Nature's Life - English Ivy Extract - 90 Tablets
Nature's Life English Ivy Extract contains saponins. English Ivy is intended to provide nutritive support for respiratory health and normal breathing.
Parts used and where grown
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.
Historical or Traditional Use
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.
Although ivy’s composition has not been subject to detailed scientific investigations, it is known to contain 5–8% saponins. Other constituents in the leaf include an alkaloid called emetine that is similar to one found in the herb tylophora. Although emetine typically induces vomiting, in ivy leaf it seems to increase the secretion of mucus in the lungs. While the emetine content is very low in ivy, this could in part explain its traditional use as an expectorant (a substance that promotes the removal of mucous from the respiratory tract). Animal studies have shown the saponins found in ivy extract prevent the spasm of muscles in the bronchial area.
While very few human clinical trials have been performed on ivy, a controlled trial in a group of children with bronchial asthma found that 25 drops of ivy leaf extract given twice per day was effective in improving airflow into the lungs after only three days of use. However, the incidence of cough and shortness of breath symptoms did not change during the short trial period. Ivy leaf is approved by the German Commission E for use against chronic inflammatory bronchial conditions and productive coughs due to its actions as an expectorant. One double-blind human trial found ivy leaf to be as effective as the drug ambroxol for treating the symptoms of chronic bronchitis.
In addition to the use of ivy to treat asthma, clinical reports from Europe suggest that topical cream preparations containing ivy, horsetail, and lady’s mantle are beneficial in reducing, although not eliminating, skin stretch marks.
How much is usually taken?
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.
Are there any side effects or interactions?
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.
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