Summer time hopefully means playing outside and playing outside means bug bites and poison ivy. It's like a right of passage for most kids and everyone ends up with it at some point!
You know the saying, "leaves of three let it be", but do you really know what poison ivy looks like? It's best to steer clear of this plant but if you end up with a rash here are some great, all natural remedies to help you heal quick!
- Take the itch away and dry up the rash with a paste of Apple cider vinegar and baking soda. Most people have these two items readily available in their kitchen. Apply this paste 2-3 times a day, let it sit for 30 sec on your skin (or longer) and rinse off. (Caution: Some people have a reaction to baking soda. If this is you, please check out the other remedies below!)
Jewelweed is incredibly effective for poison ivy. Jewelweed is best known for its skin healing properties. It’s a very delicate plant, with thin leaves that look silver under water, a juicy stem, and shallow roots. In late summer, bright orange flowers appear and even later, each plant is covered in tiny seed pods that pop open, throwing their seeds everywhere when touched, which gives it it’s nickname – touch-me-nots.
The leaves and the juice from the stem of Jewelweed are used by herbalists as a treatment for poison ivy, oak and other plant induced rashes, as well as many other types of dermatitis. Jewelweed works by counter-reacting with the chemicals in other plants that cause irritation.You can try hunting for it in the woods (known as wildcrafting) if it grows in your region or you can buy jewelweed online. If you want to wildcraft, Jewelweed blooms May through October in the eastern part of North America from Southern Canada to the northern part of Florida. It is found most often in moist woods, usually near poison ivy or stinging nettle. Look on the edge of creek beds.
To prepare the jewelweed, you steep it like tea. Brew chopped jewelweed in boiling water until you get a dark orange liquid. It can then be used as a compress on your skin. Strain the liquid and pour into ice cube trays. When you have a skin rash, rub it with a jewelweed cube and you will be amazed with its healing properties. It will keep in freezer up to a year.
- Plantain Leaves. This plant grows everywhere and it's a must have in your herbal first-aid kit. It's considered one of the top 25 most commonly used herbs. Plantain will stop bleading, draw out toxins, soothe tissues, is an anti-inflamatory and anti-microbial, and it's drying.
Identifying plantain is fairly easy. Not only are the leaves shaped like ovals and grouped together in groups of 8-15, but they have 6-7 large veins that run vertically up the back of the leaf and very stringy-like roots that come out of the ends of the leaves. They’re bright green, and as you get closer to the base of the plant where it meets the ground, it turns a deep reddish-purple. In the fall, they produce long, skinny shoots that are covered in seeds. The big advantage of using plantain, especially for poison ivy, is that it’s very drying and it helps to reduce the inflammation caused by poison ivy. These properties will help sooth the skin, reduce the rash, and dry the weeping up quickly.
- Not interested in DIY? Look for Burt's Bee's Pison Ivy soap at a local health food store. You can also buy jewelweed based skincare products from small business like http://www.altnaturestore.com/category/jewelweed who offers a money back guarantee on her herbal products!
Let's make an herbal poultice!
Jewelweed Leaves and Stems
Aloe Vera Gel
Step 1 - Gather your herbs and wash them. You will want to trim off any brown spots, rotten pieces, and the roots.
Step 2 - Chop all the herbs us and put them in something you can blend them in. You can use a mortar and pestle or a food processor.
What you’re looking for is to press the juices out of the plants. As you blend the herbs together, you’ll need to add a small amount of aloe juice to your mix to liquify it a bit more. If you’re using a blender or food processor, all you need are some short, quick bursts to get the job done.
Step 3 - Once it’s finished, you can start using it. Spread a thin layer of your green juice over any areas of poison ivy and allow it to dry. As more as need, and store your leftovers in an air-tight container (half-pint canning jars work perfectly) in the refrigerator. It will keep for a week before you need to make more.