Natural plants are the only natural decorative piece that has unquestionable environmental health benefits in every space, contradicting the myth rooted in the common opinion that having plants at home is harmful to health. It is important to demystify this idea for more biotic and healthier homes.

The harmonious role that plants play in the ambience of a home is undeniable. The vast majority of people are looking to purchase artificial plants, taking advantage of the huge variety of replicas on the market that do not require constant housekeeping or watering. However, the presence of plants in the home goes far beyond mere decorative pieces accumulating dust, forgotten in any corner of the room.

In the natural process of photosynthesis, plants consume oxygen during the day and release carbon dioxide at night. Therefore, the myth was born that having plants at home is bad for our health by stealing oxygen from us (especially if they are in the room).

It turns out that this belief was demystified by Bill Wolverton, the researcher who developed NASA studies in the 1980s that would reveal the harmless role of plants in human health.

The presence of plants in the living space has been shown to be beneficial as they purify and revitalize air and eliminate up to 87% of indoor toxins within 24 hours. In practical life, if two people sleep in the same room, they produce much more carbon dioxide than if that same room is full of plants.

That said, there is no reason for not replacing artificial plants from the petrochemical industry and transmitting toxic components with natural plants that work as environmental purifiers, absorbing chemicals common in our home such as ammonia, acetone or carbon monoxide. These compounds are present in various decorative and building materials, notably in household cleaning products, carpets, paints or air fresheners. Each plant genus is sensitive to a particular type of substance, cleaning different chemical components of the environment.

It is therefore advisable to have some diversity of plants at home in order to eliminate a greater amount of toxins present in the air. Some species to choose from are: Sword-of-St. George, which releases oxygen at night and absorbs carbon dioxide; Tape Plant, which eliminates substances such as carbon monoxide; Raffia or Lady Palm, which annihilates chemicals such as Ammonia and Spatiphil, which eliminates substances such as acetone and benzene. The ideal will be to place a plant every 10 m2, especially in areas where more time is spent such as the living room, bedroom and kitchen. Plants should also be placed near fireplaces or gas stoves, as these are areas of constant toxin release.

A todos os amantes de plantas naturais com tendência a desenvolver reacções alérgicas, é importante que evitem proximidade com plantas em flor ou fragrâncias vegetais, de forma a não desencadear reacções como irritações nas mucosas respiratórias e oculares ou rinite alérgica.

Marcelina Guimarães and Miguel Fernandes, founders of Habitat Saudável, also advise that the construction of flower boxes, winter gardens or even the cultivation of potted plants contributes to the temperature and humidity regulation of the spaces. These solutions, together with the benefits already described, are still economically viable and can be used for food purposes if you choose a vertical herb / medicinal garden or a small vegetable garden.

You can find these and other tips on keeping your home healthy in the book. Uma Casa mais Saudável, uma Família mais Feliz, of editor “A Esfera dos Livros” and by Marcelina Guimarães and Miguel Fernandes.