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The amazing benefits of plants – Naturally magical! 

Many of our beautiful silk products harness the wonders of lavender, which has great sleep-enhancing properties.  But plants can do a whole lot more than help us enjoy wonderfully refreshing sleep.  They can also boost our well-being, happiness and health, healing us naturally and enhancing our everyday lives in ways we might not expect.

Nature is a remarkable healer 

In a wider sense, being in nature is incredibly good for us.  Plants really do benefit our health and happiness.  Simply being outdoors surrounded by greenery makes us feel happier and more relaxed, it's that powerful. 

Studies have shown how people in hospital rooms with a view of the outdoors heal faster and better than people with no view or no window.  Even a painting or photo of a beautiful natural view makes a difference. But when you bring plants into the room itself, things get even more interesting.  Patients in hospital rooms with plants and flowers enjoyed 'significantly more positive physiologic responses evidenced by lower systolic blood pressure and lower ratings of pain, anxiety and fatigue than patients in the control room'

That's what we call magic! 

Add the fact that trees give off invisible chemicals that make humans feel particularly good and the magical power of the green stuff is clear.  One 2015 study in Spain found that children exposed to more greenery had better attention skills and memory development.  Another, in the Toronto area of Canada, found that people living in areas with more street trees reported feeling much healthier than people living on streets with fewer trees. 

Plants at home and work   

According to a study into plants at work, simply having plants in the workplace boosts productivity by an impressive 15%.  Several different experiments have discovered the same thing.  One famous NASA study revealed how houseplants have all sorts of benefits for humans.  Plenty of research shows plants can reduce physiological stress, increase our attention span and improve our well-being.  The effect is so powerful that businesses are taking note, many adding living greenery to workspaces for the first time. 

Take the bamboo palm for example.  It's known for fighting indoor air pollution, helping with clear thinking and making breathing easier.  Then there's golden pothos, known to remove air toxins and absorb nasty smells.  Rubber plants and peace lilies are both great for cleaning the air, taking away common indoor nasties like the formaldehyde that seeps out of so many modern products.  Peace lilies can improve the air quality by as much as 60% as well as bringing you a lovely sense of relaxation.  

Powerful aloe vera and jasmine 

Aloe vera and jasmine are both great for improved sleep, a natural way to help you drift off as well as something beautiful to enhance your décor.  Simply place a potted aloe vera or flowering jasmine plant next to your bed and feel the difference.  The aloe vera produces oxygen at night to combat insomnia and improve the overall quality of your sleep and jasmine flowers' lovely delicate scent can calm your body.  

Red clover fights infections 

We've been using herbal remedies to fight infection for centuries.  Red clover is one of the most popular, used to make infusions and teas as well as ointments to treat coughs, colds and skin irritation.  Belonging to the same family as peas and beans, red clover contains isoflavones, phytoestrogen plant compounds that can weakly mimic oestrogen in the body, which is probably why it's widely used in traditional medicine to treat period problems and menopause symptoms, as well as asthma, whooping cough, and arthritis. 

Sage works wonders for your hair 

It tastes fantastic, but there's more to sage than meets the eye.  It's also used to correct hair colour when made into a paste or ointment, restoring the natural colour to make your hair look brighter. 

Mint soothes an upset stomach 

Various types of mint, including catnip, can help fight the symptoms of flu as well as helping with upset stomachs.  Cook with it or make a mint infusion or a tea to feel the benefits. 

Lavender's well known feel good qualities 

Lavender has excellent stress-relieving qualities, slowing your heart rate and lowering your blood pressure which in turn cuts stress.  It can improve your mood, promote restful sleep, help ease irritated skin, prevent infections, reduce inflammation, deal with dandruff and even soothe a bloated tummy thanks to the polyphenols it contains.  No wonder it's used in so many ways around the world, from foods to fragrances, cosmetics and herbal medicines to sleep aids. 

Lavender is used to treat hair loss and improve hair quality, a lovely ingredient for shampoo and good for the health of your follicles. The relaxing qualities of lavender, rich in organic compounds and antioxidants, can reduce high blood pressure to lower your risk of heart attacks and strokes. 

Chamomile's surprising powers 

Chamomile belongs to the same family as daisies.  German chamomile is the most powerful, widely used for medicinal purposes.  People take it orally for insomnia, anxiety and digestive problems, and research is underway to test its effect on diabetes.  It's also used in creams for skin problems and wound healing. 

The active ingredients include the anti-inflammatory chamazulene, bisabolol oil that has anti-irritant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, plus the nutrient apigenin, thought to be an effective anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial and antiviral chemical.  Research suggests chamomile can help with inflammation and flatulence, as well as promoting calm and easing you into sleep. 

Plants that can help keep mosquitoes at bay 

A warming climate means we'll soon start seeing more mosquitoes in the UK.  Luckily these annoying insects dislike some plants enough to stay away, thanks to the strong scent.  Their oils are used to make natural mosquito repellents, but early research reveals living plants can also do a good job.  While they don't work miracles, it's well worth a try.  Citronella grass, basil, lemon balm, peppermint, lavender and catnip are all thought to help repel the insects and some believe making sachets of dried lavender flowers will ward the mosquitoes away.

 Bring more plants into your life! 

Indoors or outdoors, as living greenery or infusions, creams, sprays and sleep aids, the plants we surround ourselves with have all sorts of lovely effects on the way we feel.  It's time to bring more of them into your life!

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