Plants are a great way to spruce up indoor spaces. Even a small plant can add a little color and make a room seem less static, and often you can find something like a succulent or cactus that doesn’t take much effort to keep healthy.

However, keeping houseplants around can also have measurable benefits to your health. Here are five common houseplants that will make you feel better and will be useful in unexpected ways.

1. Lavender

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A common houseplant with a pleasing aroma, the benefits of lavender are well known. The oil extracted from lavender can be used to treat burns, bug bites, and even help to calm the digestive system. But you don’t have to grow enough lavender to start harvesting oil to enjoy the benefits – the aroma of the plant alone has been demonstrated to help reduce:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Nervousness

2. Boston fern

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Sometimes referred to as a natural humidifier, Boston ferns are bushy plants that put moisture into the air and help make your space more livable. This makes them excellent plants if you have dry skin issues due to air conditioning.

Boston ferns don’t just put moisture back into the air. They also pull out unwanted toxins, such as formaldehyde and xylene. Boston ferns are also easy to keep alive. Keep their soil moist and out of direct sunlight and they should thrive.

3. Peace lily

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Peace lilies are beautiful plants with large white flowers that also put in work as air purifiers. These plants will pull out a wide range of toxins from the air including trichloroethylene, ammonia, xylene, and even benzene, which is a carcinogenic chemical.

A peace lily may not be for every household, however. As flowering plants, they will produce pollen, so if you have any sensitivity to that, you may want to stick with the Boston fern to keep your space toxin free. The peace lily’s beautiful flowers means they take a bit more effort to keep healthy but look stunning as the centerpiece of a dining table or kitchen island.

4. Aloe vera

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Another plant with well documented health benefits, aloe vera is sold as a gel to alleviate burns and for a wide variety of other purposes. Keeping an aloe vera plant in your home will purify the air, just like peace lilies and Boston ferns do, pulling out benzene and formaldehyde.

But you can also keep it around to have constant access to the freshest burn alleviator in the world. If you burn yourself cooking or stay out in the sun too long, just snap a leaf off your aloe vera plant and apply the gel that will ooze out on to your skin. The benefits will be instantaneous.

5. Spider plant

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The spider plant is another great air purifier. Set one up and you’ll feel the air clear up as it pulls carbon monoxide and formaldehyde out of the room. It is also a great plant if you worry about your ability to care for one. It requires very little sunlight and only needs to be watered occasionally. If you can keep the spider plant’s soil moist, it will do just fine.

Another great benefit of the spider plant is it is nontoxic for animals. That means you can safely keep it in your home.

Functional flora

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Who knew houseplants could be so helpful? If you want to feel better and brighten up your office or your living room, grab one of these wonderful houseplants and begin enjoying the benefits you didn’t know you were missing.