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Natural Cures & Remedies for Poison Ivy

Natural Cures & Remedies for Poison Ivy

Measles make you bumpy
And mumps’ll make you lumpy
And chicken pox’ll make you jump and twitch
A common cold’ll fool ya
And whooping cough can cool ya
But poison ivy, Lord’ll make you itch!

-The Coasters

If you are one of the approximately 85% of the population who are allergic to poison ivy, then you’re probably already familiar with the intense discomfort it can cause from severely itchy, painful, oozy blisters and rashes.

How to Identify Poison Ivy

Poison ivy grows throughout most of North America, including most Canadian provinces and all U.S. states except Alaska, Hawaii and California. It thrives along the edges of wooded areas, which makes it especially prominent in suburban communities.

Poison ivy plant

A poison ivy plant features three almond-shaped leaflets, and may have grayish-white berries. The leaves, which are smooth and shiny, are often red when the plant is young, turning light green and then dark green as summer progresses, and reverting to bright red or orange again in the fall. The leaves are generally anywhere from 1” to 5” long, but can, in rare cases, grow to be up to 10” long. Poison ivy vines have no thorns, but will often feature fine reddish root hairs along the stem.

Want to Avoid Poison Ivy? Try Rhyming!

Here are a few mnemonics people have used over the years to help them avoid poison ivy:

Leaves of three, let it be.
Hairy vine, no friend of mine.
Berries white, run in fright or Berries white, danger in sight.
Red leaflets in the spring, it’s a dangerous thing.
Side leaflets like mittens will itch like the dickens.
If butterflies land there, don’t put your hand there.

Natural Remedies for Poison Ivy

Here are some natural remedies for poison ivy—if you are unlucky enough to come in contact with it—that will help reduce the itching and pain. Before trying any of these remedies, be sure to first wash the area thoroughly with soap and hot water, using a washcloth. Rinse and repeat at least three times to ensure that all of the poison is gone. Urushiol, the substance in poison ivy that makes you itchy, is a sticky oil that is hard to wash away. Make certain to wash all clothes, and anything else that came into contact with the plant, too.

Stop the pain and itching of poison ivy by rubbing a watermelon rind over the rash. Allow it to dry naturally.

  • Witch hazel applied to the affected area can soothe the itching.
  • Cover the rash with a paste made from cold coffee and baking soda. A paste made from water and cornstarch will also work.
  • Take a warm bath with oatmeal or Epsom salt. Use about one cup of oatmeal or two cups of Epsom salt in a full bathtub.
  • Rub a banana peel or a watermelon rind over the rash and don’t rinse it off. Allow it to dry naturally.
  • Make a paste from one tablespoon of turmeric with equal parts of lime or lemon juice and apply to the affected area.
  • Whip a raw potato into a paste in your blender. Spread it onto your skin and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
  • Make a paste from one tablespoon of salt, 1/8 teaspoon of peppermint essential oil, 1 to 2 cups green clay, and a little water (just enough to give it a pasty texture). Apply liberally and leave in place for approximately 30 minutes. Rinse. Apply 2-3 times daily.
  • Rub dishwashing liquid onto skin area with a washcloth and allow it to dry. Reapply as needed.
  • Apply tea made from burdock root or peach tree leaves. Allow it to dry on the skin, and reapply as often as desired.
  • 3% hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle and spray the affected areas and allow to air dry. Helps to treat symptoms as well as to dry the rash.

Not-So-Fun Fact: Urushiol remains active for up to 5 years. So even a dead poison ivy plant can cause a rash!

Poison Ivy Jewelweed Soap

Price: $6.99

Our mild Poison Ivy Jewelweed Soap contains the juices from jewelweed, along with soothing coconut, olive and palm oils, to effectively remove the nasty urushiol (the invisible plant oil) that causes the itching, burning rash of poison ivy. Use in bath or shower or rub onto areas that have been exposed. Made in Maine and ready for the spring gardening/weeding season.

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  • Carol Darbyshire says:

    Awesome! Thank you for all the remedies. I don’t use herbicides so I have poison ivy in all my hedgerows. I wonder if your remedies will work against the chigger bite itch. Betcha some will.

  • RFarris says:

    We use a product called Rhus Tox aka Outdoor Joe’s. Works wonders on building an immunity to poison ivy. Also Dawn dish soap after any contact.

  • Carl S Bagwell says:

    I can even walk by it and almost catch it because I’m very allergic to poison ivy and oak!

  • Kay says:

    Apply apple cider compress for five minutes. Then apply Tea Tree Oil and let dry. Dries up and gone in a couple days.

  • If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1919, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.

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