The most useful indoor plants, or the Healing air of our home-Care

Those who lived in a wooden house know how easy it is to breathe there. Even a “dead tree” creates a comfortable environment for us. And even more so! Pine forest, birch grove, oak groves, willow-tea thickets, and just a herb meadow – everywhere it is easy and free to breathe. It seems that even health is being added! (It does not seem, but really, it is added). The main reason for the freshness of forest and meadow air is the phytoncides and negatively charged ions emitted by plants. This article will be about how to use these properties of plants to make the air in your home healthy.

The most useful indoor plants, or the Healing air of our home

What are phytoncides?

Earlier (for many millennia) people used unnamed phytoncides: they put mint and anise into sarcophagi, wrapped food in horseradish or nettle leaves, steamed with birch brooms, laid out birch and bird cherry twigs with young leaves indoors, fruit trees lashed the caterpillars with branches. The Christmas tree is also a way of using phytoncides to improve indoor air, albeit unfair to the tree.

There were, of course, excesses: some, especially “advanced” ones, wore cut cloves of garlic on them to protect them from vampires. Apparently, the vampires did not like garlic much that it acquired such properties.

Officially, the concept of phytoncides was introduced into science by BP Tokin in 1928: “phytoncides are volatile biologically active substances formed by plants that kill or suppress the growth and development of bacteria, microscopic fungi, and protozoa.” This is a remarkably enthusiastic person, by the way. His book “Healing Poisons of Plants” is easy and interesting to read, and also contains a lot of useful information for gardeners about the interaction of plants.

According to the latest data, in addition to antimicrobial action, phytoncides can have insecticidal and anthelmintic properties, as well as have general stimulating, anti-inflammatory, regenerative, anti-allergic, interferonogenic and other effects on the body.

There are complexities in terminology at the present time. In particular, in our country and abroad, the concept of “phytoncides” is very diverse: it is not only volatile substances, but also all the protective substances of a plant. But let biologists be engaged in terminology, the practical side of this matter is important to us.

In this article, we are talking specifically about volatile substances secreted by plants for personal purposes.

Also read our article on the 8 best indoor filter plants.

Why are phytoncides needed?

The main goal of the plant is to protect its health and integrity, but the objects of their attack are different. Apparently, this depends on the intrusiveness and degree of sabotage of those who like to profit at someone else’s expense. Therefore, the composition of the emitted volatiles is different for each plant.

For example, walnut phytoncides scare away insects – it is very comfortable to put a summer dining table under a tree. Coniferous phytoncides are so clever at coping with microbes and bacteria that the air in a pine forest, especially a young one, is almost sterile. And those volatile compounds that are present in it have the most beneficial effect on a person, destroying pathogenic microflora in the respiratory tract and the lungs themselves. The greatest amount of phytoncides is secreted by juniper.

Volatile substances of valerian heal the cardiovascular system, bracken fern with its phytoncides successfully drives away insects, horseradish releases a noticeable amount of fungicides. Oak phytoncides have a hypotensive effect. Garlic, lemongrass and eucalyptus secrete a complex of substances that stimulate the immune system in the fight against viruses.

Volatile compounds of cherry laurel and bird cherry are capable of killing a rat (what did the rat do badly for them?). However, this is in laboratory conditions, in nature there is no such concentration of phytoncides, it is enough only to cope with the simplest, bacteria and fungi. Eucalyptus, in general, synthesizes some kind of monsters, a kind of biological napalm.

In general, phytoncides are part of the natural immunity of plants, plant volatile antibiotics. It is clear that microorganisms, and insects, also do not sleep, but adapt to all these poisons. That is why nature cannot do without pests. Evolution in action: plants are inventing new methods of protection, pathogens are ways of survival and sabotage.

With so many benefits from volatile compounds, it’s a good idea to start plants with known beneficial properties at home.

If there are problems with the respiratory tract, common myrtle (Myrtus communis) will be helpful.If there are problems with the respiratory tract, common myrtle (Myrtus communis) will be helpful. Farmer remontbp
Medicinal rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus) perfectly fights pathogens that cause diseases of the respiratory and digestive systemsMedicinal rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus) perfectly fights pathogens that cause diseases of the respiratory and digestive systems. Farmer

Houseplants containing essential oils

Each apartment and each house has its own conditions, very diverse, and the tenants have their own sores in the range. Based on the tastes and preferences of the owners, the task of selecting plants takes on various facets. Moreover, for the bedroom, for the living room, for the nursery, it is advisable to select plants separately. Someone else in feng shui will take into account, to be sure.

