Like many millennials, I have a deep abiding love of house plants and flowers. It began innocently enough — One Majesty Palm tree to spruce up the corner of my living room. It quickly spiraled into a few more palms, various spider plants, Boston ferns, and orchids. I'm also a huge fan of having fresh cut flowers around the house as well. They just brighten everything up. And it goes beyond looking cheerful. Recent studies have shown that there are some really interesting benefits to having fresh flowers in your house that you might not have considered when you were picking out your plants and bouquets.
There has been significant recent study given on the how the environment you inhabit affects your daily life. Some of the experiments revolve around healing, others have examined how their simple change on the environment can impact your physical and mental wellbeing. Since more people in our generation than ever before are adorning their spaces with copious amounts of plants and flowers, the interest in these types of studies has spiked.
Having spent long hours researching the perfect flowers for my horoscope, or the ideal plant for my allergies, I was not surprised to learn that the benefits of having flowers in your home are numerous.
1. It Can Help With Pain
It's not just that receiving flowers feels good — it can actually make you feel better. A 2008 study looking at post-operative patients found that "patients in hospital rooms with plants and flowers had significantly fewer intakes of postoperative analgesics" — that's a fancy word for pain relievers — "more positive physiological responses evidenced by lower systolic blood pressure and heart rate," and also lower reported levels of pain.
2. It Can Help Your Memory
Sounds ridiculous, right? But it's not. An experiment reported by the BBC involving the aromatherapeutic qualities of rosemary and lavender found that the scent of fresh rosemary in your environment might help improve your short term recall. Had I only known this when I was cramming for finals in undergrad, I'd have worn a rosemary corsage to take the test. I could have used the boost.
3. They Help Relax Your Brain
A study published in Complementary Therapies In Medicine looked at how you feel when you have fresh flowers in your environment, and what it does to your brain. Researchers gave college-aged women fresh, red roses for their room and then performed surveys and MRIs to understand the results. As it turns out, just having the flowers in their environment significantly reduced their feelings of stress, and this was shown in the studies of their prefrontal cortices.
4. They May Increase The Brain Activity That Controls Your Mood
There might be a link between an increased level of brain activity that boosts the mood and overall sense of wellbeing with viewing fresh flowers and plants, noted Narrative Oncology. The potential link is so compelling that hospitals that treat cancer are now encouraging their patients who have the ability to garden and live among plants.
5. They Might Help You Sleep
A German study found that the jasmine plant might help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Researchers wrote that initially, the scientists were highly skeptical that anything would come of the study, but then they wrote, "We have discovered a new class of GABA receptor modulator which can be administered parentally and through the respiratory air." That means that the smell is affecting the same mechanism that sleeping drugs connect with. They continued to say that "applications in sedation, anxiety, excitement and aggression relieving treatment and sleep induction therapy are all imaginable. The results can also be seen as evidence of a scientific basis for aromatherapy."
6. They Clean The Air
Let's face it, our world is polluted. We walk outside, and the smells of gasoline, garbage, and various other chemicals permeate the air. Indoors isn't much better. Thankfully, plants and flowers help to clean the toxins from the air, noted The University of Hawaii. Researchers wrote that "plants absorb volatile organic compounds from the air into their leaves and then translocate them to their root zone, where microbes break them down."