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Natural Awakenings South Jersey

The Healing Properties of Plants: Additions to the home for the Winter by Bill Reneau

Nov 04, 2019 08:19AM ● By Michelle Vacanti

Bill Reneau

In last month’s issue, I shared with you some of the ways how eating and flowing with the seasons can help you find a way to a healthier you. This month, we will share how including house plants in your home can help you not only through the winter months but is a healthy way of bringing the benefits of nature into your living space year-round.

 I grew up in Belize and plants were all around us and very much a part of our daily lives. Some houses had dirt floors with plants naturally growing in and around the house. Today, I share the inside of my home here in New Jersey with over 48 plants, the oldest being 20 years old. For me, each time I water and care for them, is an opportunity to connect with nature and myself. 

 As we know, plants convert carbon dioxide into fresh oxygen and can also remove toxins from the air we breathe in our home such as formaldehyde and benzene. Plants also help us in other ways, they can reduce stress by calming the sympathetic nervous system, improve our mood and beautify our space. In short, these incremental benefits all can impact our health in a positive way. The flu virus is more active in the winter months and can spread easier because we spend more time indoors and closer together. Of course, eating well, dressing appropriately, washing our hands often, getting enough sleep and exercise and reducing stress along with surrounding ourselves with beautiful plants will all play a role in staying healthy this winter. 

 I realize there are those that believe they would kill anything and are not capable of caring for a plant and others that believe plants have little to no benefit other than decoration. For these individuals, artificial plants can help them get a little closer on improving their mental health and living space.

 Taking up the practice of plant care is a good way of improving self-care as they are symbiotic and when we are ready, we could discover we are all capable of caring for something. There are many plants to choose from that are suitable for just about any condition, I suggest starting off with a low-maintenance plant and proceed from there. The following plants are known for their benefits and only represent a small number of plant species that you could choose from. Please do your own research to see what plants would be right for you, this is especially true if you have pets as not all plants are pet friendly. 

 Suggested companions: spider plant (for anxiety), English ivy (for mold), lavender (for lowering blood pressure), snake plant (for sleep), rosemary (for memory), pothos (for odors), aloe vera (for air); and for better air quality, peace lily, Boston fern, rubber plant, azalea and corn plant. For more information on how to enjoy living with plants, visit In next month’s issue, we’ll share the benefits of living without a microwave. 

 EarthShack is located in the Amish Market and at Crescent Moon Coffee & Tea, both in Mullica Hill, NJ; at the Woodstock Trading Company in Cherry Hill, NJ; and Jersey Fitness, in Pennsville, NJ. For more information, call 856-210-7662, email [email protected] or visit 

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