The one thing DIY blogs and Home Depot enthusiasts gloss over: The nasty smells and chemicals that come with revamping your home. The solution? English Ivy. NASA scientists list the vine as the No. 1 best air-filtering houseplant. It sucks up formaldehyde, a carcinogen produced by household cleaning products, plywood, particle board and other pressed wood, like cabinets and engineered or laminate hardwood floors.
Remember With Rosemary
Have you ever made your way to your car after shopping to find you, um, can't remember where you left said vehicle? If you answered, "No, because I can never find my keys to make it to the store," consider growing rosemary in your home. A recent study found that the carnosic acid in the plant improves circulation to the brain, reducing the risk of Alzheimer's disease.
Keep a small pot of this low-maintenance herb in your home to reap the benefits -- studies have shown that just smelling the aroma of rosemary improves memory. To really get your brain blood pumping, steep a sprig in hot water for five minutes to create an anti-amnesia tea.
Stressed? Take a Whiff of Lavender
Lavender: Not just for the ol' underwear drawer. Taken orally in pill form, it's been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety, like insomnia and depression. In one study, just a whiff of the scent reduced the feelings of unease that accompanied a trip to the tooth doctor. While we won't dub it the new laughing gas just yet, we might plant one outside the dentist's office.
To bring a sense of calm into your home, grow this plant in a medium or large bucket in an area that gets plenty of direct sunlight. Once it blooms, snip off individual stems and hang them upside down to dry. Scatter the dried blooms in a bath and settle in for a relaxing, lavender-infused soak.
Lady Palm for Your Sneezing and Wheezing
This plant targets airborne ammonia, an enemy of the respiratory system and a major component of both household cleaners and animal waste. So, if you've got a pet, you're inhaling this eye, nose and lung irritant, whether you're obsessed over cleaning up after it or just pretending the kitty litter is self-cleaning. OCD neat freaks and crazy cat hoarders alike can help counteract the gas with this easy-to-care for indoor plant.
Shoo Flies With Catnip
It's not that we like being covered in bug bites, it's just that we're not willing to cover ourselves in chemicals to avoid them. Enter: catnip. Research suggests that it repels mosquitoes 10 times more effectively than the chemical repellant DEET. To create your own natural repellent, simply crush the leaves and rub them on your skin or clothing. Just make sure you're not in cat country -- or worse, cougar country -- when you apply it.
You may not be a witch doctor or herbalist, but that doesn't mean you've never used a plant to heal your body. In fact, some of the most common modern medicine is plant-based -- aspirin contains salicylic acid, the active component of willow bark, and penicillin was made from fungi. While we're not suggesting you start growing mold cultures in your kitchen, you can benefit from many easy-to-grow, easy-on-the-eyes indoor plants. Some of the prettiest perennials are hiding some of the best health and beauty remedies. Based on scientific studies, we found the healing plants that help you look and feel your best. These indoor plants will turn your home into the pharmacy version of the great outdoors.