Indoor Plants - The better Alternative of Air Purifier

Today educated people are more concerned about the indoor air, so that they can spend some quality time with their family in good quality air. Air purifiers cost a lot and also make irritating sounds sometimes. Due to these factors some people who are more inclined towards nature think about using indoor plants as an air purifier. But is it really possible for indoor plants to remove all pollutants from air ? Air pollution consists of all harmful gases present in the air that we breathe, but when it comes to air purification then it is more about particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) which is a major pollutant in metro cities and causing more health concerns.

Here our main motive is to know about the efficiency of indoor plants in removing air pollutants, and if they can act as a better alternative of air purifiers. But before we proceed, you must know that in reality air purifiers are an alternative of plants. We the humans have made air purifiers because we don't have enough plants in cities to keep the air clean.

How many pollutants of air can be removed by indoor plants?

We all known that plants consume carbon dioxide and generate oxygen (i.e. photosynthesis). Carbon Dioxide is just one pollutant that plants can remove from air. Ammonia, Benzene, Formaldehyde, Xylene, Trichloroethylene, Carbon Monoxide and Nitrogen Monoxide are some of the other harmful compounds that plants can remove from air. Truth about the pollutants mentioned above is that they come from home-building materials itself. So first we create a house that is itself a pollutant and then we put some plants inside it to keep the air clean (Such serious things make me laugh, whenever i write such articles).

Can we get rid of PM2.5 and PM10 using indoor plants ?

It is not sure if plants can consume particulate matter as a food, but they can capture particulate matter on their leaves. Some studies have shown that PM level decrease up to 50% if a house is surrounded by trees. Tree leaves even capture the metallic pollutants in the air. Spider plants are considered best to get rid of Particulate Matter (PM). Some of the particulate matter is trapped i its wax and some accumulate on their leaves. This accumulation is always more than what accumulates on plain surfaces of home, which means that spider plants accumulate more PM than what gravity pulls toward itself. Studies have shown that Spider Plant can decrease PM level by 35% (Reference). Even if we can't get rid of PM completely through indoor plants, the level can be easily dragged down which can make it breathable. We would suggest you to plant trees outside and keep some indoor plants to get an effective solution of particulate matter.

Do plants remove tobacco smoke from air ?

Tobacco smoke include toluene, formaldehyde, acetone and ammonia. Harmful gases can easily get absorbed by plants. Other harmful residues like some heavy metals, carcinogens, and even radioactive materials that are found in tobacco smoke may not get absorbed by plants but it can be trapped on leaves and soil up to some extent. But still we would never suggest you to smoke inside a house as it heavily increases the pollution level inside a house.

Which plants are best to clean indoor air?

The list of such plants is large. Most of them come from tropical forests which grow as small plants under the big trees and require lesser sunlight. Philodendron, spider plant, English ivy, peace lily, Chinese evergreen, bamboo palm, golden pothos, Boston fern, dwarf date palm, weeping fig and lady palm are some of the good plants that can keep the air clean and also provide a good look to your home.

Some Facts about Indoor Plants:

  • According to a NASA study done in 1989, an average sized indoor plant is sufficient to clean the air in a 100 sq. ft. room.
  • It is not just leaves that clean the air. Bacteria and fungi residing in the soil absorb pollutants and provide it as a food source to plant roots. So lower leaves of indoor plants should be cut to expose more soil.
  • Shape of leaves, size of leaves and waxes present on plant matters a lot to measure its ability to remove pollutants from air. All plants can't survive inside a house. So do a proper research before putting some plants inside your home.
  • No air purifier can remove as many gases from air as plants can do. If we make an air purifier to absorb some harmful gases then it would weigh in tonnes.
  • Air Pollution causes cancer and kills more people than any other disease on earth. According to WHO 4.3 million people are killed every year due to household air pollution. So plant trees and also keep some inside your house.

Indoor Plants vs Air Purifiers

Air purifiers can't get rid of harmful gases. They are only meant to remove tiny dust particles (or particulate matter) only up to some extent (not 100%). At most they can remove some bad odors using carbon filters, which makes them expensive. If you compare them with plants then plants always win, as they remove harmful gases and capture some particulate matter as well at very less cost. The expenses you need to make for am indoor plant just some water and a little care. Gardening is itself related to a better health, plus it can also give you better air to breathe. 

