English Ivy: A Fix for Allergies?
Researchers Say the Plant Might Be as Useful as an Inexpensive Air Cleaner
Nov. 7, 2005 -- English ivy may help you breathe easier, especially if you
have allergies, new research shows.
The research shows that the plant helps clean air of allergens such as mold
and animal feces.
That could make English ivy an inexpensive alternative to commercial
air-cleaning devices, researchers told participants of the American College of
Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology's annual meeting.
If you've got kids or pets, take care about where you place English ivy. The
plant is toxic, so keep it away from animals or young children who might
English ivy's air-cleaning abilities were recently tested.
First, researchers put moldy bread and dog feces in containers. Then, they
checked how much mold and feces were in the containers' air at the start of the
study. Next, English ivy was added to each container and repeat measurements
were taken at baseline, then six and 12 hours later.
Six hours later, 60% of the airborne-mold had vanished from the air around
the ivy. Almost as much of the airborne feces were also gone from the air
After six more hours the air was even cleaner. More than three-quarters of
the airborne mold was gone (78%). So were nearly all of the airborne feces
(94%), the study shows.
"As airborne mold spores have been linked to a variety of serious
illnesses, English ivy could reduce indoor mold counts," write the
They included Kenneth Kim, MD, of Allergy, Asthma, & Respiratory Care
Medical Center in Long Beach, Calif.
They add it might also be a good idea to grow English ivy outside, where
animal feces usually are.
But you may want to think twice before you do that. English ivy can spread
across the landscape, smothering other plants in its path and creeping up