6 Plants that Might Absorb Radiation

Radiation is around us, all day, every day. We know that there are plants out there that absorb toxins from the air, but what about radiation?

Isn’t it great to know that your plant friend who’s hanging out in the corner over there is doing a lot more than just looking good? Your houseplant is actively absorbing toxins and possibly even radiation from the environment, so you can enjoy your indoor space with less harmful stuff in the air than before.

The science behind plants eliminating toxins in the air is clear. NASA did research many years ago to find which plants did the best job. Since then people have filled their homes and offices with these amazing plants. When it comes to plants absorbing radiation the science isn’t as clear. Here’s what we do know about radiation and plants.

Radiation is a natural part of life. It emanates from the earth’s crust. We soak it up in UV rays. We make it ourselves with x-rays and our electronics. Worst of all, we’ve killed each other with it on purpose (Hiroshima) and by accident (Chernobyl and Fukushima).

Fortunately, our man-made disasters are being remedied by Buddhist monks in Japan. What’s their secret weapon? Sunflowers. Locals surrounding the Fukushima nuclear power plant were left with highly contaminated and barren land. In an attempt to improve the soil quality, the monks planted sunflowers, amaranthus, cockscomb and field mustard to absorb the radiation. In a similar case, sunflowers were used for the same reasons around Chernobyl.

So if sunflowers and field mustard can help defend against radiation, then what houseplants can do the same thing? First, let’s get some background on radiation.

The Low Down on Radiation

Radiation is the energy released from unstable, naturally occurring elements. Radioactivity is the process of disintegration that leads to the release of radiation. For example, uranium in soil is a naturally-occurring element, but since uranium is unstable it inevitably breaks down and releases radiation in the form of radon.

Radiation is only dangerous to human life as “ionizing” radiation, which means it’s able to pass through matter, like the human body, and impact normal biological functions. Different forms of ionizing radiation include cosmic rays, x-rays, CTs, MRIs, nuclear fall-out and waste released by coal and nuclear power plants. Sunshine is an example of non-ionizing radiation.

There are four types of radiation: alpha, beta, gamma and neutron. Each one has an increased ability to penetrate matter and cause problems depending on the dose. We aren’t able to see or feel radiation, but we can measure it with certain devices.

As mentioned, radiation occurs naturally, which means you come into contact with it on a regular basis in several different ways. First, radioactive elements can be found in soil, stones and cosmic rays. Second, we take in radioactive elements through what we eat, drink and breathe. Finally, your bones and blood contain several radioactive elements, like Potassium 40, Carbon 14 and Radium 226. All of these forms of exposure are considered “natural background radiation.”

Here are some sources of radiation in your home:

  • metal products, like Bed, Bath, & Beyond’s chrome tissue holder
  • your basement or cracked foundation
  • granite countertops
  • smoke detector
  • antique china and glassware (specifically pre-1970s)
  • watch and clock faces (pre-1970s)
  • old, box TVs (remember, don’t sit too close to the TV?)
  • cigarettes

Plants that Help with Radiation

There isn’t actually any evidence that directly supports that plants protect humans from radiation. There’s also nothing that says that they don’t. Most people believe, like the Buddhist Monks and caretakers of Chernobyl, that some plants, like sunflowers, are able to absorb radiation from the soil as a purification system.

While there’s no research that states which plants absorb radiation, there’s plenty of support that plants do absorb toxins in the air of your home. And the following is a list of plants deemed best suited to eliminate toxins from your home environment.

Radiation is around us, all day, every day. We know that there are plants out there that absorb toxins from the air, but what about radiation?

Images via Getty Images


Beryl Ludwig
Beryl L3 months ago

Thank you

Jan S
Jacob S3 months ago

thanks for sharing

Paulo R
Paulo R4 months ago


Nancy W
Nancy W4 months ago

The radiation I worry about are the ones from my computer and cellphone, soon the 5G wifi thats coming.

Richard B
Richard B4 months ago


Clare O'Beara
Clare O4 months ago

do not eat the ones that absorb radiation

Marija M
Marija M4 months ago

Ok, I have some of those ...

Shae Lee
Shae Lee4 months ago

Thanks for sharing!

Leo C
Leo C4 months ago

thank you for sharing!

Donna T
Donna T4 months ago

thank you