Note: Breathing is not optional, so think about yourself and the upcoming generations and plant trees to make the air clean. Reduce usage of those things which cause air pollution. 

Plantar Fasciitis : The pain in the Heel

Plantar Fasciitis is often diagnosed by pain in heel, especially when you wake up in the morning or when when you get up after having some rest. However this pain reduces within an hour, but again comes back after taking some rest. Previously experts used to think that it is due to bony growths called heel spurs, but now they know that heel spurs occur as a side effect of untreated Plantar Fasciitis.

What is Plantar Fasciitis ?

Plantar Fasciitis is pain due to tiny tears in Plantar Fascia. Plantar Fascia is a thick band of tissues reaching from heel to your toes, which acts as a shock-absorbing bowstring supporting the arch in your foot. Tiny tears in it occur due to various reasons and it may result in pain, especially when you get up after several hours of rest. Around 10% population faces this type of pain in heel at least once in a lifetime, which makes it a common health issue. Women are more prone to this disease, but it can also occur in men. It is a common problem among athletes, and most of the athletic foot injuries account for Plantar Fasciitis.
Our foot contains 25% of all bones in body, i.e. 52 to be precise. These bones give proper support to arch of the foot to bear the body weight in different positions and do the pushing movement. If some of these bones go out of alignment due to some reason, then it may result in Plantar Fasciitis.

What causes Plantar Fasciitis ?

Several hours of stress on foot without any break may result in tiny tears in Plantar Fascia, which is the most common reason behind Plantar Fasciitis. Some common causes of Plantar Fasciitis are:

  • Over stretching of foot
  • Unusual workload on foot
  • High-heeled shoes
  • Wearing worn-out shoes
  • Flat-foot people are more prone.
  • Hours of continuous driving can also result in Plantar Fasciitis, as there you need to continuously push the pedals.
  • Sudden weight gain is also associated with Plantar Fasciitis, which makes women more prone to this disease, as pregnancy causes rapid weight gain.
  • Ageing also makes you prone to this disease, as Plantar Fascia becomes rigid. Ageing reduces elasticity of some body tissues and makes them rigid.

Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis

Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis depends on severity of the condition. If the pain is bearable and you can walk easily then it may subside itself within 10 - 15 days. But if the condition worsens and the pain does not go away then you may need to see a medical practitioner or a specialist. In the mean time you may do following treatments at home to get some relief.

  • Rest: Ample amount of rest, even during the day time gives your body the time it needs to heal the micro-injuries.
  • Icing: Apply ice to your heel for at least twenty minutes twice a day. It will reduce the redness and swelling of tissues.
  • Stretching: Simple stretching exercise twice a day improves blood circulation to any tears or micro-injuries in Plantar Fascia, which is must to heal any injury. It also strengthens the muscles and ligaments around it.
  • Support: If the pain is more then heel seats, night splints, heel wraps, or taping can help you by providing more comfort to your heel.
  • Stop wearing improper footwear: If any footwear was the real culprit behind your condition, then you must abandon it before it makes the condition worse.

Good news about Plantar Fasciitis is that 90% cases get resolved with proper treatment within few months.

Plantar Fasciitis Exercises
Most common exercises to treat Plantar Fasciitis include stretching exercises that stretches your feet and calf. You may search for such exercise videos, which may be more beneficial.

Plantar Fasciitis Yoga

  • Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
  • Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)
  • Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana)
  • Hero Pose (Virasana)
  • Warrior Pose I (Virabhadrasana I)
  • Garland Pose (Malasana)

Most of the above mentioned yoga poses gives proper stretch to your foot, leg and calf muscles which makes them a proper yoga to get relief from Plantar Fasciitis. But if you feel uncomfortable in doing any of the above yoga, then it is better not to practice it.

Note: If you are not above 50 and facing Plantar Fasciitis without any sudden weight gain, then it might be due to excess stress on your foot, improper footwear or a combination of both. A proper treatment is must for this medical condition, as if it remains untreated then it may result in knee, hip or back problems.