If there are problems with the respiratory tract, it will be helpful common myrtle (Myrtus communis). A cute shrub (or tree, how to form it) with glossy leaves containing essential oils, fluffy and fragrant white flowers. It is very unpretentious, but you need direct sun for at least a couple of hours. The smell is somewhat reminiscent of the aroma of conifers. Easily grown from seeds. You can put it in any room.

Equally beneficial for the respiratory tract and eucalyptus (Eucalyptus)… Also from the myrtle family, with essential oils in the leaves, only “enhanced”. Eucalyptus has a detrimental effect on pathogens of infections of the respiratory, digestive systems, pustular skin lesions, stimulates the immune system. An additional bonus – repels insects. Volatile compounds of eucalyptus increase tone and performance. So the place for him, probably, is in the living room.

For indoor cultivation, there are plants that differ in the shape and color of the leaves, aroma and habit. With lemon scent, for example lemon eucalyptus (Corymbia citriodora).

Eucalyptus are photophilous, drought-resistant, they cope with their own and other people’s diseases quite successfully, therefore, in addition to the need for direct sun, they are unpretentious. I am quite vigorous with flowering and myrtle and eucalyptus have been demonstrated both on the southern and western windowsills. Eucalyptus, like myrtle, grows well from seed.

Pelargonium (Pelargonium), beloved by many flower growers, it also contains essential oils in the leaves, which successfully deal with many microorganisms. At the same time, the smell of geranium has a relaxing and calming effect, so it is good to put the plant in the bedroom. Not everyone likes the aroma of pelargonium (and you need to listen to the preferences of your body!), But there are different types and varieties, so you can experiment. It turned out to be acceptable for me lemon geranium.

Pelargonium is unpretentious, will grow on the northern windowsill, but bloom profusely only in the presence of direct sun.

Pelargonium (Pelargonium) contains essential oils in the leaves that successfully deal with many microorganismsPelargonium (Pelargonium) contains essential oils in the leaves that successfully deal with many microorganisms. Farmer Eila Kaarina

Lemon, mandarin, kinkan, at all citrus… They are more capricious than the previous ones, but citrus fruits – that is, there is a chance to get fruits. They also contain essential oils and secrete phytoncides, which negatively affect many bacteria and protozoa. The scent of lemon leaves can lower blood pressure. They also smell fantastic flowers. By the way, flowers and fruits also tend to emit phytoncides.

It can be installed in all rooms, taking into account the plants’ love for light, high air humidity and not particularly high temperatures. In my office, the northeastern double window sill turned out to be the best option for lemon. And at home – a meter from the south window.

Citrus fruits cope well with pathogenic microorganisms for humans, but with a scabbard, a spider mite – somehow they are not very successful, they need help.

Read also our article Growing a lemon tree at home.

Medicinal rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus) has a specific aroma and perfectly fights against pathogens that cause diseases of the respiratory and digestive systems, and also suppresses the vital activity of fungi. It also has wonderful culinary properties. Loves light and coolness, otherwise unpretentious.

The list can include Laurel, conifers, jasmine sambak, fragrant osmanthus, lavender.

If the plants are just planted or have not yet been purchased, you can use the essential oils of these plants. During the heating season, it is good to drop the oil onto a cotton pad and put it on the battery.

Citrus houseplants contain essential oils and produce phytoncides that negatively affect many bacteria and protozoa.Citrus houseplants contain essential oils and produce phytoncides, which negatively affect many bacteria and protozoa. Farmer apartmenttherapy

Plants for the home without a noticeable odor

Not everyone likes the smells of plants that emit essential oils, some of them, in general, have a headache. Fortunately, you can pick up less-smelling and equally useful ones.

About Chlorophytum crested (Chlorophytum comosum) probably everyone knows. The plant does not emit such obviously noticeable odorous substances into the air as myrtle, eucalyptus and pelargonium, but it cleans the air of pathogens just as well. He is familiar and ordinary. They mock him in every way because of his unpretentiousness: they push him into shady corners, put and hang him in the kitchen near a hot stove, hang in the most inconvenient places – he endures and is useful everywhere. Not only fights pathogens, but is also able to absorb formaldehyde, heavy metals and benzene.

