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Common ivy

I have read that «common ivy» is beneficial for the treatment of bronchial inflammation, chronic bronchitis and that it favours the elimination of mucus.
Can you tell me if research has been done concerning the efficacy of «common ivy» in cystic fibrosis ?
Thank you in advance for your answer.
thank you for your interesting question. As we can read on Wikipedia «common ivy (hedera helix)» is a strong purgative, formerly used in the countryside. Nowadays, the internal (oral) use of this plant is still practiced. A dry hydro-alcoholic leaf extract is used in syrups and tablets against benign cough afflictions. The active substance of this extract seems to be the α-hederin; its mode of action is still under study (in rats) (1). There are some studies with ivy extracts in asthmatic children and/or in adults suffering from acute bronchitis associated with a productive cough. A study including 361 adult patients with acute bronchitis and testing a syrup containing ivy and thyme extracts seemed to show an increased efficacy of this syrup over placebo without significant side effects. (2). However, a meta-analysis of all the studies available on ivy extracts today tells us that there are in general serious methodological problems in this type of investigation and no solid conclusions can be put forward for the moment. It has to be insisted on the fact that there has been at least one case of serious neurological side effects after the administration of this kind of syrup to a child. Also, some people can be allergic to common ivy sap and the common ivy's fruit are very toxic.
For cystic fibrosis these extracts have not been tested as far as I know; considering the informations here about these substance should be used – if used – with a certain amount of caution.

In short, common ivy presumably contains active principles which can have side effects, like it is the case for a number of traditional, herbal or folk medicines. I haven't had time to research but it would be interesting to read what Chinese medicine tells about these plants. Tell me if you can garner some information!

Kind regards,

Christiane Knoop

1. Mendel M, Chłopecka M, Dziekan N, Karlik W, Wiechetek M. Participation of extracellular calcium in α-hederin-induced contractions of rat isolated stomach strips. J Ethnopharmacol. 2012 Dec 26. pii: S0378-8741(12)00857-4.
2. Kemmerich B, Eberhardt R, Stammer H. A prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Arzneimittelforschung. 2006;56(9):652-60.