Drinking Cold Water : Good or Bad ?

Drinking cold water is favorite task of most of the people after returning home on a hot day. But have you ever tried to find if it is a healthy habit or not. Normally we feel that cold water reduces the body temperature and helps in relaxing, which is true up to some extent. If you are doing a workout and drinking cold water during intervals then it keeps your core body temperature low and also keeps you hydrated. But the truth is that drinking cold water have an overall negative effect on your health.

Negative effects of Drinking Cold Water

  • Temperature of stomach plays an important role during digestion. Drinking cold water just after a meal hinders the digestion as it reduces the temperature below the optimum temperature required for digestion.
  • Cold water makes stomach muscles unable to work properly unless body raises their temperature. Proper functioning of stomach muscles is necessary to break the food before passing it into the intestine. If you have got a little knowledge of workout science, then you must have known the fact that warming-up of muscles is necessary before a workout (especially during winters), as cold muscles can't contract and relax easily and may result in muscle damage.
  • Drinking cold water can decrease the sterilization capacity of gastric acid. It can make some germs in your stomach food to be passed to your gut which may result is typhoid, dysentery, infectious diarrhea or enteritis.
  • When we drink the cold water, it disturbs the organs which come in direct contact with that water. So it affects respiratory system and the gastrointestinal system the most. Thus long term drinking of cold water makes our oral cavity and respiratory system mucous membrane more fragile. It may also result in inflammation, cough, pneumonia and bronchitis.
  • Cold water shrinks the blood vessels and reduces blood flow. It can increase the blood pressure temporarily. If you have got a bad habit of drinking cold water then are at increased risk of hypertension and cardio-vascular diseases. If you are already a patient of hypertension then drinking cold water increases your chances of cardio-vascular diseases.
  • If you drink cold water just after a meal then it results in excess mucus build-up, which may result in other side effects. An old study done during 1978 which involved 15 human subjects, found that drinking cold water made nasal mucous thicker.
  • A 2001 study found that drinking cold water can trigger migraine pain in those people who are already a patient of this disease.
  • According to Ayurveda and ancient Chinese medicine system, cold water with hot food creates imbalance in body. Drinking luke-warm water is recommended by these old traditional systems to get best results and better health.

Some people believe that drinking cold water make our body use some calories to rise its temperature to body temperature and thus helps in reducing weight. But in reality that type of calorie consumption is very less. The benefits of drinking cold water are lesser than disadvantages, so we don't recommend to drink cold water to reduce weight.

So if you ever have an urge to drink cold water then don't gulp it fast, instead sip it slowly and keep it for sometime in your mouth and then drink it. It will help in better relaxation from hot with least side effects on your body. You may drink cold water if you feel necessity but don't make it a habit. 

Air Quality in Indian Cities (PM10, NO2 and SO2 in your City)

Air Quality and Air Pollution is one of the things that most of the Indian population should known about. But only a few percent educated population of metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore seems to be searching for that on internet. PM10, NO2 and SO2 are three major pollutants and Indian government is monitoring them from past few years (but still it is increasing).

Here you will get air pollution data of most of the Indian cities. Usually only residents of metropolitan cities search for air quality index of their city and the residents of lesser known big cities remain unaware of their their air quality. Our intention behind this page is to bring that information. You may know about some major air pollutants (PM10, NO2 and SO2) level in your city by using the form below. Give it a try.

Check Air Pollution in your City (India Only)

Air Quality Standards for PM10, NO2 and SO2 (Annual) in µg/m3

Indian Standards40604050
WHO Standards10204020 / day

Note: The air quality data provided here might have changed now, but most probably it must have increased (instead of going low). It is due to less aware citizens, increasing industrialization, increasing population and lack of implementation of laws to save the environment.

Air Quality Trends in the US Cities

Here we have brought you the data about your air quality directly from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). You can check the the Air Quality in your city during past 16 years. We have tried our best to bring almost all US cities in this data. We have made it simple and user-friendly to extract the data of your choice. However the states shown in the list provided below are actually categorized according to Core-Based Statistical Area. We hope that you will find it easy and user friendly to access air pollution data of past 16 years.

Check Air Pollution Trends in your City