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Scientists decipher: How ivy extract relieves cough
Respiratory infections are the most common reason for sick leave in Germany. According to data from the AOK, every fifth incapacity for work (23.1 percent) is due to this disease group. The most stressful side effect of acute inflammation of the respiratory tract is the cough. Fortunately, plant medicine has always offered effective and well-tolerated aids to its treatment.
The evergreen leaves of ivy (Hedera helix Linné) contain a number of medicinally effective substances. Properly prepared, ivy extracts relax the bronchial muscles, loosen the mucus, make it easier to cough up and increase the secretion production in the upper respiratory tract.
It has long been known that ivy preparations are effective. However, the actual mechanism of action has only recently been deciphered. Prof. Dr. Hanns Häberlein from the Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Bonn presented the results of his latest experiments in Munich, in which he examined the effects of dry ivy extract on the bronchial muscles (published in Phytomedicine, doi: 10.1016 / j.phymed.2010.05.010 ).
The biochemical relationships determined by the Bonn working group are admittedly extremely complicated. Professor Häberlein: “The saponins contained in ivy, especially the a-hederin, are of particular therapeutic relevance. In cells of the smooth bronchial muscles, a-hederin causes certain (so-called ß2-adrenergic) receptors to remain functional for longer and can be optimally activated by the body's own adrenaline. Adrenaline is the physiologically strongest bronchodilator and mediates a decrease in the intracellular calcium concentration, which leads to a relaxation of the cramped bronchial muscles in bronchitis ”.
The working group was able to demonstrate this effect of the ivy active ingredient a-hederin with the help of force measurements on isolated muscle strips from the trachea of the cattle. The investigations showed that under the influence of the substance there is an isometrically measurable improvement in the relaxation of the muscles in the respiratory tract. (kfn, December 15, 2010)