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  • Writer's pictureThe Pink Elephant Lady

Houseplant vs Salt Lamp: What Really Works For Purifying Indoor Air?

Do you have a "Himalayan salt lamp" in your house or workplace? There are numerous claims made about the benefits of these lamps, such as boosting blood flow, improving sleep, increasing levels of serotonin in the brain, and calming allergy or asthma symptoms. The lamps are said to remove impurities from indoor air. This has to do with negative ions supposedly emitted by these lamps. There does seem to be some science behind negative ions and mood improvement; you can read more about that here: However, there's really no conclusive evidence that these lamps are producing enough negative ions to really provide all those supposed benefits. Here's an interesting video where Nick Uhas debates the merits of salt lamps. (Note: there are no salt mines in the Himalayas, but "Himalayan Salt Lamp" sounds so much more marketable than "Punjabi Foothills Salt Lamp") :

I have one in my living room. I think it looks cool, so I'm not going to dump my lamp. However, if you're looking for a scientifically proven way to detox your indoor air, it might be more effective to opt for house plants! Back in 1989, NASA found that certain houseplants were effective at filtering out amazing amounts of benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene and ammonia from indoor air, helping to neutralize the effects of sick building syndrome (a situation in which the occupants of a building experience acute health- or comfort-related effects that seem to be linked directly to the time spent in the building). Check out the following study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information for more details about sick building syndrome:

Check out the infographic below for more information about plants and indoor air! P.S. - if you consider yourself a 'house plant killer', I'd opt for the Devil's Ivy (botanical name epipremnum aureum), also called Golden Pothos. These plants seem to be truly hard to kill! They're extremely tolerant of being forgotten about, and really seem to thrive no matter where you put them. They're also not hard to find - you can get them at Meijer, Home Depot, and most garden centers.

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