Powerful Poison Ivy Treatment

by Jeannine Tidwell

A simple, quick, and effective poison ivy treatment. Isn't that what we all want? The first time I got that nasty red rash I promised myself I would find this kind of poison ivy remedy. And because I have known the pain of poison ivy I've told myself if ever I have the opportunity to share what I know about it that I would. So here I offer you some information and a poison ivy remedy compendium should you ever contract it yourself.

Poison Ivy Treatment

Can you guess the best way to deal with poison ivy?

Awareness. Yes, awareness. After all, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". Whether walking through a field, wandering the woods, passing by a thicket, or hiking along a trail there's a pretty good chance you'll run into poison ivy at some point or another. Given this probability, you owe it to yourself to have at least few simple identification pointers about this formidable plant so you'll be more aware of it.

Poison ivy has alternate, compound leaves consisting of three usually toothed or lobed leaflets. This is why the saying "leaves of three, let it be" has become well known. The leaves turn different colors through the seasons. But make no mistake about it, it is the oil, urushiol, is what makes the leaves sleek and shiny and leads to poison ivy rash. The clustered five-petaled flowers vary from being gray, yellow, white or green. They flower from spring to summer and the white berries form in summertime. The poison ivy plant is also a trickster, as it can take many different appearances and forms.

For a more thorough treatment on identification, check out our other article on the poison ivy plant here.

What's that rash on my legs? - Poison Ivy Symptoms

While it is true that 15% - 30% of people are not allergic to poison ivy, most of us are. Poison ivy symptoms are obvious: an irritating, itching feeling on your skin, a red rash, raised, swollen, and bumpy skin. Sometimes the rash area and the whole body can feel very hot and sensitive.

A really great poison ivy remedy I know of to help with these symptoms is to drink a brew of iced tea using cooling herbs. Get a tablespoon each of burdock, dandelion, cleavers, chickweed and mint and steep for an hour or longer in a quart of boiling water. Double the recipe and drink several cups a day. This will definitely help with the hot feeling that comes along with the rash. Do yourself a favor and eliminate hot spicy foods from your diet until the poison ivy is gone.

Natural Poison ivy treatment

One important piece of information to remember is that there is no single poison ivy treatment, natural or conventional, that will work 100% of the time for 100% of people. That said, some poison ivy remedies definitely work better than others. We encourage you to start at the top of the list here and keep trying different remedies until you get relief.

If you're looking for poison ivy treatment the first thing to do is to clean the rash area with rubbing alcohol and then wash it with water. Then and only then bathe in warm water and soap. Do this as swiftly as possibly, ideally in 10 - 15 minutes of touching poison ivy otherwise the oil will have time to bind further with your skin, thereby producing that infamous rash. Wash your clothes and shoes as well to prevent further contact with the poison ivy oil.

If the rash has lingered and it looks like you're going to have to seek another poison ivy remedy, here are some great natural antidotes to help you find some quick relief and eliminate the rash.

Poison Ivy Sluice

Take a handful of baking soda and gently rub it on rash area. Rinse with warm water. You can also make a paste by mixing baking soda with a little bit of water and then apply the paste on as needed. Baking soda helps draw out the toxins and releases the urushiol from your skin. This particular poison ivy treatment has a documented history of being very effective.

Jewelweed Poultice

Gather some of the whole jewelweed plant (Impatiens capensis) and macerate well until it becomes wet in your hands. Apply the wet plant matter to the rash area directly. Leave on and repeat applications as needed.

Jewelweed helps to counterbalance the oils in poison ivy. Jewelweed is preventative if you apply it immediately after you have been in contact with the plant. It also can help reduce the rash. This poison ivy cure is also a highly effective one.

Jewelweed Ice Cubes

Gather jewelweed and chop up well. Blend in a blender or mash very well until it gets really wet. Put the mash into a cheesecloth or strainer and strain. Squeeze out all the liquid thoroughly. Freeze the jewelweed juice in ice cube trays in the freezer. Once frozen you can pull out an ice cube and let it melt onto the rash area. Apply as needed.

The benefit to jewelweed cubes is that you can store these herbal ice cubes in the freezer so that when you're not able to gather fresh jewelweed right away you can always get an ice cube out of the freezer at any moment. The cold ice cubes are a fast acting poison ivy remedy that offer immediate relief!

Herbal Combo Mist

  • 2 handfuls of hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) leaves
  • 2 handfuls of jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) leaves, stems, and stalks
  • 2 handfuls of wild lettuce (Lactuca virosa) leaves and stems
  • 6 - 10 Tbsp. water

Gather fresh herbs and blend in a blender until herbs are in liquid form. Pour into a large spray bottle and add 1 oz. of vodka for every 1 oz. of herbal liquid. Spray onto rash and affected areas as needed. The combination of these herbs and the compounds in them does a great job at relieving that infamous itch!

Poison Ivy Treatment

Conventional poison ivy cure

There are many things that will dry out the urushiol oil on your skin. This is what you want to achieve in seeking a poison ivy cure.

  • Topical medicines: Calamine lotion, Aveeno, apple cider vinegar, unsweetened yogurt, or tea tree oil applied directly onto the affected areas can dry it out.
  • Internal medicine: Taking vitamin C is a helpful poison ivy treatment as well
  • Baths: Soak in tepid sea salt water, an oatmeal bath, or baking soda. It has been reported that even tomato juice baths eliminate poison ivy immediately.

Once the poison ivy is gone you can moisturize your skin once again.

If you get a severe case of poison ivy I suggest evaluating whether you want further support from a doctor. Severe cases of poison ivy can sometimes mean bacterial skin infections. In extreme cases, reaction to poison ivy can result in anaphylaxis. Cases like these can clearly benefit from traditional western medicine.

Additional resources for poison ivy treatment

Having some resources handy for when you get into a bout with poison ivy is a must. Here are some additional resources to help you in your pursuit of poison ivy treatment.

  • Outwitting Poison Ivy by Susan Carol Hauser
  • A Field Guide to Venomous Animals and Poisonous Plants by Roger Caras, Steven Foster and Roger Tory Peterson
  • The Poison Oak and Poison Ivy Survival Guide by Sandra J. Baker
  • Attacked by Poison Ivy: A Psychological Understanding by Ann Belford Ulanov

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