Ivy toxicity


Common noun: Hedera Helix L.

Family: Ivy family – araliaceae.

Ivy decorating a house

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 (hederin in little doses achieves this effect) but in greater doses is vasoconstrictive.

Toxicity of ivy

High. Specially if fruits are ingested.

Ivy fruits
Ivy fruits are poisonous. They are very rich in saponins

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 smaller doses, ivy can produce digestive problems (intestinal irritation, vomiting, diarrhea), nervous excitement, drunkenness.
  • 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.

This article was endorsed by Montserrat Enrich - Journalist specializing in edible wild plants and plant uses.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

12 December, 2021

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