Herbs & Plants

Hedera helix

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Botanical Name : Hedera helix
Family: Araliaceae
Genus: Hedera
Species: H. helix
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Synonyms:  Hedera acuta, Hedera arborea (“tree ivy“), Hedera baccifera, Hedera grandifolia, English Ivy, Bindwood, and Lovestone.

Hedera is the generic term for ivy. The specific epithet helix derives from Ancient Greek “twist, turn” (see: Helix).

Common Names :Common ivy, English ivy, European ivy, or just ivy.

Habitat : -The plant is found over the greater part of Europe and Northern and Central Asia, and is said to have been particularly abundant at Nyssa, the fabled home of Bacchus in his youth.(It ranges from Ireland northeast to southern Scandinavia, south to Portugal, and east to Ukraine and northern Turkey.
The northern and eastern limits are at about the ?2°C winter isotherm, while to the west and southwest, it is replaced by other species of ivy.) There are many varieties, but only two accepted species, i.e. Hedera Helix and the Australian species, which is confined to the southern Continent.

Hedera helix is an evergreen climbing plant, growing to 20–30 m (66–98 ft) high where suitable surfaces (trees, cliffs, walls) are available, and also growing as groundcover where there are no vertical surfaces. It climbs by means of aerial rootlets with matted pads which cling strongly to the substrate. CLICK & SEE
The leaves are alternate, 50–100 mm long, with a 15–20 mm petiole; they are of two types, with palmately five-lobed juvenile leaves on creeping and climbing stems, and unlobed cordate adult leaves on fertile flowering stems exposed to full sun, usually high in the crowns of trees or the top of rock faces. CLICK & SEE
The flowers are produced from late summer until late autumn, individually small, in 3–5 cm diameter umbels, greenish-yellow, and very rich in nectar, an important late autumn food source for bees and other insects.
The fruit are purple-black to orange-yellow berries 6–8 mm diameter, ripening in late winter, and are an important food for many birds, though somewhat poisonous to humans.


There are one to five seeds in each berry, which are dispersed by birds eating the berries.

There are three subspecies:

*Hedera helix subsp. helix.
Central, northern and western Europe. Plants without rhizomes. Purple-black ripe fruit.

*Hedera helix subsp. poetarum Nyman (syn. Hedera chrysocarpa Walsh).
Southeast Europe and southwest Asia (Italy, Balkans, Turkey). Plants without rhizomes. Orange-yellow ripe fruit.

*Hedera helix subsp. rhizomatifera
McAllister. Southeast Spain. Plants rhizomatiferous. Purple-black ripe fruit.

The closely related species Hedera canariensis and Hedera hibernica are also often treated as subspecies of H. helix, though they differ in chromosome number so do not hybridise readily. H. helix can be best distinguished by the shape and colour of its leaf trichomes, usually smaller and slightly more deeply lobed leaves and somewhat less vigorous growth, though identification is often not easy. CLICK & SEE

Medicinal Uses:
In the past, the leaves and berries were taken orally as an expectorant to treat cough and bronchitis. In 1597, the British herbalist John Gerard recommended water infused with ivy leaves as a wash for sore or watering eyes. The leaves can cause severe contact dermatitis in some people. People who have this allergy (strictly a Type IV hypersensitivity) are also likely to react to carrots and other members of the Apiaceae as they contain the same allergen, falcarinol.

Culpepper says of the Ivy: ‘It is an enemy to the nerves and sinews taken inwardly, but most excellent outwardly.’

To remove sunburn it is recommended to smear the face with tender Ivy twigs boiled in butter; according to the old English Leechbook of Bald.

Other Uses:
It is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant. Within its native range, the species is greatly valued for attracting wildlife. The flowers are visited by over 70 species of nectar-feeding insects, and the berries eaten by at least 16 species of birds. The foliage provides dense evergreen shelter, and is also browsed by deer.

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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15 House Plants You Can Use As Air Purifiers

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Hereare 15 plants that could clean your air for just the price of a few drops of water each day. First let’s check some of the evidence behind the claim that plants can purify your household air:

1. NASAResearch:

A NASAresearch document came to the conclusion that “house plants can purify and rejuvenate air within our houses and workplaces, safeguarding us all fromany side effects connected with prevalent toxins such as formaldehyde, ammoniaand also benzene.”

2. InteriorPlants: Their Influence on Airborne Microbes inside Energy-efficient Buildings

In another study made in 1996,a bedroom with no plants had 50% more colonies of airborne microbes than a room which contained houseplants.

3. FoliagePlants:  For Indoor Removal of The Primary Combustion Gases Carbon Monoxide andNitrogen Dioxide

During a laboratory experiment in 1985, Dr. Wolverton PHD compared the removal of carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide using asealed chamber of spider plants.

4. DrWolverton – Formaldehyde removal experiment

In anotherlaboratory study by Dr. Wolverton PHD, he compared a number of house plants at removing formaldehyde from a sealed chamber. Formaldehyde is a common household toxin that is released from a variety of household items.

Withreference to the experiments of Dr Wolverton and the NASA experiments,A compiled  list of 15 house plants that provide the greatest level of airpurification.

1. Areca Palm Tree:-

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The Arecapalm tree is the very best air purifying plant according to the ratings fromNASA’s research and has the 8th highest removal rate for Formaldehyde according to Dr Wolverton’s data. This house plant was referred to as“the most effective air humidifier” by The Areca has the ability to maintain your office or home moist throughout dry periods as well as continually removing chemical toxins from your air. In the course of the winter season, it’s so effective at putting moisture back in the airthat you could switch off your electric humidifiers!

