You Had Me at "Aloe"

HEALTH | FITNESS
2017
March/April

To loosely quote Lionel Richie: “Aloe? Is it me you’re looking for?” If you spend any time indoors, aloe could be just what you’re looking for. Our homes, offices and schools are a breeding ground for harmful bacteria, mold and other air pollutants that can wreak havoc on our bodies. By bringing the outdoors in, so to speak, in the form of aloe, lavender, spider plants, basil, Swiss chard and English Ivy, air quality can be improved. Health conditions such as asthma, allergies and inflammation can be eased by simply supplying your indoor space with these natural healers. Bringing plants among your indoor spaces combats nasty pollutants and improves the air quality in which you breathe. If any of these plants are exactly what you need, you can find them at Rainer Farms in Tyler.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is an ancient succulent that can be traced back to a Mesopotamian tablet that recorded its medicinal purposes. This commonly found houseplant enjoys warm climates and 6 to 8 hours of direct sun. Aloe vera is recognized across the globe for its wide array of health benefits. Jennifer Rainer, of Rainer Farms, states that aloe vera “is great for sleeping (and) produces lots of oxygen at night.” By clearing the air of benzene and formaldehyde, toxins found in paint and household cleaners, you can expect overall better air quality full of fresh oxygen. Aloe vera has also been used throughout the ages. Known as “the plant of immortality”, the great Egyptian queen, Cleopatra, used aloe vera for its soothing skin properties. The plant, once aged 5 years, produces a gel that can be applied topically to pacify cuts, burns, and scratches. Really, you had me at “aloe!”

Lavender

Need some encourage-“mint?” Lavender is a popular plant among the flowering genus of the mint family. This lovely plant produces a relaxing aroma and is sought after for its calming and peaceful properties. Lavender is noted to reduce stress and anxiety, decrease your heart rate and improve sleep. Applied topically, lavender oil has shown to benefit skin irritants and calm restless nerves. Native of the Mediterranean, lavender is most frequently grown outside where it can receive amble sunshine. To bring the plant indoors, place the lavender near a bright, south facing window to achieve the optimum growing setting. This pretty flowering plant will not only bring a pleasant piece of décor to your home, it can also keep a calmer household…that’s why it’s “mint” to be one of our favorite potted treasures. 

Spider Plant

The spider plant, named for its long, willowy, leg-like leaves, is another popular houseplant. There is nothing icky and scary about this greenery; however, it provides air quality control by battling formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, toluene, and xylene (found in household chemicals and gasoline additives). Rich in foliage with white flowers, the spider plant is a beloved houseplant as it is resilient and easy to grow. Bright, indirect sunlight and dry soil will keep your spider plant growing happily in your indoor space. No bugs about it!

Swiss chard

If you are searching for a potted plant to liven up your indoor space, the Swiss chard just cannot be “beet.” This dense leafy green is in the beet family yet it does not produce any beets. Attractive with its dark green leaves and red, white, and yellow stalks, the Swiss chard is rich with Vitamin A. In fact, the Swiss chard, when digested, has been said to aid in a heart health, prevent diabetes, maintain bone health, and improve digestion. The Medical News Today states: “Swiss chard contains high levels of nitrates, which have been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce the amount of oxygen needed during exercise and enhance athletic performance.” On top of all this leady goodness, Swiss chard is also known as one of the easiest vegetables to grow and makes and beautiful potted arrangement when paired with cabbage and lettuce. 

English Ivy

The English Ivy is highly recognizable by its green, cascading vines. Native to Europe and Western Asia, NASA has named the English Ivy “the number one best air-purifying plant.” HealthyFoodHouse.com states that this popular plant is a “beneficial plant in the home (that) helps to reduce airborne mold by up to 94%! It is especially useful in the case of asthma or breathing problems at night. As allergies, asthma and breathing problems occur mostly due to contaminants in the air; this affordable plant may also significantly improve the quality of your sleep.” Ivies are a staple décor piece found in offices and homes around the world and are easy to care for-just keep the air cool with moist soil. 

Basil

Basil is an herb that produces sprouts of colorful green leaves. This herb has been around since before the Egyptians who used its leaves for religious ceremonies. It was thought to be a magical herb in the Middle Ages when it was used as a defense against a mythical serpent monster. In its native soil of India, basil is planted at the front of the houses to repel insects. Brought inside, however, Basil brings antibacterial and antiseptic properties, and is said to bring a circulation of love around the space. For a quick garnish to any dish, grab a sprig of basil that is potted on your kitchen windowsill.

 

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