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Adding a plant to your window can also combat indoor pollution and boost your creativity.
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Adding a plant to your window can also combat indoor pollution and boost your creativity.

Health, Seven Days, Dr. Mao, Home

Dr. Mao's Wellness Central: Plants That Help Clean Your Home

Posted Mar. 4, 2012, 12:25 am

Dr. Mao Shing Ni / Mirror Columnist

Spring is almost here and for many people that means it is time to spring clean! Adding a pretty plant to your window sill may be doing more than just decorating your home, they can also combat indoor pollution and boost your creativity. So while you are working on decluttering and deep cleaning, also think about how to clean the air around you to optimize your health.

Today many homes are built with or contain synthetic materials that can emit volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) into the home environment. These can include formaldehyde from plastic bags, benzene from wall coverings, and zylene from computer screens. A two-year study conducted by NASA scientists and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) researched about a dozen plants for their added health benefits. The results demonstrated that certain leafy greens can absorb hazardous contaminants and produce clean air, eliminating VOCs, and creating healthy oxygen at the same time.

Chrysanthemums Cleanse

Originally cultivated in China in fifteenth century BC, this plant boasts multiple medicinal and culinary uses. Its yellow and white flowers are enjoyed as a sweet drink in some parts of Asia, while the greens are boiled and served as a delicious meal in China. In addition to being a tasty treat, the NASA study found that chrysanthemums were effective at removing benzene from the air. Benzene is one of the most common odorless pollutants found in inks, paints, plastic, dyes, detergents, gasoline, pharmaceuticals, and pesticides. The flowers last about six weeks and thrive in bright, indirect light.

Peace Lily Purifies

Native to tropical regions, this beautiful perennial plant contains large leaves that vacuum formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, and other hard-to-pronounce pollutants. Peace-lilies thrive in low and bright light with a slightly moist soil. The next time you need an air freshener don’t reach for the chemical spray, breath in the bloom, and serenity of a peace – lily!

Bamboo Palm Humidify

Growing between three to six feet tall, the long, elegant leaves of this sturdy palm sweep away toxins such as formaldehyde, benzene, carbon monoxide, xylene, and chloroform. In addition to helping you breathe fresh air, it is an excellent spider mite repellent. During the cold winter months when air is very dry, the bamboo palm emits some much-needed moisture. It is best kept out of direct sunlight and feeds on all-purpose liquid fertilizer during the summer months.

Gerbera Daisies Relax

If getting a good night’s rest is not on your agenda this evening, you may want to add some gerbera daisies on your night stand. While most plants release oxygen during the day, their respiratory cycle decreases in the evening hours. However, gerbera daisies continue releasing oxygen all through the night to help you breath and sleep better. Gerbera daisies are especially helpful for those suffering from sleep apnea or breathing disorders. These daisies will have you dozing off in no time!

Bonus Tip: To help you calm the mind and ease insomnia consider trying the power of Chinese herbs. Calm-fort is a specialized blend of herbs, including Chrysanthemum, which helps soothe the emotions and promote better sleep.

May you Live Long, Live Strong, and Live Happy!

Dr. Mao Shing Ni, best known as Dr. Mao is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine and board certified anti-aging expert. He has appeared regularly on “Dr. Oz,” “The Doctors,” and “EXTRA.” Dr. Mao practices acupuncture, nutrition, and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica and Newport Beach. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni founded Tao of Wellness more than 25 years ago in addition to also founding Yo San University in Marina del Rey. To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment please call 310.917.2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at contact@taoofwellness.com. To subscribe to his tip-filled newsletter please visit www.taoofwellness.com.

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