Research Overview - Effects of Indoor Plants on Human Functions: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analyses
Indoor plants are more than just decorative accessories for our homes and offices; they can also positively impact our cognitive and physiological functions, ultimately enhancing our mental health and well-being. Recent research has shown that indoor plants can improve attention, memory, productivity, and reduce stress levels. These findings present an effective and affordable way to enhance our daily lives and promote mental well-being through natural means.
In this blog post, we will examine the content and findings of a recently published research paper titled "Effects of Indoor Plants on Human Functions: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analyses," which provides comprehensive details on the positive effects that indoor plants have on human functions.
At Mental Houseplants, we have personally experienced the benefits of indoor plants and are deeply passionate about our business. We believe that sharing information from this paper can help others discover the power that houseplants have to make a positive difference in their mental health.
Our aim with this blog is to share the facts and insights presented in the research paper to help our readers understand the benefits of indoor plants for mental health.
II. Benefits of Indoor Plants for Mental Health & Wellbeing
According to the research paper in discussion "Effects of Indoor Plants on Human Functions: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analyses", indoor plants have a range of positive effects on one's mental health and well-being. In this section, we will summarize the key findings of the research paper, highlighting the positive effects of indoor plants on well-being, satisfaction, and perceived air quality. We will also provide specific examples of how indoor plants can improve mental health, such as reducing stress, increasing productivity, and improving mood.
- Positive Effects of Indoor Plants on Mental Health & Wellbeing
The research paper indicates that indoor plants have a range of positive effects on mental health and wellbeing, including:
Reducing stress and anxiety: Studies have shown that exposure to indoor plants can significantly reduce stress and anxiety levels. For example, a study conducted in a Japanese office found that participants who had plants in their work environment reported lower levels of perceived stress than those who did not.
Improving mood: Exposure to indoor plants has also been linked to improved mood and reduced symptoms of depression. One study found that indoor gardening improved mood and reduced symptoms of depression in elderly participants.
Enhancing cognitive function: Indoor plants have been shown to improve cognitive function, including attention and memory. In one study, participants who were exposed to plants during a task performed better and had lower levels of mental fatigue than those who were not exposed to plants.
Increasing productivity: Indoor plants have also been found to increase productivity in work environments. One study found that employees who had plants in their work environment had a 15% higher productivity rate than those who did not.
- Improved Satisfaction and Perceived Air Quality
Indoor plants can also have a positive impact on overall satisfaction and perceived air quality. The research paper indicates that:
Indoor plants can increase job satisfaction and overall satisfaction with the physical environment.
One study found that employees who had plants in their work environment reported higher levels of job satisfaction than those who did not.
Indoor plants can improve perceived air quality, which in turn can enhance well-being. Studies have found that indoor plants can help to reduce levels of indoor air pollutants, leading to improved air quality and associated health benefits.
Consider adding plants to any living space where you spend a lot of time. Remember, it's important to choose plants that are appropriate for your lifestyle and level of expertise. For example, if you're new to plant care, you may want to start with plants that are easy to care for and do well in low-light environments, such as snake plants or pothos. On the other hand, if you're an experienced plant parent, you may want to try more challenging varieties that require more attention and care.
III. How Indoor Plants Affect Cognitive Function
According to the systematic review and meta-analysis published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, indoor plants have been shown to provide a range of cognitive benefits to people. Here are five of the cognitive benefits that have been identified:
Improved Concentration: Indoor plants have been shown to improve concentration and attention span. This is especially true for tasks that require sustained attention and concentration over a longer period of time.
Enhanced Memory: Studies have shown that exposure to indoor plants can improve memory retention and recall. This can be especially beneficial for students and individuals with professions that require high levels of memorization.
Increased Productivity: Indoor plants have been linked to increased productivity in workplaces. Research has shown that employees who work in spaces with indoor plants are more productive and take fewer sick days than those who work in environments without plants.
Reduced Mental Fatigue: Indoor plants have been shown to reduce mental fatigue, which can occur when performing mentally demanding tasks for extended periods. This can lead to improved performance and better overall cognitive functioning.
Improved Creativity: Studies have also suggested that indoor plants can improve creative thinking and problem-solving skills. This can be particularly useful for individuals in creative fields, such as artists and writers.
The cognitive benefits of indoor plants are likely linked to their ability to reduce stress and anxiety levels in individuals. Stress and anxiety can have a negative impact on cognitive function, and reducing these negative emotions can lead to improved cognitive performance. Therefore, incorporating indoor plants into work and living spaces may be an effective way to promote cognitive health and well-being.
