Sick woman sitting and covering her mouth with her left arm while holding a thermometer in her right hand.

Benefits of Ivy Leaf Extract for Cough

If you have ever suffered from a cough, you understand the frustration of sleep disruptions and the impact they can have on your overall well-being.  Fortunately, there are various over-the-counter products you can find that help relieve a cough. If you prefer naturally derived ingredients, ivy leaf may be one of the options for you. In this article, we will explore the properties of the Ivy plant and the benefits of ivy leaf extract in helping relieve coughs.

What Is Ivy Leaf?

Ivy leaf, also called English ivy leaf, comes from the Hedera helix L plant. The plant can now be found across the United States, Canada and across the world and is native to Europe and Asia.1 For decades, the leaves have been used to make extracts for use in herbal medicine as a remedy for combating respiratory infections.2,3

Before the plant can be used as a medicinal ingredient, it must undergo an extraction process. Acquiring ivy leaf extract involves the utilization of a solvent such as ethanol to dissolve the compounds present in the plant and create a liquid extract. The solvent is then partially or completely evaporated, resulting in the formation of a soft or dry extract.2

Relieving Cough with Ivy Leaf Extract

When you catch a cold virus, it can cause inflammation in your mucous membranes and the rest of your airway, leading to an increase in mucus production.13 Coughing is your body's natural response to help clear mucus from the airways in an effort to restore the body’s respiratory function back to normal.4

An expectorant is a type of cough medicine used to help clear mucus (phlegm) from your airways.5 Several studies have shown that ivy leaf extract has anti-inflammatory and expectorant properties. The anti-inflammatory and expectorant properties are from phenolic acids, flavonoids, and saponins that can reduce inflammation and swelling in the airways, loosen mucus and relieve chest congestion, thereby relieving cough symptoms.6.14

Ivy leaf extract is commonly used as an active ingredient in cough medicines such as cough syrups and has been proven to be both safe and effective in relieving cough symptoms.6

Is Ivy Leaf Extract Good for Chronic Bronchitis?

Bronchitis occurs when the airways leading to your lungs become inflamed and filled with mucus. There are 2 main types of bronchitis, acute and chronic.7

Acute bronchitis is a very common type of bronchitis and is often caused by cold or other respiratory infections. It typically goes away in 2 to 3 weeks.8 Chronic bronchitis, a more serious condition, is defined as inflammation of the airways. The condition is defined as a productive cough that can last at least three months.9

Studies have shown that ivy leaf extract is effective and safe in the treatment of bronchitis, which is characterized by symptoms such as excessive mucus production and productive cough in adults.10

How to Use Ivy Leaf?

Consuming raw or unprocessed ivy leaf can be harmful and may cause adverse effects.12 Ivy leaf is typically processed and used in the form of syrups or other formulations specifically designed for medicinal use. Cough products containing ivy leaf extracts are available in Canada in forms that include syrups and tablets.

Products like BENYLIN® HERBAL Cough Syrup contains naturally derived ivy leaf extract, which is used as an expectorant to support and improve the respiratory function of adults who have a cough and chronic bronchitis. Try BENYLIN® HERBAL Cough Syrup Ivy Leaf to relieve cough, loosen mucus and decongest your chest. This syrup is suitable for individuals aged 12 and above.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can find the frequently asked question and answers on ivy leaf below.

Does ivy leaf have any side effects?

Ivy leaf extract is generally considered safe for use in relieving coughs when taken at recommended doses. However, people who are hypersensitive to plants in the ivy family must not take ivy leaf medications because of the risk of allergic reactions. Overdose of ivy leaf extracts can cause agitation, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.2,11

Is ivy leaf extract safe in pregnancy?

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult a healthcare professional before using products that contain ivy leaf extract.

How much & how often should I take products with ivy leaf extract?

The Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC) recommends a daily extract dose of 45-105 mg for individuals aged 12 years or older.11 You should always follow the dosage instructions provided on the product label. 

When to Consult a Doctor

When you are suffering from coughs and congestion, ivy leaf extract can be an effective option for relieving cough symptoms. It is important to consult a doctor under the following circumstances when using ivy leaf extract: 

  • You are experiencing any severe or persistent side effects after taking the extract.
  • Your symptoms worsen or last longer after using ivy leaf extract for a recommended period as specified on your product label.
  • You have any pre-existing medical conditions or are taking other medications, as there may be potential interactions.


Sick woman sitting and covering her mouth with her left arm while holding a thermometer in her right hand.

Explore ivy leaf extract, a naturally derived ingredient that helps relieve coughs and chronic bronchitis

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