Oct 27, 2022


Do Plants Have a Positive Effect On Asthma?

Plants for Mental Health

If you are one of the 21 million adults living with asthma, you know the importance of learning to control your symptoms by knowing and avoiding certain triggers. 

Asthma triggers include tobacco smoke, air pollution, dust mites, and mold. Several plants can even cause breathing issues, leading to asthma attacks. 

However, some plants can actually help people living with asthma. We put together this list of the top 5 asthma-friendly plants, along with those you should steer clear from. 

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What is asthma?

Asthma is a chronic (long-term) condition that causes inflamed airways and difficulty breathing. While there is no cure, many find that medication to prevent symptoms, being prepared when an attack happens, and reducing exposure to triggers help manage asthma. 

Triggers vary from person to person. In addition to those listed above, other triggers include:

Symptoms of asthma

Signs and symptoms of asthma also vary from person to person. The most common symptoms are:

  • Shortness of breath

  • Chronic, dry cough with phlegm

  • Chest tightness, pressure, or pain

  • Wheezing 

  • Trouble sleeping due to breathing issues, coughing and wheezing 

  • Frequent respiratory infections

Can plants have a positive effect on asthma?

Yes! All plants, in some way, interact and change their environment. 

The NASA Clear Air study found several plants were really good at removing common indoor air pollutants such as ammonia, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and benzene.

What plants are safe for people with asthma?

If you have asthma and are looking for some plants with air-purifying power, these five are asthma-friendly and a great addition to any home.

  • Bamboo Palm - easy to grow and act as a natural humidifier.

  • Peace Lily - offers a calming appearance and is known to remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air. 

  • Snake Plant - also easy to take care of, removes major toxins from the air and releases oxygen and moisture to fight off dust and dander allergens. 

  • English Ivy - versatile plant that can grow indoors or out while effectively removing toxins like benzene and toluene from the air. Additional research has shown that it also reduces mold in the home. 

  • Areca Palm - another natural humidifier that releases moisture into the air to help reduce asthma symptoms in those who are affected by dry air.

*Peace Lilies and Snake Plants can be harmful to humans and/or pets- keep out of reach of animals and children.

Comfortplants.com has a wide selection of house plants that are easy to care for and pet-friendly.

Which plants should a person with allergies avoid?

When a person with asthma is exposed to a trigger, it can cause an asthma attack, episode, or flare-up. As we mentioned earlier, triggers can vary. 

However, a few plants and flowers are common culprits when it comes to allergies and asthma. Therefore, people with asthma should avoid the following: 

  • Daisies

  • Marigolds

  • Chrysanthemums

  • Sunflowers

  • African violets 

  • Alder trees

  • Ash trees (male)*

  • Birch trees

  • Cedar trees

  • Bermuda grass

  • Cypress trees

  • Elm trees

  • Ferns

  • Juniper shrubs (male)*

  • Maple trees

  • Mulberry trees

  • Oak trees

  • Olive trees

  • Palm trees (male)*

  • Pecan trees

  • Pine trees

  • Russian thistle

  • Sagebrush

  • Sycamore trees

  • Timothy grass

  • Walnut trees

  • Willow trees (male)*

*Male plants produce more pollen than their female counterparts. Therefore, if you have asthma, you should opt for the female version of certain plants and flowers. 

Final thoughts

Although some plants may improve air quality and help those with asthma, it's essential to know what flowers and plants trigger your asthma. Some may find they can tolerate a plant on the avoid list, while others may not be able to tolerate any. 

Follow the treatment plan set by your doctor, and always consult with your healthcare provider right away if you notice dramatic changes to your asthma symptoms. 

At CareCard, our mission is to help make your prescription payments more affordable, saving members up to 85% on prescription drugs and medication. Learn how CareCard can help make your asthma prescriptions payments more manageable.

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