IV. How Indoor Plants Affect Physical Health
Indoor plants not only have a positive impact on cognitive function, but they can also enhance physical health. Here are five ways indoor plants can positively affect your physical well-being:
Improved Air Quality: Indoor plants are natural air purifiers and can help remove harmful toxins, such as formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene from the air, resulting in improved indoor air quality.
Reduced Sick Building Syndrome: Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) is a condition caused by poor indoor air quality that can lead to headaches, respiratory problems, and other health issues. Indoor plants have been found to reduce symptoms of SBS and improve overall indoor air quality.
Increased Humidity: Indoor plants release moisture into the air through a process called transpiration, which can increase humidity levels in a room. This can be especially beneficial during the dry winter months when indoor heating systems can dry out the air, leading to dry skin and respiratory problems.
Lowered Blood Pressure: Studies have found that being around plants can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. This is likely due to the stress-reducing effects of being around natural elements.
Improved Sleep: Indoor plants can help improve sleep quality by increasing oxygen levels and reducing carbon dioxide levels in the air. This can result in a more restful and restorative sleep.
In addition, it's worth noting that improved physical health from indoor plants is likely linked to reduced stress and anxiety. As we've discussed earlier, indoor plants can reduce stress and anxiety, which can in turn have positive effects on physical health.
Overall, incorporating indoor plants into your living or work space can have numerous benefits for your physical health. From improving air quality to reducing symptoms of Sick Building Syndrome, indoor plants offer a natural and effective way to enhance your overall well-being.
V. How to Choose the Right Indoor Plants for Mental Health
Now that we've discussed the numerous benefits of indoor plants for mental health, you may be wondering how to choose the right plants for your space. Here are some tips based on the research paper we've been discussing:
Consider the lighting: Different plants require different levels of sunlight, so it's important to choose plants that are appropriate for the amount of light your space receives. Some plants, like snake plants and ZZ plants, are tolerant of low light and can thrive in indirect sunlight.
Think about maintenance: Some plants require more care than others, so it's important to choose plants that fit your lifestyle. If you don't have a green thumb or don't have much time to devote to plant care, consider low-maintenance options like succulents or cacti.
Consider the size of your space: If you have a small space, it's important to choose plants that don't take up too much room. Some plants, like pothos and spider plants, are great for small spaces because they can be trained to grow vertically and don't take up much floor space.
Choose plants that appeal to you: When it comes to choosing indoor plants, personal preference plays a big role. Choose plants that you find visually appealing and that you enjoy caring for.
Don't take on too much: While it can be tempting to fill your space with as many plants as possible, it's important not to take on more than you can handle. Overwhelming yourself with too many plants can lead to feelings of stress and anxiety, which is the opposite of what we're trying to achieve by incorporating plants into our living spaces.
By taking these factors into consideration, you can choose the right indoor plants for your space and reap the many mental health benefits that come with having plants in your home.
It's worth noting that the benefits of indoor plants for mental health are likely linked to reduced stress and anxiety, as we mentioned earlier. By providing a connection to nature and a sense of purpose and responsibility, indoor plants can help promote a sense of calm and well-being in our daily lives.
Indoor plants have been found to provide various benefits for mental and physical health, and choosing the right plants can make a significant difference. The paper we reviewed, "Effects of Indoor Plants on Human Functions: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analyses," highlights the cognitive and physical benefits of indoor plants.
In section I, we discussed how indoor plants can enhance air quality by reducing pollutants, such as carbon dioxide and volatile organic compounds. In addition, they increase the oxygen levels, which can lead to better cognitive performance.
In section II, we talked about how indoor plants can improve mood and reduce stress. Research has shown that simply looking at plants can lower stress levels, and caring for plants can provide a sense of purpose and reduce anxiety.
In section III, we explored how indoor plants can enhance cognitive function. Studies have shown that plants in indoor environments can improve memory retention and task performance, as well as increase focus and creativity.
In section IV, we discussed how indoor plants can provide physical health benefits, such as reducing the risk of respiratory illnesses, improving sleep quality, and reducing blood pressure.
Finally, in section V, we looked at how to choose the right indoor plants for mental health. We recommended selecting plants that are low maintenance, easy to care for, and fit within the available space. It's important to note that while caring for indoor plants can be a rewarding experience, taking on too much can lead to negative and or overwhelming feelings.
In conclusion, incorporating indoor plants into our homes and workplaces can provide numerous benefits for both our mental and physical health. Not only do they enhance air quality, but they can also improve mood, reduce stress, enhance cognitive function, and provide physical health benefits. Choosing the right indoor plants is important and can be a simple yet effective way to boost our overall well-being.
(1) Han, K.-T., Ruan, L.-W., & Liao, L.-S. (2022, June 17). Effects of indoor plants on human functions: A systematic review with Meta-analyses. International journal of environmental research and public health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9224521/