Systematic Review of Clinical Trials Assessing the Effectiveness of Ivy Leaf (Hedera Helix) for Acute Upper Respiratory Tract Infections

2011 | journal article; research paper. A publication of Göttingen

Jump to: Cite & Linked | Documents & Media | Details | Version history

Cite this publication

​Systematic Review of Clinical Trials Assessing the Effectiveness of Ivy Leaf (Hedera Helix) for Acute Upper Respiratory Tract Infections​
Holzinger, F. & Chenot, J.-F.​ (2011) 
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine2011 art. 382789​.​ DOI: 

Documents & Media

Chenot.pdf582.76 kBAdobe PDF


Published Version

Special user license Goescholar License


Holzinger, Felix; Chenot, Jean-François
Introduction. Among nonantibiotic cough remedies, herbal preparations containing extracts from leaves of ivy (Hedera helix) enjoy great popularity. Objective. A systematic review to assess the effectiveness and tolerability of ivy for acute upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs). Methods. We searched for randomized controlled trials (RCTs), nonrandomized controlled clinical trials and observational studies evaluating the efficacy of ivy preparations for acute URTIs. Study quality was assessed by the Jadad score or the EPHPP tool. Results. 10 eligible studies were identified reporting on 17463 subjects. Studies were heterogeneous in design and conduct; 2 were RCTs. Three studies evaluated a combination of ivy and thyme, 7 studies investigated monopreparations of ivy. Only one RCT (n=360) investigating an ivy/thyme combination used a placebo control and showed statistically significant superiority in reducing the frequency and duration of cough. All other studies lack a placebo control and show serious methodological flaws. They all conclude that ivy extracts are effective for reducing symptoms of URTI. Conclusion. Although all studies report that ivy extracts are effective to reduce symptoms of URTI, there is no convincing evidence due to serious methodological flaws and lack of placebo controls. The combination of ivy and thyme might be more effective but needs confirmation.
Issue Date
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 
Institut für Allgemeinmedizin 



Social Media