Thursday, June 17, 2010

Poison ivy home remedy

When we woke up this morning both children had red itchy rashes from poison ivy, perhaps a souvenir 
from our recent trip, reminders of good times comes in all sizes:)
Anyways, before we had breakfast we went straight to the yard to find some plants to help with the itch and the subsequent spreading of these rashes.
We are fortunate to have three excellent choices right in our back yard.

 A wonderful plant with many benefits, which grows in shady spots usually by water, here it is growing by the creek in the back yard. It is great to use fresh, simply break off a stem and rub between your hands and smear the "sap" straight onto the rash, it stopped the itching almost immediately, and it works to dry out the blisters as well. It is also great to put on before entering an area where you may encounter poison ivy and in this way use it as a preventative, or right after you know you have been in contact with the poison ivy to prevent breakout.
 A good wash within 20 min of contact also works as the oils of the ivy has not yet bound with the skin.

Which is one of my favorite plants. It has so many medicinal benefits, great as a topical solution for any skin condition, great internally in teas as well as tinctures for a number of reasons (check link if interested), grows fast and can be cut down several times over the course of a season, which makes it a great mulch plant, and the list goes on, I love plants that have such a wide range of uses.
Keep in mind before planting, that the long tap root, is not easily removed, and once planted very hard to   move should you regret the chosen location, a new plant will grow from even the smallest piece of root left behind, this also makes it very easy to propagate, but do not be light about where you plant it. 

Another common garden weed with tons of benefits, don't you just love how almost every plant 
around us, serves as food or medicine or both. When I first arrived in these mountains, this was one of the first plants I was made aware of, it is a well know remedy for stings, and we even used it a few times just this past week on our trip, as several children and myself got wasp stings, simply pull off a leaf chew it up in your mouth and apply on sting, it works amazingly every time. It has numerous other benefits as well, check link if interested. 

So here is our basket full of plants, another love of mine, as you may have noticed; baskets full of 
greens, herbs and/or flowers 

back inside, having already applied the fresh sap of the jewelweed to the rashes, we broke open the rest of the stems of the jewelweed and ripped the leaves of the plantain and the comfrey 

put it in a big pot, added water and boiled for I'd say about 45 min, let it cool a bit and strained

we made some into ice cubes, which feels great on a burning itchy rash, and filled some into little spray bottles to carry around with us, for whenever we do not have the fresh stems on hand, and besides the children love anything that comes in spray bottles:)
The rest will be stored in the fridge, and shared with friends

and just because it feels right to end with a flower shot whenever possible, here is another of the thistle that so fascinated me on our trip to Virginia

may your day be poison ivy free:)


  1. We don't have poison ivy in the UK, but it has become so well known that it is not uncommon for people to think our ivy is poisonous, in the same way. I seem to remember someone telling me that it can be ground and used as a flour. It is reported to have medicinal uses as well.

    I'm with you on the "last shot should be a flower".

  2. this is a great remedy to know. i knew about jewelweed, and of course the incredible properties of plantain and comfrey individually, but i love the ice cube idea!! the kids would really appreciate that.

    i love that thistle. it is quite common in colorado and we called it bristle thistle. so cool that you saw it in va!

  3. Comming out of Desoto,MO. Thanks!!!!! We have tons of Poison Ivy

  4. I am HORRIBLY allergic to Poison Ivy. Last summer I wound up with it on my arms, hands,legs and the worst of all my face. I seriously looked like I had been mugged and beaten to within an inch of my life because my whole face had swollen so much you could barely find 1 of my eyes! Thank you VERY much for this information!!


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