Ivy (Hedera helix) is a climbing vine indigeous to the temperate regions of Europe as well as noth and central Asia; it is now cultivated in the United States. Ivy is a member of the Araliacea family. The leaves are used medicinally.
English Ivy contains flavonoids (including rutin), steriods (sterols including beta-sitosterol and campesterol), polyynes (falcarinol, 11,12-didehydrofalcarinol), volatile oils, and triterpene saponins (aglycone hederagenin, oleanolic acid, bayogenin, hederosaponin C, hederosaponin B).
English Ivy has expectorant and antispasmodic activities. It has traditionally been used for many ailments although none have been proven effective. Ivy has been used for cough, broncitis, inflammation of mucous membrances in the respiratory passage, to improve lung function with chronic broncitis, for liver, spleen, and gallbladder disorders, and rheumatism.
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Cautions Orally, fresh English ivy can cause skin irritation.