Good with minimal maintenance in all rooms and in all variants – broad-leaved, narrow-leaved, variegated, curly and even orange. The more in quantity, the better – the plant is not large. It reproduces by children easily and simply – it is much more difficult to ruin it than to grow it.

Read also our article 10 reasons to house chlorophytum.

Good for the bedroom plectrantus (Plectranthus), otherwise called room mint… Its volatile substances are not as brutal as geraniums, but they scare away insects, and shrub plectranthus successfully repels moths. The light scent of plectrantus relieves fatigue and relaxes. It also promotes concentration of attention, so it will be appropriate near a computer. Even tank battles next to it will be more effective, and remote work will be more productive.

The plant is ampelous, quite unpretentious, does not require direct sun, easily propagates by stem cuttings.

Aloe vera (Aloe arborescens) also remarkably disinfects the air, patiently to the point of indecency, and the healing properties of its leaves are legendary. You can bet anywhere. The only limitation is on the floor of a nursery with small children: the thorns on the leaves can injure the delicate skin of children. She, of course, will instantly heal, but why extra tears?

Dieffenbachia (Dieffenbachia) – plant for the living room. And not only because of the monumentality of the appearance, but also because of the milky juice, which can cause skin irritation. If the plant is not cut, not broken, and leaves are not ripped off, it is not only harmless, but also very healing.

Effectively removes microorganisms, cleans the air from dust and harmful substances emitted by furniture, paint, etc. And large leaves, evaporating a lot of moisture, will make the dry air of the room more acceptable. The plant is quite shade-tolerant, it is characterized by rapid growth, I have not seen pests on them. Easily propagated by stem segments.

Read also our article A Familiar Stranger Dieffenbachia.

White-spotted begonia (Begonia × albopicta W.Bull) can be placed in any room, just not in direct sun. Its phytoncides are especially aggressive to microorganisms that cause diseases of the respiratory system. It will bloom from December to April, maybe longer, with whole brushes, it looks very decorative.

Her requirements are acceptable: bright diffused light, warmth and sufficient watering without stagnant water. No need to spray. Propagated by stem segments and leaves, nothing complicated.

In the same category, you can add aglaonemu, ivy, sansevieria, dracena, Spathiphyllum.

Chlorophytum crested (Chlorophytum comosum) not only fights pathogens, but is also able to absorb formaldehyde, heavy metals and benzeneChlorophytum crested (Chlorophytum comosum) not only fights pathogens, but is also able to absorb formaldehyde, heavy metals and benzene. Farmer theunbeleafableplants
Dieffenbachia effectively removes microorganisms, cleans the air from dust and harmful substances emitted by furniture, paint, etc.Dieffenbachia effectively removes microorganisms, cleans the air from dust and harmful substances emitted by furniture, paint, etc. Farmer Wag!
Light scent of Plectranthus relieves fatigue and relaxesThe light scent of Plectranthus relieves fatigue and relaxes. Farmer cveti-rasteniya

What other benefits do indoor plants bring?

Pelargonium lovers know very well that disturbed leaves smell much stronger. In general, this is typical for all plants – when microdamages arise, the release of volatile substances increases. This does not mean that it is necessary to torment the plants in all sorts of ways, but it does not interfere with walking over the leaves with your hand. Especially before going to bed in the bedroom.

More phytoncides are released by young leaves, freshly blossomed flowers and unripe fruits.

In addition to the release of phytoncides and negatively charged particles into the air, plants in the house effectively increase air humidity, help reduce noise levels, and absorb harmful substances, which are abundant in the apartment. Some plants are able to neutralize the negative effects of household radiation. And then there is aromatherapy and color therapy, in which plants play an important role.

Dear readers! Of course, it is problematic to describe all useful indoor plants within the framework of one article. The fact that all plants are phytoncidal has already been mentioned. Not all properties have been investigated. Experiments are carried out mainly with plants used in folk medicine, and even there is still an unplowed field. So far we are using what is reliably known. And we start a personal healing garden in our own home.

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Anna Evans

Author ✓ Farmer

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