Common english ivy, or Hedera helix as it is botanically known, is a plant that most of us will be familiar with. Once it takes hold it will climb and cover every wall, fence or tree with vigorous growth. However it is not a New Zealand native, but originates from Europe and temperate Asia.
Ivy extract is oil that is taken from the leaves of the evergreen plant known as ivy. It is mainly used to promote a healthy respiratory system, but it can also be applied to the skin as an antiaging treatment. This extract is available in either a capsule or liquid form and it can be found in many types of crèmes and ointments. The ivy plant is native to southern Europe and should not be confused with poison ivy that is found in North and South America.
There are ingredients found in ivy extract that can make it an expectorant. This means that it can aid in the reduction of accumulated mucus found in the respiratory system. Saponins and an alkaloid called emetine, increase the secretion of mucus within the lungs. When coughing occurs, the mucus can be expelled through the mouth. Coughing can sometimes cause muscle spasms in the bronchial area and this extract can help soothe the spasms.
People who suffer with certain medical conditions, including asthma and bronchitis, can benefit by using ivy extract. The symptoms of these conditions include a shortness of breath, coughing, and heavy wheezing. This can be due to inflammation of the bronchial passages that can reduce the flow of air within the lungs. In this case, ivy extract can help boost the immune functions relating to the lungs. Thickness of mucus can also be reduced and the fluid can then be expelled easier.