Common Ivy, Gum Ivy, Hedera helix, Hedera taurica, Hederae Helicis Folium, Herbes à Cors, Hiedra Común, Ivy, Lierre, Lierre Commun, Lierre Grimpant, True Ivy, Woodbind.


Overview Information

English ivy is a vine. The leaves are used to make medicine.

People most commonly take English ivy for cough and other lung problems; however there is not enough evidence to know if English ivy helps.

How does it work?

English ivy might stimulate mucus glands and have expectorant properties. This might improve lung function in people with breathing difficulty due to swelling and blockage of airway passages. English ivy might also have antioxidant effects.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Bronchitis. Early research shows that taking a cough syrup containing English ivy leaf might improve coughing and breathing in children and adults with different types of bronchitis.
  • Liver disorders.
  • Spleen disorders.
  • Gallbladder disorders.
  • Gout.
  • Joint pain and swelling.
  • Skin wounds.
  • Nerve pain.
  • Ulcers.
  • Parasites.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of English ivy for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

Cough syrup (Prospan; Panoto-s; Athos; Abrilar) containing English ivy leaf extract is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth three times daily for 1 week. English ivy leaf might cause skin irritation when taken by mouth. English ivy leaf extract might cause mild stomach problems.

Not enough is known about the safety of applying English ivy to the skin. In some people, contact with English ivy leaf might cause allergic skin reactions. But this is fairly uncommon.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of English ivy during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Children: Cough syrup (Prospan; Panoto-s; Athos; Abrilar) or herbal drops (Prospan) containing English ivy leaf extract are POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth three times daily for up to 20 days.



We currently have no information for ENGLISH IVY Interactions.



The appropriate dose of English ivy depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for English ivy. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

View References


  • Ozdemir, C., Schneider, L. A., Hinrichs, R., Staib, G., Weber, L., Weiss, J. M., and Scharffetter-Kochanek, K. [Allergic contact dermatitis to common ivy (Hedera helix L.)]. Hautarzt 2003;54(10):966-969. View abstract.
  • Amara-Mokrane YA, Lehucher-Michel MP, Balansard G, et al. Protective effects of alpha-hederin, chlorophyllin and ascorbic acid towards the induction of micronuclei by doxorubicin in cultured human lymphocytes. Mutagenesis 1996;11:161-7. View abstract.
  • Boyle J, Harman RM. Contact dermatitis to Hedera helix (common ivy). Contact Dermatitis 1985;12(2):111-112. View abstract.
  • Bregnbak D, Menné T, Johansen JD. Airborne contact dermatitis caused by common ivy (Hedera helix L. ssp. helix). Contact Dermatitis. 2015;72(4):243-4. View abstract.
  • Fazio S, Pouso J, Dolinsky D, et al. Tolerance, safety and efficacy of Hedera helix extract in inflammatory bronchial diseases under clinical practice conditions: a prospective, open, multicentre postmarketing study in 9657 patients. Phytomedicine 2009;16(1):17-24. View abstract.
  • Gaillard Y, Blaise P, Darre A, Barbier T, Pepin G. An unusual case of death: suffocation caused by leaves of common ivy (Hedera helix). Detection of hederacoside C, alpha-hederin, and hederagenin by LC-EI/MS-MS. J Anal Toxicol 2003;27(4):257-262. View abstract.
  • García M, Fernández E, Navarro JA, et al. Allergic contact dermatitis from Hedera helix L. Contact Dermatitis 1995;33(2):133-4. View abstract.
  • Gulcin I, Mshvildadze V, Gepdiremen A, Elias R. Antioxidant activity of saponins isolated from ivy: alpha-hederin, hederasaponin-C, hederacolchiside-E and hederacolchiside-F. Planta Med 2004;70(6):561-563. View abstract.
  • Gulyas A, Repges R, Dethlefsen U. Therapy of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases in children (Translation). Atemvegs und Lungenkrankheiten 1997;23:291-4.
  • Hausen BM, Brohan J, Konig WA, et al. Allergic and irritant contact dermatitis from falcarinol and didehydrofalcarinol in common ivy (Hedera helix L.). Contact Dermatitis 1987;17(1):1-9. View abstract.
  • Hocaoglu AB, Karaman O, Erge DO, et al. Effect of Hedera helix on lung histopathology in chronic asthma. Iran J Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2012;11(4):316-23. View abstract.
  • Johnke H, Bjarnason B. [Contact dermatitis allergy to common ivy (Hedera helix L.)]. Ugeskr Laeger 1994;156(25):3778-3779. View abstract.
  • Jones JM, White IR, White JM, McFadden JP. Allergic contact dermatitis to English ivy (Hedera helix)--a case series. Contact Dermatitis. 2009 Mar;60(3):179-80. View abstract.
  • Lässig W, Generlich G, Heydolph F, Paditz E. Efficacy and tolerability of ivy-containing cough remedies. TW Pediatr 1996;9:489-491.
  • Lurquin E, Swinnen I, Goossens A. Allergic contact dermatitis caused by Hedera helix arborescens and not by Hedera helix L. Contact Dermatitis. 2012;66(6):352-3. View abstract.
  • Mitchell, J. C. Allergic contact dermatitis from Hedera helix and Brassaia actinophylla (Araliaceae). Contact Dermatitis 1981;7(3):158-159. View abstract.
  • Paulsen E, Christensen LP, Andersen KE. Dermatitis from common ivy (Hedera helix L. subsp. helix) in Europe: past, present, and future. Contact Dermatitis. 2010;62(4):201-9. View abstract.
  • Rehman SU, Kim IS, Choi MS, Kim SH, Zhang Y, Yoo HH. Time-dependent Inhibition of CYP2C8 and CYP2C19 by Hedera helix Extracts, A Traditional Respiratory Herbal Medicine. Molecules. 2017;22(7). View abstract.
  • Villani P, Orsiere T, Sari-Minodier I, Bouvenot G, Botta A. [In vitro study of the antimutagenic activity of alphahederin]. Ann Biol Clin (Paris) 2001;59(3):285-289. View abstract.
  • Yesudian PD, Franks A. Contact dermatitis from Hedera helix in a husband and wife. Contact Dermatitis 2002;46(2):125-126. View abstract.

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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

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