It doesn’t take a botanist to know that happy green plants are an instant visual pick-me-up. But these five mood-boosting plants—all of which are scientifically proven to improve your day—take self-care one step further. Add one (or all) to your home this season for an all-natural antidepressant that doubles as decor.
For thousands of years, this pretty, flowering herb has been used medicinally to calm nerves, relieve headaches, ease labor pains, prevent insomnia, and aid in depression. (Its soothing scent is still a mainstay in aromatherapy treatments.) While countless scientific studies have vouched for its effectiveness, a particularly illuminating 2009 study discovered that the scent of lavender had tangible effects on lowering pulse rates on nursing students in stressful situations.
Referred to as “the plant of immortality” by the Egyptians, this beloved green was traditionally hung over doorways to ward off evil spirits. From a holistic standpoint, it’s thought to bring positive energy to the home. And from a scientific one, it both purifies the air of common carcinogens and emits oxygen at nighttime, helping us to sleep better…and be less cranky in the morning. (It was also found to improve memory and reduce depression in mice!)
3. English Ivy
Fun fact: This romantic, creeping vine is an insanely effective air purifier. (It was dubbed by NASA scientists as the number one best air-filtering houseplant.) These guys are especially gifted at sucking up carcinogens (such as smog or secondhand smoke), and making a more pure, breathable environment indoors. Bonus points: They’re super easy to care for and don’t require much water or light to thrive.
In addition to its lovely silken leaves and delicious scent, everybody’s favorite fresh herb also contains high amounts of an organic compound called linalool (which is commonly used in aromatherapy). A team of Japanese scientists famously conducted a lab rat study that found that exposure to linalool reduces the activity of hundreds of genes that typically go into overdrive during stressful situations. So stop and smell the basil, y’all.
5. Peace Lily
With its striking, sculptural white blooms, this plant is equal parts beauty and function. Peace lilies are known for effectively removing mold spores in the air and also neutralizing toxic gases like carbon monoxide and formaldehyde. Essentially, they’re organic air purifiers that can make you even more comfortable in your own home.
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