In the 1700s, interiorplants were considered to be capable of suffocating a person while they slept. Still, people kept plants in their homes despite the warnings ( Gowan, 1987 ), demonstrating an inherent desire for plants. Today, an urbanized
A well-known research report showed that being in a hospital room with a view of trees rather than a view of a building was linked to the use of fewer pain-reducing medications by patients recovering from surgery. The experiment reported here was designed to further examine the role of plants in pain perception. We found that more subjects were willing to keep a hand submerged in ice water for 5 min if they were in a room with plants present than if they were in a room without plants. This was found to be true even when the room without plants had other colorful objects that might help the subject focus on something other than the discomfort. Results from a room assessment survey confirmed that the room with colorful, nonplant objects was as interesting and colorful as the room with plants present, but the presence of plants was perceived as making the air in the room fresher.
Plants are widely used in building environments; however, studies reporting the health and discomfort symptoms of people in response to indoor foliage plants are few. The objective of the presented studies was to assess the effect of foliage plants or a combination of foliage plants and full-spectrum fluorescent lamps on self-reported health and discomfort complaints in three different work environments: an office building, an X-ray department in a Norwegian hospital, and a junior high school. Health and discomfort symptoms were found to be 21% to 25% lower during the period when subjects had plants or plants and full-spectrum lighting present compared to a period without plants. Neuropsychological symptoms, such as fatigue and headache, and mucous membrane symptoms, such as dry and hoarse throat, seemed to be more affected by the treatments than skin symptoms, such as itching skin.
Foliage plants were added to different environments, including an office and a computer lab. Relative humidity and air-borne particulate matter were monitored in the presence and absence of the plants. When the relative humidity was low, the addition of plants increased the relative humidity slightly, but significantly, over that when no plants were present. Particulate matter accumulation was not increased in the presence of plants. Some have hypothesized that the growing medium could be a source of increased particulates when plants are used indoors. Some of our experiments used self-watering containers, irrigated from below, resulting in very dusty conditions in the top of the container. If the growing medium could contribute to increases in particulate matter, we should have detected it in this study.
Twelve 20-minute thermal biofeedback sessions were conducted with 26 university students. Visual stimuli were provided by a living foliage plant, a life-sized color photograph of that plant, or a metal stool (control). Of the participants, 38% responded positively to the presence of a live plant or plant photograph, while 23% showed lower stress in the control room. Stress reduction, as indicated by higher skin temperatures, occurred within the first 5 to 8 minutes of a 20-minute thermal-biofeedback session. A nonplant visual stimulus was not part of the experiment. The results are not intended as comparative, nor do they attribute unique or superior effects to plants. Due to the small number of participants, no significant results were obtained, but the trends were important and are being reported to help further research in this area.
Many undergraduates major in horticulture because they love working with plants. When they hear research that documents how people respond-to plants, some students -begin to understand why they have responded positively to plants, and they want to learn more about the topic. This paper 1) discusses the potential to use students' excitement about human issues in horticulture to teach principles that educators consider important components of a baccalaureate degree, and 2) presents the case of one student to demonstrate how it can be done.
conducted ( Lohr et al., 1996 ) to assess the influence that interiorplants have on worker productivity and stress reduction in windowless office environments. Some subjects worked on computers in rooms where plants were present, whereas other subjects
Throughout history, plants have been used to benefit people. In the United States, formal research to document the impacts of plants on people was not published until the 1970s, when papers from social and medical scientists began to appear. In the 1990s, symposia, including the first on “The Role of Horticulture in Human Well-being and Social Development,” brought people together from around the world to share and expand their knowledge in this emerging field. Symposium participants have included researchers in the social sciences and plant sciences, practitioners in horticultural therapy, teachers in colleges and public gardens, industry representatives applying the knowledge, and more. This has formed the basis for current activities in research, teaching, and practice throughout the United States. Examples from research that now documents a variety of beneficial impacts of plants on people are discussed.
nervous and experienced less anxiety when in a room with interiorplants or a view of outside nature. Studies have also shown workers who performed their job function in offices with windows or interiorplants had higher job satisfaction. Randall and