Phytoremediation: Plants that Detoxify the Air

Phytoremediation: Plants that Detoxify the Air

Illustration ℅    Oamul

Illustration ℅ Oamul

I just learned about the term “phytoremediation” and a whole world of new research popped up for me to nerd out on. I’m sure you already know what the word means without knowing the technical term - it’s when plants soak up heavy metals from the soil and toxins from the air. You all know how much I’m into detox and wellness, and using plants to detox the air in your house and work will be a great addition to your wellness plan for a happy and healthy you. So, I’m going to tell you 8 effective house plants that soak up indoor air pollutants that science says you should have at home or at work.

Jade plant. Studies show that this plant is effective at soaking up indoor benzenes in the air. Also, in Feng Shui, this plant is considered good fortune and can attract wealth.


These too have shown to soak up benzenes super well in the air. These plants can get huge if you allow them to. That’s something that you should know, just in case. I wouldn’t want a teacup pig incident to happen to you.


Like the ones above, this one absorbs indoor benzenes very well. These plants have really lovely flowers, highly recommended if you need some floral love in your life.

Fittonia argyroneura

This one is such a cute one to have in terrariums. And, there are varieties that have pink veins that run through the dark green leaves. This plant has shown great absorption for, you know it, benzenes. Studies also show that this cutie also soaks up toluene and TCE from the air.

Tradescantia pallida

This plant is absolutely beautiful. It has such a deep purple hue and it’s flowers are light violet. This plant is also super effective at soaking up indoor pollutants. Out of all of the plants studied, it showed the best at soaking up 4 volatile organic compounds in the air - benzene, toluene, TCE, and a-pinene.

Spider plant

This one is the most well-known air detoxifier, and for good reason! It has the ability to remove formaldehyde, nitrogen dioxide, carbon dioxide, ozone, benzene, toluene, cigarette smoke, ammonia, and particulate matter from the air. Pretty much the best functional one, in my opinion.

Opuntia microdasys

Studies show that using 10 of these potted cacti in an office with an approximate volume of 30 cubic meters is able to remember benzene, toluene, xylene, and ethylbenzene totally after 36, 40, 30, and 39 hours, respectively.

Parlour Palm

This miniature palm is able to soak up benzene, toluene xylene, and n-became from the air, which are used as industrial solvents for furnishings.

So, which ones are you gonna add to your indoor plant collection? Let me know by commenting below! I know I’m definitely gonna stock up on some of those cute cacti and probably a spider plant.

About the Author


Dr. Bryant Esquejo is a California-licensed naturopathic doctor practicing in the Silver Lake neighborhood in Los Angeles, California. You can book an appointment with him here and follow him on social media here.

He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from San Diego State University in 2012 and his naturopathic medical degree from the National University of Natural Medicine in 2016. In his practice, he aims to help patients achieve optimal health and wellness by focusing on hormonal and thyroid health; adrenal dysfunction and stress-related chronic fatigue; gastrointestinal health; anxiety and depression; and nutrigenomics. He uses a variety of integrative modalities to assess and treat patients, such as bioenergetic muscle testing; advanced and basic functional laboratory assessment; therapeutic nutrition; lifestyle medicine; nutraceutical, vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplementation; intravenous micronutrient therapy; and energetic medicines, such as constitutional homeopathy and flower essences.


These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. There are no financial ties to any supplement companies, pharmaceutical companies, or to any of the products mentioned in this post. This post is not meant to treat, cure, prevent, or diagnose conditions or diseases and is meant for educational purposes. As always, please consult your doctor before trying any new treatments or supplements.

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Currently Creasing: Week of June 17

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