Legend has it that an ivy plant enveloped the body of the child Dionysus to protect him from the flames generated by a lightning bolt from Zeus. And this is why an ivy branch is always depicted around the head of the god of wine and grapes. Over the centuries, however, the sacred value of the plant has been somewhat lost, considering it almost a weed or a plant with a mere decorative purpose. Instead, ivy leaves are a concentrate of substances useful for health, especially in this period when it is easier to get sick from the flu, cough and cold. In fact, as evidenced by various scientific researches, ivy can really be a valuable ally against cough, cold but also asthma and phlegm!
Ivy, protective for the respiratory tract
Ivy leaves, hedera helix, are rich in saponins, triterpenes and flavonoids with expectorant, anti-inflammatory, bronchodilator, antibacterial and antispasmodic properties.
Therefore, ivy leaves are able to relieve, both in adults and children, bronchitis and cough, reducing cough intensity and frequency, and to counteract asthma and colds, freeing the airways and improving respiratory function (Kruttschnitt et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2020 - Sierocinski et al, Eur J Clin Phamracol, 2021). It has been shown that, in the case of uncontrolled asthma despite a corticosteroid-based therapy, the use of ivy has allowed to alleviate symptoms and improve breathing (Zeil et al, Phytomedicine, 2014). Ivy also soothes the nocturnal cough that disturbs sleep, thus improving the quality of sleep (Barnes et al, Adv Integr Med, 2020). Not only that, the ivy was also helpful in the case of symptoms such as sore throat, fatigue and generalized pain that are observed in the case of viral infections such as influenza (Barnes et al, Adv Integr Med, 2020). At present, however, there are no studies demonstrating the use of ivy in the particular case of the coronavirus, although the properties of the remedy make it an excellent candidate for future studies (Barnes et al, Adv Integr Med, 2020).
Ivy, how to use it
In case of colds and phlegm you can prepare steam inhalations with ivy leaves, which are easily found in pharmacies and herbalists. Bring a saucepan full of water to a boil, remove from heat and add 2 tablespoons of ivy leaves. Leave to infuse for ten minutes, then breathe in the vapors by covering the head with a towel.
Alternatively, when your cough doesn't give you a break, you can make an infusion. Bring a cup of water to a boil, remove from heat and add a teaspoon of dried leaves. Leave to infuse for ten minutes, then filter and drink. In case of bronchitis, the remedy given by the synergy between ivy and thyme is a valid help against cough (Kemmerich et al, Arzneimittelforschung, 2006). To benefit from this combination, add a teaspoon of ivy and half a teaspoon of thyme to the cup of boiling water just off the heat. Leave to infuse for ten minutes, then filter and drink.