Did you know how the symbol of love – the heart – came into being? And why it not only resembles the human heart, but looks completely different. One legend says that the shape of the symbol is taken from the leaves of the ivy – the plant that with its roots wraps around everything that is close to it. For the ancient Greeks and Romans, ivy symbolized deep affection, and it has become a symbol of love.
There are approximately 15 species of ivy that grow by crawling on the ground until they reach a stable climbing surface such as a tree or wall. Evergreen shrub with creeping or climbing stems, which develop adventitial aerial roots, used for attachment. The leaves are 3 -10 cm long, leathery, shiny, but the flowering branches are ovate or elliptical, and on the vegetative stems 3-5-parted with triangular entire lobes. The inflorescences are umbellate, located at the tips of the branches.
Beneficial ingredients of ivy
It contains up to 5% hederasaponin C, an aglycone containing triterpene hederagenin. It also contains the flavonol glycoside rutin, chlorogenic and caffeic acid, scopolin, tannins, resins, pectin, carotene and others.
Flavonoids are commonly found in plants, fruits and vegetables. They act as antioxidants and help bind toxins to remove them from the body.
In addition, flavonoids help cleanse and strengthen blood vessels, making them useful in circulatory disorders. Many flavonoids have anti-inflammatory properties as they can block inflammation and stabilize mast cells to reduce the release of histamine, which causes inflammation. Flavonoids also have the ability to modulate the production of various enzymes in the body. Enzymes are key factors in many body processes, blocking or producing more than a certain enzyme can have a positive effect on health. Ivy finds such flavonoids as quercetin, campherol, rutin.
Hedera helix medical use
Since ancient times, ivy has been used in medicine in both Europe and Asia. This plant was sacred to the Druids. Today it is widely used to treat diseases of the upper respiratory tract.
Studies show that ivy leaf extract helps increase oxygen delivery to the lungs and is a good anti-inflammatory and decongestant. It is especially effective in dry cough and is often included in medicines. A typical dose used in the treatment of obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma is 25 drops of leaf extract twice a day for children and 50 drops twice a day for adults. Broths and tea are made from the leaves. These tools can be used to wash wounds, skin ulcers. The leaf capsule can relieve pain caused by diseases of the skeletal system, such as arthritis, rheumatism, gout.
Healing properties of ivy
Ivy leaves are usually used in respiratory disorders. Due to their chemical nature, they act as a strong expectorant, anti-cellulite, antifungal, anti-inflammatory: the plant helps with inflammatory processes in the body and accelerates healing processes.
Hedera helix improves digestion, antioxidant, diaphoretic and causes sweating.
Ivy is used in the treatment of the following diseases – cough, chronic bronchitis, edema, gout, gallbladder inflammation, urogenital infections, ulcer.
Many people avoid keeping ivy in their homes. But you should know that this helps to clean the air in the home. The hedera helix is able to clean the house of toxic substances. These toxic substances can lead to many diseases when people in such premises are ill, and for no reason constantly experience certain diseases.
In addition, as some studies by British scientists show, ivy can significantly reduce the amount of toxic substances from various fungi and molds. Therefore, it can’t be considered a “harmful” indoor plant. On the contrary, it will help you make your home cleaner.