Eden,” suggests that peppermint tea can be used to relieve nausea and morning sickness. Simply steep a tablespoon of dry leaves in one pint hot water for 30 minutes, then strain and drink. You can also eat the mint leaves when you drink the tea.

photo: Annie-Spratt

Lavender to Relieve Stress

Lavender has been used as a sedative to relieve stress and tension. Simply add dried lavender to bath water as aromatherapy to soothe and calm.  You can also add a teaspoon of leaves and flowers to a cup of boiling water for a relaxing tea. Lavender’s aroma has been shown in human studies “to slow down heart rate, lower blood pressure, and put you in a parasympathetic state, which is a relaxed state,” says University of Miami School of Medicine scientist Tiffany Field.

photo: Pintando-la-Luz-

Parsley to Soothe allergies

According to James A. Duke, author of The Green Pharmacy Handbook, parsley inhibits the secretion of histamines, a compound that causes allergies, hives and hay fever. Simply add two teaspoons of dry leaves or one teaspoon of crushed seeds to a cup of boiling water, wait 10 minutes, then strain and drink as tea.

The plants described above are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or illness.  If you suffer from any conditions mentioned above, consult your physician before taking any plant-based medications.  

Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of film reviews and celebrity interviews for a wide variety of online and print outlets. He has covered red carpet premieres and Comic-Con events for major films and independent releases.