Poison ivy.

Newsgroups: alt.folklore.herbs
Subject: Re: Poison Ivy.... Preventative?
From: powaq.ix.netcom.com (Powaqqatsi)
Date: Wed, 04 Oct 1995 08:43:21 GMT

>Some friends of mine are suffering massive poison Ivy reactions after clearing some land... In addition to any helpful soothing substances you could recommend, I wonder if anyone knows of an oil or salve that they can use the next time they clear land, to try and prevent another reaction.

I have a sort of immunity to poison ivy, Only if I handle it or walk through it repetitively do I feel an itch and I just wash off the area with soap and water to remove the irritating oils. But.. I've been told, that Jewelweed, crushed in your hands and rubbed on the areas can relieve you of the problem. Jewelweed often grows right alongside poison ivy, so nature has provided a cure right next to the cause for you. They are also known as "Touch-Me-Nots" because if you touch the ripe seed pods they explode and scatter seeds around. Fun to show them to kids when in the woods. (Check your wild-flower books for a picture and description.)

Another cure, though I've not personally known anyone to try it, came from an old Euell Gibbons book I once had. He recommended that people who live in highly infested areas of poison-ivy and need to work around them all summer long should build up an immunity to them by:

(If I remember right).... when the very first signs of poison-ivy leaves appear in spring, just out of bud-stage, you should eat 3 of the leaves. Then in (was it the next day? 3 days later?...) you need to eat three more leaves which have now grown a bit larger. Basically, you eat three leaves each day (I think) as the leaves grow, until you are actually eating three grown leaves. Eat them as the plant grows them. By the time you've eaten a grown leaf, you are immune, but ONLY for that year.

I KNOW I have the dosages and spacing of them wrong, but maybe someone out there has an old Euell Gibbons book they can check to rectify this?

I'd just stick with the Jewelweed until you hear further on this Gibbons' method. :) Any other ideas?

From: chenuec.aol.com (ChenueC)

I have a constant problem with Poion Oak - my dog plays in it - I play with the dog, etc. I have found Rhus Tox in 30x a homeopathic remedy to be the best of everything ( and I have tried mega numbers of things) for immediate relief.

I also sassafrass tea when I can find it but any blood cleanser herb would do since the toxin is in the blood.

Finally and you will find this only in very old folk remedy books - I bathe in very hot water which gets very intense at first but stops the itching for a long time. I follow this bath by putting on aloe vera gel. I do the bathing as often as I need to. I have had the rash all over my face and in my eyes and have had it relieved within 12 hours using this combination.

From: Lorraine Cherry <lcherry.son1.nur.uth.tmc.edu>

To relieve the itching of poison ivy, take a very, very hot shower; as hot as you can bear short of actually scalding your skin. This itches almost unbearably as you do it, but then the itching miraculously disappears for as long as four-five hours. I had a very sever case of poison ivy last summer, and I can swear that this is the only thing that worked.

From: dbrose.aol.com (Donya Rose)

I am terribly alergic to poison ivy, as is my son. I find the hot water treatment works well, but I use it just as hot as I can stand it on a washcloth as a compress.

My midwife also recently suggested Sunlight dishwashing soap, applied straight to the itchy site. I haven't yet had occasion to try that one.

And, finally, as a preventive, a soap called TecNu, available in drug stores, can be applied before going into a potentially infested area to minimize effects. It can also be used to wash away the oil from the plant after the fact.

From: Liz Jones <lizjones+.pitt.edu>

Oh, you poor thing. I sympathize heartily because this spring I got digusted with all the poison ivy growing between me and my blackberries and took the weed whacker to it. BAD idea. There is an excellent section on poison ivy remedies in the medicinal FAQ which I've had the opportunity to study in detail for the last several months. Best advice of all seems to be don't scratch. Although this is VERYVERY hard to do! Short of that, any product which makes the irritated area numb is great because it helps you stop scratching. Solarcaine works for me, and contains a bit of aloe to boot.

And one more thing-- Euell Gibbons may think it's a good idea to consume poison ivy, but it could _kill_ you. Systemic poison ivy goes far beyond irritating in its effects on your system, especially if you're allergic already.

From: bo869.FreeNet.Carleton.CA (Carlene Paquette)

> Some friends of mine are suffering massive poison Ivy reactions after clearing some land...

I don't really know if this classifies as preventative but I always remember that my Mom used to bring sunlight soap with us on vacation. After a hike we all used the sunlight soap in the shower. (Be warned - not knowing your hands are contaminated with poison ivy and then bathing can lead to some very bad poison ivy cases in very sensitive areas!) It was supposed to kill off the poison ivy before real trouble set in. I guess it worked since I've never had poison ivy in my life (to my knowledge).

Additionally, one could try making a tincture of Jewelweed by boiling the stems, etc. and straining the water. This juice could probably be added to petroleum jelly or something and tried as a salve. I don't know how well it would work though.

Finally, I suggest that your friends remember to wash everything they were wearing very thoroughly including gloves and shoes as the poison ivy sap can stay on these items and contaminate the wearer with any contact.

From: Marylin.Kraker.bbs.c4systm.com (Marylin Kraker)

> Some friends of mine are suffering massive poison Ivy reactions after clearing some land...

As far as I know, the real preventive is to wear gloves, long sleeves, long pants. When you undress, be careful not to touch any poison ivy oil on the clothes, and launder immediately in fels naptha.

As help after you've gotten into poison ivy -- there's usually jewelweed growing nearby. You can crush stems and leaves and rub on yourself, or make a strong infusion to pour on the itchy spots. I've found that hot jewelweed "tea" works even better than cold, and when I got some poison ivy on one arm this summer, took jewelweed infusion to work and nuked it before pouring it over the arm several times a day. The infusion has to be refrigerated or frozen to prevent spoiling.

From: cyli <cyli.visi.com>

> Some friends of mine are suffering massive poison Ivy reactions after clearing some land...

Wear covering clothing in poison ivy areas. Long pants, long sleeves, gloves, etc.. Don't touch bare skin with anything that might have touched poison ivy (e.g. Don't wipe sweat off your face with your gloved hand...). Remove the clothing carefully afterward and wash it with care. Have a good shower in case you did get some on you.

I've heard that if you do get some, scratching doesn't actually spread it. It just manifests first in the place most heavily touched by the ivy's oils. Nearby places were more lightly touched or are less sensitive, so show later. Strong scratching, however, cannot be good for the skin so some herbal onitments or commercial itch preparations would be adviseable.

Burning poison ivy can spread the volatile oils into the air, generally misting anything downwind, so be careful of that,too. As well as petting house pets that may have romped through any during their travels in the woods.

I used to be immune to the stuff. But had read that immunity can vanish unpredictably, so tried to stay wary. Not wary enough, I guess. Finally got some during a heated game of splattball (not enough time to look where you're diving sometimes.) and I can assure you that immunity can vanish suddenly.