Strong sunlight filters through, lively foliage grows out of earthen pots, a small waterfall bubbles in the background, wind chimes tinkle in the wind, and pebbles layer the floor.

These elements serve a purpose beyond aesthetics in the 50 sq ft vertical garden. They create an indoor healing garden, providing a peaceful space for visitors to relax and revitalise.

Located in Kerala University’s Kariavattom campus, the Viridescent Haven was set up by fourth-year PhD student Reshma P R, whose dissertation revolves around indoor air-purifying plants.

She built this indoor garden under the guidance of Dr Bindu R Nair, a professor at the department of botany.

Through experiments, Reshma found that certain air-purifying plants can eliminate formaldehyde compounds found indoors in paints and detergents.

She says, “Between homes, offices, and vehicles, human beings spend most of their time indoors. These plants absorb formaldehyde and increase oxygen, purifying the air.”

The vertical garden has several locally available, indoor air-purifying plants — including sansevieria, spider lily, hemigraphis, drosera, and lucky bamboo, which she picked after referring to a NASA study.

Reshma says that there are many benefits of such an indoor healing garden. Most important is its ability to reduce stress, which is vital in today’s fast-paced world.

She informs that cleaner air allows for greater clarity of mind, and improves focus and concentration.

“According to the blue mind theory, listening to the water bubbling can reduce stress, reduce cortisol levels, and improve sleep,” she shares.

She aims to popularise indoor healing gardens instead of the ones in urban areas, allowing people to enjoy the advantages of nature rather than focusing solely on aesthetics.

Visitors to the garden must disconnect from their mobile phones and spend a mindful half-hour relaxing in the space.

“Since ancient times, human beings have been connected with nature. From pure air to fresh water, we depend on it for all our needs,” says Reshma.