2. Lady Palm:-

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This houseplant – Lady palm (or Rhapis excelsa) achieved exactly the same rating asthe Areca Palm tree in NASA’s research. This adaptable house plant, canbe stored in dry or moist parts of the world ( between 20-100° Fahrenheit) and is particularly resistant to the majority sorts of plant insects.The Lady Palm is not the most effective at removing Formaldehyde so if this is a concernthen i would suggest you look at another plant.

You may clicl to read more
3. Bamboo Palm:-

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The bamboopalm was the third most powerful plant at removing formaldehyde from the air.It ranked third in the NASA experiment so is a good all rounder at keeping yourroom air clean. This house plant will grow best in a moist but not wet soil andin direct sunlight. However this palm will require lots of room to grow, so itmight not be the best option if want this plant to sit on your desk.
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4. Rubber Plant:-

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This rubberhouse plant (Ficus robusta) has been mentioned as one of the leading Twentyplants by Doctor. B.C. “Bill” Wolverton’s “50 Houseplants That Purify Your Home Or Office.” This rubber house plant provides moisture, eliminates bio effluents, takes awayvolatile organic compounds as well as suppresses air based microorganisms assoon as it’s put into a roomAs timepasses this rubber plant will become much more skilled at eliminating toxiccompounds present in the air. Bacteria within the rubber plants leaves break upthe toxins and also feast on them. The procedure subsequently emits clean airin to the surrounding environment. Since the plant grows, these microorganisms increase.This increased number of bacteria assist the rubber house plant in becoming progressively more effective at extracting further toxic compounds from theair.

5. Janet Craig – Dracaena:-

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The Dracaena(or Dracaena deremensis)places fifth on NASA’s ranking with a 7.8 score. According to datait can remove Formaldehyde, at a rate of 1,328 micrograms per hour. It also removes Xylene, at a rate of 154 micrograms per hour according to

Recommended Placement in Home: These are especially effective in newly carpeted ornewly furnished rooms were formaldehyde levels are at the highest.

Tips to keepthis plant healthy:

*Favours vibrant light, although not direct sunlight.

*Water completely through early spring through the winter season and allow the plant’s soil to dry out in between watering

6. English Ivy:-

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If your airflow in your geographical area has got stagnant and dried out, English ivy(also known as Hedera helix) may be just the solution! talks aboutthis effervescent house plant as “a solution for allergic reactions” observing that sixty percent of air based mold within the space was removed after just six hrsright after English ivy had been introduced.People that have allergies, asthma, or even the desire to inhale cleaner, more fresh airmight be wise to give this English ivy plant a shot!

7. Date Palm Tree:-

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Although itdoes not position at the top of the purifying scale when compared to it’s three palm relatives, make no mistake: this Date palm house plant(also known as Phoenix roebelinii) remains an extremely efficient and stylish looking method to both cheer up the design of an area and reduce the content level of volatile organic compounds floating all over the air.

The Datehouse plant is very effective at getting rid of formaldehyde thus works great in combination with other purifier plants (has the second highest removal rateafter the fern plant.)
8. Ficus Alii:-

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This ficusalii (also known as the Ficus macleilandii) isn’t as strong in it’spollutant-removing effectiveness as, say, a rubber plant, however it remains anexcellent addition to any kind of office or home wherever clear air is missing.Although they aren’t terribly difficult to look after, Plant alerts to us that hand protection ought to be used whilst dealing with thehouse plant for those who have latex allergic reactions.

9. Boston Fern:-

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The Bostonfern was the most effective plant at removing Formaldehyde and removed significantly more per hour than the rest of plants examined.Studies havealso shown that the Boston fern will also eliminate heavy metals, such as mercury and arsenic from the soil.
10. Peace Lilly:-

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The PeaceLily (also known as Spathiphyllumsp.) is a perfect air purifier plant for those who don’t havegreen fingers. Peace Lilies are often found in malls because they are so easyto grow.If youscared you might kill your new house plant then I recommend you go for thisone.
11. Aloe Vera:-

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Aloe verawas proven to be a lot more effective at the elimination of formaldehyde at lesser concentrations when compared with Philodendrons. Aloe vera is likewisefamous as being a healing plant acknowledged for it’s therapeuticqualities, giving it the majority of its nicknames.

12. Spider Plants:-

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The spider plant was used by Dr Wolverton in his 1985 study that examined the plants removal of carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. In a room with many spiderplants the amount of carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide dropped to near zero after only 24 hours.


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Thisparticularly attractive house plant was shown to be effective at removing the VOC compound – benzene which has been known to cause cancer.

Many tobaccoproducts contain high levels of benzene so it would be helpful to have one of these plants in a smoking household. However no house plant can ever negate theeffects of tobacco smoke.Remember tobe careful with Chrysanthemum as it is poisonous when ingested or with prolonged skin exposure.
14. Heartleaf  philodendron:-

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The showed that the Philodendron house plant was one of the best house plantfor elimination formaldehyde from the surrounding air, especially when working with higher concentrations.

15. Snake Plants or Mother of Law Tongue:-

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Snake houseplants — these types of plants tend to be incredible growers and also extremely tough. They’re excellent at eliminating the majority of toxinsplus they are quite happy to grow in areas where other plants may decline and perish ( say for example a hot window ledge). Also, they are great bathroom and darker area plants.

One Final Point:-
Make sure toMaintain your house plants in a good condition and make sure you have enough ofthem. The NASA research advised that there should be a six inch plant for every100 sq feet of interior living space.
Source: Jan 1 2011: Some of Nasa’s findings

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