| A Healthier You |


Let’s find out how plants can actually improve our health

Lots of teens take great pleasure in decorating the succah and making it a beautiful place to be. Some people use live plants and greenery to decorate the succah. But did you know that introducing live plants to your life could actually make you healthier? Not just in the succah, but year-round. Get started with bringing some fresh greenery into the succah, and then take it indoors for the long winter ahead.

Let’s find out how plants can actually improve our health, and which plants to try.

Allergy attacks. Fatigue. Asthma. Headaches. Tickly coughs. All unpleasant. And all can be caused by different triggers. For some people, one of those triggers could be chemicals lurking around the home, silently affecting those who are breathing them in, all day, every day. Particularly as the weather cools down and we hunker down for the winter, closed windows and heating systems combined with a lack of fresh air can cause chemicals in your environment to have a negative affect on your health.

Here are some good plants to try, recommended for their air-purifying abilities:

Aloe Vera

Areca Palm

Boston Fern

Dragon Tree (Dracena Marginata)

Rubber Plant (Ficus Elastica)

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum)

Snake Plant (Sansevieria)


Weeping Fig (Ficus Benjamina)

These plants are a great place to start, but there are many other awesome plants you can use to keep your room or house look (and smell) fresher, even more beautiful and — healthier! Use a trendy flowerpot or funky receptacle and make it even more fun!

Where do all those chemicals come from?

Really, from anywhere.

Just some examples: paint, electronics (like computers), certain glues, furniture wax, laundry detergents and commercial cleaning solutions, furniture, household renovations, preservatives, and various sprays used around the house.

All of the above can contain chemicals (benzene, phthalates, trichloroethylene, parabens, xylene, formaldehyde, toluene, phenols, ammonia, just to name a few!) that affect the air that we breathe, silently and, in some cases, dangerously. Studies have linked high levels of certain chemicals to all sorts of health issues, including high cholesterol, thyroid disease, breathing and lung problems, liver issues, and even cancer. If that isn’t enough, it’s been suggested that some of these chemicals can negatively impact the immune system, endocrine system, and nervous system.

But don’t panic. Just bring in the greens. (And if you desire, explore alternative and natural products to replace the regular, chemical-filled products.)

Studies have shown that certain plants have amazing toxin-clearing and air-purifying powers. They also release humidity (which can help avoid dry, irritating air), and even increase oxygen. And they’re just plain pretty, which can help boost your mood, too!



Some plants are poisonous. Check before purchasing to ensure that the plant is safe to keep around small children and toddlers who may attempt a nibble!

Many commercial air-freshening products (like the spray you keep in the bathroom) contain chemicals that may be harmful to your health. Try a beautiful and fragrant jasmine plant instead.

Some experts say that filling your space with plants can lower your stress levels. You may also benefit from increased creativity and productivity as you work surrounded by your plants.


(Originally featured in Teen Pages, Issue 931)

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