Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) : air purifying plant and health benefits

Spider plant or Chlorophytum comosum is an ornamental indoor plant native of Africa. This plant is extremely important both because of its indoor air purifying capacity and medicinal properties. Spider plant basically is a small herb reach upro 2 feet with tuberous rhizomes (1).

Common names

  • Airplane plant
  • Hen and chicken
  • Spider ivy
  • Ribbon plant

5 effective health benefits of Spider plant

The roots of the Spider plants has great medicinal value. In Chinese tradition the roots of spider plant are used for the treatment of bronchitis, burn and bone fracture (2).

1.Healthy liver

The root extracts of spider plants are used to study the hepatoprotective activity on rats (3). The extracts of spider plant root helps in reducing the inflammatory process of the liver thus helps in healing.

2. Potential prebiotic

Spider plant leaves helps in establishing the intestinal microorganisms thus acts as a potential prebiotic substance for healthy bowel movement and healthy stomach (4).

3. Anti cancerous

The roots of spider plants has been studied against 4 different human cell line mainly HeLA, HL-60 and U937 for different types of tumors. The roots extracts therefore helps in suppressing the tumour activity by apoptosis or death of cell. Although further elaborate experiments are yet to be done (1).

4. Effective against cough and cold

The whole plant extract of Spider plants helps in reducing the cough and thus relaxing the chest congestion.In Chinese tradition the extract of the spider plant is used against bronchitis and cough related problem (5).

5. Bone healing and burn

Chinese tradition uses spider plant extract for healing the fractured bone and burns (5).

Spider plant indoor air purifier

Besides the medicinal properties of Spider plant it is also a beautiful indoor ornamental plant with air purifying quality. Spider plant absorbs indoor air pollutants like toluene, formaldehyde, ozone and hydrocarbons .

1. Spider plant removes Formaldehyde

In an extensive study done by NASA (6), it was found that spider plant with total leaf surface area of 2400 cm square able to absorb around 10300 micrograms of formaldehyde from a sealed chamber.

Formaldehyde is one of the common indoor air pollutant which is mainly release form paints, wooden polish, particleboards, plywoods, garage items, automobile oils etc.

Formaldehyde is a colourless, strong smelling chemical gas and has a potential of causing both long term and short term health hazards. Short term health effects includes burning or nose, eyes, throats and skin irritation. Whereas long term health side effects includes cancer (7).

2. Spider plant absorbs Toluene

Another harmful indoor air pollutant which is absorbed by spider plant is toluene. Gasoline, solvents in paints, plastic and soda bottles, paint cosmetics and other organic chemicals are the major source of toluene. Toluene exposure is harmful to both children’s and adults. Long term exposure to toluene  causes central nervous system dysfunction and necrosis. Children’s exposes to this harmful pollutants also suffers developmental problems and reproductive problems in females. Short term effects are Irritation of upper respiratory tract and eyes (8).

3. Spider plant removes Ozone

Spider plant efficiently absorbs ozone from the indoor atmosphere. Studies done on three indoor plants namely snake plant, spider plant and pothos plant showed that all are very efficient in absorbing ozone from the environment therefore are capable of reducing air born contanmination (9).

Ozone (O3) is one of the most powerful oxidant found in our atmosphere. Indoor ozone concentration increases due to use of copy machine, laser printer, ultraviolet lightening and air purification system. Direct inhalation is the main reason of ozone toxicity in humans. Exposure to ozone also results in pulmonary edema, hemorrhage, inflammation, and extensive lesions on the lung tissue, trachea, and upper bronchi. Other sources of indoor ozone emission are softwoods, paints, cleaning products etc (10).

4. Spider plant reduces Hydrocarbons

Hydrocarbons are volatile organic compounds emitted from various sources like fossil combustion and other activity. Hydrocarbons are carcinogenic in its nature. When inhaled in its gaseous form may causes permanent lung damage and other respiratory related disorders. Spider plant can helps in absorbing hydrocarbons thus provides a clean fresh indoor environment.

How to grow and maintain a Spider plant

Spider plant are herbaceous in its nature. Growing and maintenance of spider plant is relatively easy. We can decorate our house by potting spider plant either  hanging form or traditional potting. The plant is easy in maintenance.

  1. Direct sunlight is prefentiable for the spider plant to grow, but it can also thrive successfully under indirect sunlight.
  2. Irrigate the plant either daily during summer season or alternatively during winter season.
  3. Normal N,P,K liquid fertilizers are enough for the proper nourishment of the plant.
  4. Propagation is simply by dividing the roots with leaves into new pot. The plant is basically tuberous in its nature so propagation by tubers is also possible.
  5. Soil for potting should be mix of sand and peat with proper aeration system  and fast daining.

References

  1. Braria Alisha et al. Int. Res. J. Pharm. 2014, 5(7).
  2. https://keio.pure.elsevier.com/en/publications/apoptosis-induced-in-human-cell-lines-by-a-butanol-extract-from-c
  3. http://www.sciencepublishinggroup.com/journal/paperinfo.aspx?journalid=655&doi=10.11648/j.ajbls.20130101.16
  4. https://www.jpsr.pharmainfo.in/Documents/Volumes/vol9Issue06/jpsr09061723.pdf
  5. https://books.google.co.in/books?id=62n7CAAAQBAJ&pg=PA566&lpg=PA566&dq=chlorophytum+comosum+cough&source=bl&ots=ot0oU3wizo&sig=dfufXnZVPD98lc3DhpLkIhSRSDA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjF3c790vfeAhXSXysKHSk3BoAQ6AEwFXoECAwQAQ
  6. https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19930073077.pdf
  7. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/substances/formaldehyde/formaldehyde-fact-sheet
  8. https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-09/documents/toluene.pdf
  9. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/2ebb/696d0ccd82fff6b63aa83527e408acf9f0e4.pdf
  10. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF02858837

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