Skip to content

    Allergies Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    English Ivy: A Fix for Allergies?

    Researchers Say the Plant Might Be as Useful as an Inexpensive Air Cleaner
    By
    WebMD Health News
    Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

    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 consume it.

    Cleaner Air

    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 (58%).

    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.

    Ivy Insights

    "As airborne mold spores have been linked to a variety of serious illnesses, English ivy could reduce indoor mold counts," write the researchers.

    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 trees.

    Today on WebMD

    man blowing nose
    Make these tweaks to your diet, home, and lifestyle.
    Allergy capsule
    Breathe easier with these products.
     
    cat on couch
    Live in harmony with your cat or dog.
    Woman sneezing with tissue in meadow
    Which ones affect you?
     

    blowing nose
    Article
    woman with sore throat
    Article
     
    lone star tick
    Slideshow
    Woman blowing nose
    Slideshow
     

    Send yourself a link to download the app.

    Loading ...

    Please wait...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

    Thanks!

    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

    cat lying on shelf
    Article
    Allergy prick test
    VIDEO
     
    Man sneezing into tissue
    Assessment
    Woman holding feather duster up to face, twitching
    Quiz