Detox with Pretty Plants

Houseplants lend atmosphere to a room by bringing a bit of the outdoors inside. But did you know that all plants filter toxins from the air? That’s a great benefit to you.

Indoor air may be more polluted than outdoor air, especially if your home or work place is “air tight”. Chemicals outgas from plastics, carpet, furniture, wall coverings and other synthetic materials polluting your air. After you breathe these chemicals into your lungs, they can be absorbed into your body. If your body can’t eliminate them, they get stored in your tissues.

Stored chemicals can cause pain, disability and even lead to cancer.

So put a few houseplants in your home or work place to freshen up the air for you. A plant by your computer printer will help eliminate those nasty VOCs (volatile organic compounds). VOCs may cause dizziness, fatigue, nausea, kidney or liver damage and even cancer. New paint or varnished furniture may emit VOCs also.

According to a study performed at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia two common houseplants do a great job of stripping VOCs from the air. Just five Sweet Chicos and one Janet Craig may reduce VOCs in a 130-square-foot room (like a bedroom size) by up to 70%.

Where do these noxious chemicals come from? The mainly emanate from new products in your home, especially new carpet, new furniture, new mattresses and press board furniture.


N.A.S.A. suggests this sampling of house plants to purify the indoor air:

English Ivy (Hedera helix)

Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

Golden pothos or Devil’s ivy (Scindapsus aures or Epipremnum aureum)

Peace lily (Spathiphyllum ‘Mauna Loa’)

Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema modestum)

Bamboo palm or reed palm (Chamaedorea sefritzii)

Snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’)


Red-edged dracaena (Dracaena marginata)

Cornstalk dracaena (Dracaena fragans ‘Massangeana’)

Janet Craig dracaena (Dracaena deremensis ‘Janet Craig’)

Warneck dracaena (Dracaena deremensis ‘Warneckii’)

Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)

Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica)


Philodendrons – best for removing formaldehyde from indoor air pollution

Heartleaf philodendron (Philodendron oxycardium, syn. Philodendron cordatum)

Selloum philodendron (Philodendron bipinnatifidum, syn. Philodendron selloum)

Elephant ear philodendron (Philodendron domesticum)


Good for removing benzene from the air:

Gerbera Daisy or Barberton daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)

Pot Mum or Florist’s Chrysanthemum (Chrysantheium morifolium)

My very favorite indoor plant – the Spider plant grows like crazy. But it does like a lot of indirect sun. And it’s so prolific, just keeps shooting out those spiders with several little plants on the end. I love to hang them from the ceiling.


Eventually they simply outgrow their container and you have to separate them and repot them. Just stick the little spider plants in some water and watch the roots form, then pot them. Or leave the little spiders attached to the mother plant when you stick them in the soil in a pot and let them stay attached until they are well rooted.


Two caveats to using houseplants:

1. If you are allergic to mold you may have to forego the houseplants because mold grows in the soil.

2. Some plants are poisonous, so be careful if you have small children and pets. Keep the plants out of their reach.


Dr. Jo




About Dr. Jo

Dr. JoDr. Jo delights in sharing the message of health. She believes disease is optional if you know how to take care of yourself. And she’s a great coach to help you reverse or prevent disease.

So she writes this blog to keep you up to date with information that may undermine your health if you are not aware of it. She also provides tips on healthy living, how to reverse degenerative diseases, delicious recipes, and ways to enjoyably change your habits to healthy ones.

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