(Hedera helix L.)
IVY, A POISONOUS PLANT
Common noun: Hedera Helix L.
Family: Ivy family – araliaceae.
Habitat: Europe, Asia and Africa. In woods, walls and shady places in general.
Active principles: Saponin (hederin), glycosides, malic acid, chlorogenic, formic, etc.
Active parts: Mainly the fruits. In lower levels the leaves.
Uses of ivy
It has been used as a medicinal plant. The fruits, which must never be used in home preparations because they are very dangerous, are emetic, so they were used to provoke vomiting.
Leaves in external preparations are suitable to cure skin wounds. Also, as an external remedy, ivy is a vasodilator (hederine in little doses achieves this effect) but in greater doses is vasoconstrictive.
Toxicity of ivy
High. Specially if fruits are ingested.
Ivy fruits are poisonous. They are very rich in saponins
Symptoms and side effects of ivy
The ingestion of ivy fruits is usually uncommon given the bitter and unpleasant taste they have. Children may suffer from intoxication with 5-10 fruit intake.
In high doses, high fever, respiratory arrest, coma.
Bad effects of ivy
Preparations of this plant can cause abortion.
Contact with the plant can produce reactions on the skin, especially produced by the hairs that cover the tender buds and that have a great capacity to penetrate the skin.
The juice of this plant can also be toxic by contact, and can cause dermatitis in the skin.
Is ivy toxic to animals?
It is considered toxic to cows, sheep and dogs. It has been shown that the canaries that pick the leaves of the ivy die soon, however it has not been shown to be toxic to many wild birds that use their fruits as food.
More information on ivy.