22 - May - 2011

It is well-known that the air quality of our apartments or offices is far from being ideal. However, it can be significantly improved with the help of house plants. Scientists of Russia’s National Academy of Science of Siberia’s Central Botanical Garden came to this conclusion. They have been studying the influence of certain house plants on microflora of closed space for over twenty years.

Since ancient times, people have been decorating their dwellings with plants. Interior greenery came up as an element of human culture, meeting his aesthetic demands. Self-perception of human beings unified them with nature and they brought a part of it to their homes. The striving was based on intuition. Modern scientific approach to interior greenery is a combination of aesthetic perception of the beauty of forms and color of the plants and the useful function they perform: they improve the air composition and purify the atmosphere.

Phytodesign is a scientifically grounded method of using plants for the improvement of environment in artificial systems. Its functions include the following: purification of the air from dust, toxic mushrooms, chemical compositions, pathogenic bacteria and viruses, ionization and moisturizing, acoustic absorption, biogenic concentration of the air which have positive influence on human organism, creation of a nice and comfortable environment.

At present there are two scientific directions of phytodesign: ecological and medical. When selecting plants for air purification from chemical gas pollutants, gas absorption characteristics of a plant are studied. To estimate the antimicrobial influence the phytocide activity of volatile discharges is determined. To determine the influence of volatile discharges on human organism, complex medical research is carried out.

The ability of biologically active volatile substances to suppress the growth and development of microorganisms in the air and to exterminate them is accounted for by the chemical composition of these substances. This explains the specific activity of certain plants on various microorganisms.

The article is translated and reprinted from monthly scientific journal “Наука и жизнь” (“Science and Life”) №1, 2009. Photo by Lika Mkrtchyan