The 2013-2014 beijingkids Health Guide is the latest resource for Beijing families dedicated to providing information on family health care, maternity, eating and breathing safety, mental health, emergency care and traditional Chinese Medicine. Articles from the guide will be featured twice a week on our website. Find the full version here.
It’s a sign of our times that clean, breathable air has become a commodity. But enjoying a healthy home environment does not have to be solely an indulgence for those who can afford pricey purifiers – research has shown that there are numerous plants that can make a considerable improvement on the air quality in your home. Here are some of the most effective and readily available varieties around town.
Aloe 芦荟 (ru(2) hui(4))
Not only is Aloe great for your skin, it is also highly effective when it comes to filtering out formaldehyde and benzene (a byproduct of paints, cleaning agents and cigarettes). Leave it in a sunny spot near a window.
Areca Palm 风尾竹 (feng(4) wei(3) zhu(2))
These upright perennials are good for just about any room in the house (shoulder high plants are recommended) and are good for filtering out formaldehyde and xylene. They also efficiently convert CO2 to oxygen.
Azaleas 杜 鹃花 (du(4) juan(1) hua(1))
Azaleas can purify the air from irritants present in insulation, as well as in foam carpet pads. They grow well in cool areas so keep them away from your heater.
Boston Fern 波斯顿蕨 (bo(1) si(1) dun(4) jue(2))
This tropical plant grows quickly and loves bright, sunlit rooms (with indirect light) and can not only remove common indoor pollutants but also humidifies the air (a must-have for Beijing).
Chinese Evergreen 广东万年青(guang(3) dong(1) wan(4) nian(2) qing(1))
A native of southern China, this plant is thought to not only bring good luck, but also to be great for purifying indoor air. They are extremely easy to grow and do well in low light environments.
Chrysanthemum 菊花 (ju(2) hua(1))
As well as making a tasty tea, chrysanthemums filter out benzene molecules released in the air by plastics, detergents and tobacco smoke.
Marginata 马尾铁树 (ma(3) wei(3) tie(3) shu(4))
Alternately known as “Janet Craig” and the “Striped Dracaena,” these plants can grow up to fifteen feet and need medium light. They are effective at filtering out formaldehyde, benzene and xylene – but take care with your pooch, as they are poisonous to dogs.
Mother-in-Law Tongue 虎皮兰(hu(3) pi(2) lan(2))
Also known as “Snake Plants,” Mother-in-Law Tongue is the perfect bedroom plant as it converts CO2 to oxygen at night. Around six waist-high plants per person are recommended.
Money Plant 绿萝 (lu(4) luo(2))
Also known as “Golden Pothos” and “Devil’s Ivy,” this common houseplant is in the top three formaldehyde filters. Be sure to water it less frequently in cold weather.
Peace Lily 百合花 (bai(3) he(2) hua(1))
If there were ever a plant designed for Beijing winters, this is it. Peace Lilies are tolerant of cold and humidify the air. They are also excellent at removing contaminants and pollutants like benzene, formaldehyde and acetone. But keep them out of the reach of pets and small children; the plant is poisonous if ingested.
Rubber Plant 橡胶树 (xiang(4) pi(2) shu(4))
Another tropical plant well-suited for apartments, the rubber plant removes formaldehyde and looks great with its sleek and shiny leaves.
Spider Plant 吊兰 (diao(4) lan(2))
A native of South America, Spider Plants are extremely easy to grow and great for removing carbon dioxide and can also filter out formaldehyde and xylene. They are especially effective around kitchen gas stoves.
Sprouts 芽 (ya (2))
Believe it or not, the lowly sprout is fantastic at producing oxygen. Buckwheat, sweet pea and sunflower sprouts can all do the trick and are tasty to boot.
This article originally appeared on pages 46-47 of the beijingkids Health Guide.
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