Also known as English ivy, true ivy and woodbind, Hedera helix is a native of Europe and South Asia. It is also found in the USA where it is used as a groundcover since it grows and spreads quickly even in shaded areas. In some parts of America however, it is considered as an invasive weed.
It has been acclaimed for its antibacterial, anti-rheumatic, astringent, emetic, parasiticide, vasoconstrictor, vermifuge, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, anti-viral, anti-mycotic, anti-thrombin, stimulant and antioxidant properties.
In ancient times it was used for treating painful joints, swollen tissues, skin eruptions, suppurating wounds, and rheumatism.
It is used in many alternative medicine systems for treating whooping cough, gastro-duodenal ulcers, sunburn, spleen disorders, calluses, scabies, rheumatic diseases, anti-parasites, nerve damage, liver diseases, gout, gallbladder disorders, dysentery, cough, arthritis and as decongestant.
Hedera helix is safe to use both internally and externally. However, when used internally caution needs to be exercised since it can be toxic taken in excess amount. It is recommended that when administered internally, supervision of a qualified medical personnel is sought.
The medicinal herb has been approved by the German Commission E for treatment of bronchitis and cough among others.
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