They are pretty to look at and brighten up our home, but houseplants are also good for our health.

They are terrific anti-pollutants, absorbing nasty chemicals such as formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen, found in cleaning products, toilet paper, facial tissues and paper towels.

Indoor air pollution can also be emitted from furnishings, upholstery and synthetic building materials as well as pollen, bacteria, and moulds, but grab some pretty houseplants from your local garden centre and you may go some way to freshening the air inside your home.

Why are house plants so good for us?

They assist our breathing

Plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, making plants and people great partners. Plants help to increase oxygen levels, and our bodies appreciate that.

They clean the air

Nasa notes that “plants improve the quality of indoor air”. Ivy, geraniums, lavender and many ferns are good at absorbing formaldehyde, aloe vera not only cleans the air but the gel inside helps relieve burns and cuts, and the spider plant battles benzene, commonly found in glue, paint and detergent, as well as  formaldehyde and carbon monoxide.

[Read more: 5 of the easiest indoor plants to grow]

They help deter illness

Keeping plants indoors decreases the incidence of dry skin, colds, sore throats and dry coughs, studies at the Agricultural University of Norway found. Plants can also help to reduce headaches because they help eliminate stuffy air; homes with many indoor plants can even help reduce high blood pressure.

They boost healing

Why do we take plants and flowers to people in hospital? Because they make them feel good. Studies have shown that looking after plants can actually increase your healing time. Texas A&M University tasked patients with taking care of plants, and those who physically interacted with plants experienced a significantly reduced recovery time after medical procedures.

They improve your memory

Studies show that working in the presence of plants improves your concentration, productivity and memory. Being “under the influence of plants” can increase memory retention up to 20%, according to research by the University of Michigan.

[Read more: 5 healing and medicinal plants you can grow in your garden]

They increase workplace satisfaction

A recent ‘Green versus Lean’ report, conducted by Exeter and Cardiff universities, revealed that introducing plants into the office lifts workplace satisfaction by up to 40%.

They make you feel needed

Having plants to love and nurture gives us something to take care of, which can enrich our lives. If you buy a flowering plant that currently has no buds on it, you can make a goal of giving it care and attention with fertiliser and water so that it can grow flowers.

They make you happier

Workers with greenery on their desks rate themselves more cheerful and productive, scientists have found.

Which houseplants do you have in your home? Do they make you healthier and happier? Tell us in the Comments section below.