The basic roles of indoor plants in human health and comfort

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2018 Dec;25(36):36087-36101. doi: 10.1007/s11356-018-3554-1. Epub 2018 Nov 1.


Humans have a close relationship with nature, and so integrating the nature world into indoor space could effectively increase people's engagement with nature, and this in turn may benefit their health and comfort. Since people spend 80-90% of their time indoors, the indoor environment is very important for their health. Indoor plants are part of natural indoor environment, but their effect on the indoor environment and on humans has not been quantified. This review provides a comprehensive summary of the role and importance of indoor plants in human health and comfort according to the following four criteria: photosynthesis; transpiration; psychological effects; and purification. Photosynthesis and transpiration are important mechanisms for plants, and the basic functions maintaining the carbon and oxygen cycles in nature. Above all have potential inspiration to human's activities that people often ignored, for example, the application of solar panel, artificial photosynthesis, and green roof/facades were motivated by those functions. Indoor plants have also been shown to have indirect unconscious psychological effect on task performance, health, and levels of stress. Indoor plants can act as indoor air purifiers, they are an effective way to reduce pollutants indoor to reduce human exposure, and have been widely studied in this regard. Indoor plants have potential applications in other fields, including sensing, solar energy, acoustic, and people's health and comfort. Making full use of various effects in plants benefit human health and comfort.

Keywords: Health; Indoor plants; Photosynthesis; Psychological effect; Purification; Transpiration.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / prevention & control*
  • Environmental Psychology*
  • Humans
  • Photosynthesis
  • Plant Transpiration
  • Plants*