Hedera helix / English Ivy


English ivy is an herbal remedy that primarily targets the lungs, but that also has positive effects on serious digestive problems such as dysentery (severe diarrhea with blood or mucus) or jaundice (yellowing of the skin caused by liver disease). English ivy also has the ability to correct abnormal blood clotting issues in some patients. As such, this herb would be a good choice for anyone who wishes to target the lungs primarily, but who may also have blood clotting issues or concerns. Anyone with severe intestinal problems or liver disease combined with lung disease would also be able to benefit from using this herbal remedy. It’s anti-cancer effects make it a good choice for anyone who has lung disease and cancer. It is a valuable remedy for treating any of the following diseases and disorders:

  • Chronic pulmonary obstructive disorder (COPD)
  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Cough
  • Whooping cough
  • Acute respiratory disease
  • Common Cold
  • Chronic Pain
  • Parasite Infection
  • Cancer
  • Abnormal Blood Clotting
  • Dysentery (severe diarrhea often with blood or mucus)
  • Jaundice


In one study on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) patients with chronic bronchitis, ivy leaf extract was shown to be equally effective in dissolving mucus as the synthetic pharmaceutical known as ambroxol. A different study demonstrated that children with asthma who took ivy leaf extract had an increased amount of oxygen in their lungs. 


In terms of chronic coughs or coughing as a result of a respiratory system infection or disorder, ivy leaf extract does a better job of reducing the severity of coughing in contrast with a placebo. One study demonstrated this by administering ivy leaf extract over the course of 7 days of treatment with 150mg of ivy leaf extract given daily. There were minimal adverse events reported among 21 of 181 total patients (9 of these adverse event reports were in the test group). These events included worsening of the cough, middle ear effusion, and sinusitis. 


Another study examined the effects of ivy leaf extract (administered in syrup form) on children 6-12 years of age with partial or uncontrolled allergic asthma. The children in the treatment group were given 70 mg of ivy leaf extract daily for 28-30 days of treatment. The researchers concluded at the end of the study that administration of ivy leaf extract in combination with an inhaled corticosteroid led to significant positive changes in lung function in asthmatic children. Of course, other studies have shown that the use of corticosteroids can exacerbate asthma because of the role of reproductive hormones on the disease. The use of an iodine supplement such as Lugol’s or Iodoral is preferable to the use of corticosteroid treatment for asthma because often, by correcting the underlying iodine deficiency that is causing asthma, patients can permanently cure the disease. So while this study involved both the use of ivy leaf extract and corticosteroids, a better combination is ivy leaf extract with Lugol’s iodine or an Iodoral supplement.


One study on children with acute obstructive and/or non-obstructive bronchitis showed that administration of ivy leaf extract at a dosage of 105 mg (for children ages 2-6) to 210 mg (for children ages 7-10) was comparable in its effects to the administration of acetylcysteine at a dosage of 300-600mg (in ages 2-6) or 900-1200mg (in ages 7-10). The efficacy of ivy leaf extract on the children’s bronchitis was rated as either good or very good by 96% of the participants. In contrast, acetylcysteine was rated as good or very good by only 79.2% of the participants who received it. Overall, the children tolerated the ivy leaf extract significantly better than the administration of acetylcysteine. 

There are very few adverse effects associated with the administration of ivy leaf for the treatment of respiratory system problems. Most of the side effects that have been reported in studies are either gastrointestinal upsets during treatment or are as a result of a previously unknown/unreported allergy to the plant. With that said, if you’re allergic to English ivy or any other closely related plant, you should avoid using this particular remedy since it may cause an allergic reaction. 


Doses of English ivy vary according to the age of the individual. Consider some of the following dosing guidelines below: 


  • Ages 2-5 years – 24-36mg daily
  • Ages 6-11 years – 33-70mg daily
  • Ages 12+ – 45-155mg daily


Many studies administered these doses for up to 7 days in children and/or adults.


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Kiefer, Dale (2018). Herbs and Supplements for COPD (Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema). Retrieved April 14, 2022 from: https://www.healthline.com/health/copd/herbs-supplements 


Kaiser Permanente (2015). Ivy Leaf – Uses. Retrieved April 15, 2022 from: https://wa.kaiserpermanente.org/kbase/topic.jhtml?docId=hn-2116002 


Reckhenrich, Ann Katharin, et. al. (2018). Ivy Leaf Extracts for the Treatment of Respiratory Tract Diseases Accompanied by Cough: A Systematic Review of Clinical Trials. Retrieved April 15, 2022 from: https://www.herbalgram.org/resources/herbalgram/issues/117/table-of-contents/hg117-feat-invyt/