Snake Plant (Sansevieria) – air purifying indoor plant & health benefits

Snake Plant air purification & health benefits

Snake Plant

Snake plant is a native of tropical countries like India, Indonesia, and Africa. This plant has a typical evergreen sword-shaped leaves propagate mainly creeping rhizome. Due to the succulent nature of the snake plant, it requires less water to survive(1). Snake plant is grown both indoor and outdoors as a decorative plant.

Along with its beautiful foliage structure, the plant is also an efficient air purifier as per NASA research. The plant efficiently absorbed benzene, formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene from indoor air. It also has a higher efficiency of absorbing carbon dioxide (2) and it is one of the few plants that release oxygen during the night.

Common name

Mother-in-law’s-tongue

Botanical name

Sansevieria trifasciata.

Health benefits

1. Absorbs Carbon Dioxide

In a study done in 2015, it was observed that snake plants can remove carbon dioxide during night time and release oxygen. Thus helps in providing better life quality and healthy environment (2).

2. Absorbs benzene

According to WHO major source of benzene are automobiles from the attached garage, heating and cooking systems, solvents. Exposure to benzene causes nausea, headache and vomiting, have the low but non-negligible carcinogenic risk. Source of benzene are tools and attached garages, gas and charcoal cooking, solvents, etc (3) (4). Snake plants help in absorption of benzene in indoor conditions.

3. Removes formaldehyde

Snake plants help in absorbing formaldehyde from air according to studies done by NASA. formaldehyde emits from cooking. Smoking, cosmetics, paints, etc. As per WHO studies indoor wooden furniture with formaldehyde resin paints are the main source of formaldehyde pollution (5)

4. Absorbs xylene

According to the Department of health and human service U.S.A., xylene is produced from a petroleum product. Typically indoor air has xylene 1-10 ppb. Buildings with poor ventilation have a higher indoor level of xylene. Other sources of xylene are paints and wooden furniture (6). Therefore snake plants are useful in the building with poor ventilation to absorb xylene from the indoor environment and thus helps in coping with sick building syndrome.

5. Absorbs toluene

Exposure to pollutant toluene causes central nervous system dysfunction and necrosis. Children’s exposes to this harmful pollutants also suffers developmental problems and reproductive problems in females. Irritation of upper respiratory tract and eyes. The major source of toluene pollution is gasoline, solvents in paints, plastic and soda bottles, paint cosmetics and other organic chemicals (7). Snake plants also help in removing toluene from the indoor environment.

How to take care of a snake plant

Snake plant or Sansevieria are very hardy and tolerant plants. They can survive in drought and without very low or no maintenance. Irrigation is one of the most important parts if we are talking about taking care of a plant. Water requirement of each and every plant are different. Some need regular watering, some periodic basis.

Water: Keeping a snake plant in house one should be very careful about when and how much water should be given to the plant. Over Watering of the snake, plants result in root rotting. Therefore please make sure that the soil is almost dry before watering a snake plant.

Light: Snake plant require medium light, therefore,e shade or indoor environment is very appropriate for the good growth of the snake plant.

Soil: porous soil or soil having proper drainage are most appropriate for the snake plants. Snake plant roots rots very easily if there is water logging in the soil. Therefore proper aerated and porous soil is required for a snake plant.

Fertilizers: Snake plants are very hardy plants require very fewer fertilizers. Organic manure is although best for a snake plant. Fortified the soil once in a year with either organic manure or all-purpose plant fertilizers.

Propagation: Snake plants mainly propagate through rhizomes and leaf cuttings. Propagation by rhizomes is best if the plant is in the garden. Leaf-cutting propagation is best for the potted plants. Cut a leaf of the plant (2 to 3 inches) and place them one inch deep into the soil. The propagation should be done in spring or summer seasons.

More articles on indoor air purifying plant

  1. Pothos plant (Epipremnum aureum) –  health benefits & air purification
  2. Anthurium andraeanum-  health benefits & air purification 
  3. Boston fern: health benefits & air purification
  4. Areca Palm: health benefits & air purification
  5. Bamboo Palm: health benefits as an indoor plant

References

  1. http://www.ijsr.net/archive/v4i7/SUB157084.pdf
  2. https://conferencealerts.com/show-event?id=148731
  3. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/publications/healthy-living/guidance-benzene-residential-indoor-air.html
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK138708/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK138711/
  6. https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/ToxProfiles/tp71-c1-b.pdf
  7. https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-09/documents/toluene.pdf

7 Comments

    • No, you can not eat a snake plant. It contains many secondary metabolites like alkaloids, tannins, and quinones. The extracts are antimicrobial in nature but can not be taken orally. Please don’t try to eat snake plant.

      • I was told making a tea with the snake plant- mother’s in laws tongue is good for diabetes I have never heard of this and think she may have mistaken for the alone Vera plant?

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