The temptation of a good job brought Nidhi Sahni to Delhi. However when she saw her new living space in a posh colony of the capital, she was shocked. At her hometown, she used to live in a spacious house with proper ventilation but here, she has to adjust in a two-room-flat with just a balcony and no window.

“At the first glance, I thought let’s go back. There at least I will not die in suffocation,” says Nidhi. After thinking a lot about it, she found a solution to the problem.“I bought a lot of plants for my new home. Those plants helped me purify the air at home. I had studied horticulture in my graduation and knew about house plants’, she claims.

Pure air is an essential need for a healthy home environment. Various studies like US Environmental Protection Agency study and other researches show that people spend 65 to 90 % of their time indoors. About 65 % of that time is spent at home. The chance of indoor pollution is very high. Thus keeping plants at home would keep the environment clean and healthy.
A house plant is a plant that is grown indoors, in places like residences and offices. These plants are commonly grown for decorative purposes and health reasons.

Sashwati Mukherjee, a Mumbai based horticulturist says, “There is an increased demand of house plants due to rise in health risks. These plants are being used to minimize health problems.”

There are many things which contribute to the indoor pollution. Some common pollutants at home are dust, spores, pollen, smoke and fumes. These pollutants can be the result of daily activites like cooking, bathing etc. Common symptoms of exposure to high indoor pollution levels include headache, tiredness, dizziness, nausea and scratchy throat.

Dr. Rajesh Vatsa, a physician says, “Asthma and breathing problems are one of the most common ailments among people. Many of us think that only outdoor pollution causes these health problems but it’s not completely true. Burning fuels, poor ventilation and dust at home are major contributors to this.”

According to WHO every year, 1.6 million people die due to indoor air pollution - that's one death every 20 seconds. Indoor air pollution is considered as the 8th most important risk factor which is responsible for 2.7 percent of the global diseases.

The major indoor air pollutants are by-products of combustions like carbon dioxide, carbonmonooxide, tobacco smoking like cigarette and beedi, pesticides and other volatile organic compounds like paints, aerosols sprays, air fresheners and so on. .Studies of human exposure to air pollution indicate that indoor levels of many of these household pollutants may be 2-5 times higher than outdoor levels.

The house plants like Boston fern, English Ivy, Spider plant are some of the inexpensive and aesthetically pleasing plants to filter toxins from home.
Mukherjee says, ‘these plants ensure to clean the air by soaking up the pollutants present inside the house.’

But not every house plant helps in purify the indoor pollution. “Like each human being is different from another, the house plants are also different from each other. Some of them are poisonous in nature despite being used for some good reason. Aloe Vera is one such example which causes contact dermatitis to sensitive individuals. Its inner yellow juicy part (latex) is the primary irritant in the case of contact dermatitis.” Mukherjee says.