Ivy (Hedera helix)
The evergreen, climbing ivy belongs to the Aralia family. It originates from Western, Central and Southern Europe. The ivy leaves are used for medicinal purposes. Since all parts of the ivy are poisonous, poisoning can quickly occur with home-made preparations for internal use and ignorance. It is therefore safer to use standardised finished preparations containing ivy extract.
The value-determining ingredients in ivy leaves are triterpene saponins, flavonoids, polyacetylenes and chlorogenic acid esters.
In classical antiquity, ivy was mainly used to treat diarrhoea and as a painkiller for gout. In folk medicine, too, the proven skin-irritating substances in ivy leaves were used externally for gout and rheumatism. Decoctions of the leaves were also applied to nerve inflammations, ulcers and burns because of their anaesthetic effect. Ivy was also used against parasitic diseases.
In modern medicine, this medicinal herb with its cough-relieving effects is used for catarrh of the respiratory tract and chronic inflammatory bronchial diseases. The saponin drug ivy promotes the expectoration of bronchial secretions, has an antispasmodic effect on the bronchial tubes and also has antibacterial and antiviral properties.