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Ivy Leaf

Botanical names: Hedera helix

Ivy is an evergreen climber native to the damp woods of western, central, and southern Europe. The leaf is used medicinally. It should be carefully distinguished from poison ivy found in the Americas.

Uses

Asthma
25 drops of a leaf extract twice per day
A study involving children with bronchial asthma suggested that ivy leaf was effective in increasing the amount of oxygen in the lungs.

Bronchitis
Adults: 50 drops of extract twice per day; children: 25 drops twice per day
Ivy leaf is anti-inflammatory and has been shown to be as effective as the drug ambroxol for chronic bronchitis.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
50 drops of a concentrated alcohol extract twice per day
One double-blind trial found an ivy leaf extract to be as effective as the mucus-dissolving drug ambroxol for treating chronic bronchitis, which is a component of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)
Ivy leaves were held in high regard by the ancients. They formed not only the poet’s crown but also the wreath of the Greek god of wine, Dionysus. The ancient Greeks believed that binding the forehead with ivy leaves would prevent the effects of inebriation. Greek priests presented a wreath of ivy to newlyweds, and ivy has been traditionally regarded as a symbol of fidelity. Romans regarded ivy as excellent feed for their cattle. Traditional herbalists have used ivy for a wide number of complaints, including bronchitis, whooping cough, arthritis, rheumatism, and dysentery. Decoctions of the herb were applied externally against lice, scabies, and sunburn.

How to Use It
Standardized ivy leaf extract can be taken by itself or in water at 25 drops twice per day as a supportive treatment for children with asthma. At least double this amount may be necessary to benefit adults with asthma. However, ivy is not intended to replace standard medical therapies and should only be used following consultation with a healthcare professional. A similar amount can be used for people with a cough or bronchitis.

Side Effects
The 0.3 gram daily tea preparation of the herb, suggested in the German Commission E monographs, is not recommended for pediatric use because the quantities of the saponins it contains are too variable and could induce nausea and vomiting. Since ivy contains small amounts of emetine, it is not recommended during pregnancy, as this specific alkaloid may increase uterine contractions. In addition, the leaf itself can be quite irritating when handled and may cause allergic skin reactions.

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds
At the time of writing, there were no well-known interactions with this supplement.


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