Make Your Own Fresh Air

Photo: istockphotos/ vspn24
Breathe easier with three plants that can boost indoor air quality.

Kamal Meattle had a problem with breathing: he was allergic to the New Delhi air around him. Rather than walking around with an oxygen tank all day, Meattle (with the help of NASA) found a way to grow his own fresh air indoors by combining three easy-to-find household plants. The three plants are the Areca Palm, Mother-in-law’s Tongue and the Money Plant. Here’s what you need to know about how the plants can help purify your air.

The Living Room Plant Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens): converts CO2 into oxygen very efficiently. For each person in the home/building, you need four shoulder-height plants and the leaves need to be wiped about once a week (or once a day if the air is as particularly dirty), and they need to be taken outdoors every three to four months.



The Bedroom Plant Mother-in-law’s Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata): converts CO2 into oxygen at night. There need to be six to eight waist-height plants per person, but they don’t require much maintenance.


The Specialist Plant Pothos (Epipremnum aureum): helps remove formaldehyde and other harmful chemicals from the air.

Meattle claims that if you were put in a bottle with nothing but these three plants, they would constantly produce enough fresh air for you to stay alive. The true test of this three-plant system involved a 50,000-square-foot building in New Delhi, more than 1,200 plants and 300 occupants. For 15 years these plants created clean and fresh air for the building, and being inside it for only 10 hours could help raise the oxygen level in an occupant’s blood by one percent (which is significant). There were reduced eye irritations, fewer respiratory problems and headaches, and a huge jump in productivity. So it’s no wonder the government of India named it the healthiest building in New Delhi.

Test it out for yourself by picking up some of these plants for your home or office. Let us know how it goes!