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Neutralizing Poison Oak and Poison Ivy With Jewelweed

Written by Print 

Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) could become your best friend in the woods, in the garden, and wherever you go camping. This little flowering weed is responsible for alleviating untold amounts of suffering. It does something that only powerful steroids can do. It completely neutralizes the histamines produced by poison oak and poison ivy. While there are various commercial creams and treatments for suppressing the symptoms of poison plant exposure, they are fairly ineffective, and they must be routinely reapplied until the immune system completely finishes dealing with the "poison". Conversely, jewelweed completely neutralizes the histamines, meaning that jewelweed usually needs to be applied only once, and there are no effects from the poison plants whenever it is used soon enough.

Jewelweed soap can be purchased on-line and from health retailers for cleaning oneself after poison plant exposure. Timing is critical. Jewelweed must be applied in the first couple of hours after exposure to prevent the histamine oils from sinking through the outer layers of skin. The sooner it is applied, the more effective it is. Waiting until the next morning to wash will make the jewelweed ineffective. We advise our readers not to underestimate this natural remedy. Jewelweed is technically more of a preventative than a remedy, but in any case, it is extremely effective.


Comments (6)
  • Lisa

    We have got to have some this in our yard because my husband said there's lots of ivy here. I am going to find some jewelweed and make some soap. Not sure how to try it to see if it works(wont be touching ivy on purpose for sure), but when it's cured, I can send you some.

  • Sarah C. Corriher (H.W. Researcher)

    That's great, Lisa! Let us know how your experiment works out, as it could be interesting. I have very little knowledge of soap-making. However, you should make sure that your soap is pH balanced to around 6 (slightly acidic), in order for it to be good for the skin. You can get pH test strips in the aquarium section of a retailer, or you can order them cheaply on Ebay.

    I don't really know how you should test it for efficacy. I wouldn't go there, if you know what I mean. You should just make it as concentrated as you can, and then keep it for when such an event occurs.

    If they work out great, we could help you to promote them, but it could be a while before we have any evidence as to their effectiveness. We know that jewelweed works, but the question is, will the other ingredients counteract it?

  • Lisa

    Hi Sarah,
    I'll let you know how it works out. I have been making soap for a while, just never added weeds or medicines unless it was essential oils or spices. I have pH strips. Usually my soap comes out around 7-8 with a buffer and if I sell it or give it away for shampoo, I lower the pH more with aloe vera or citric acid.
    I tried to research jewelweed soap making and it's like a trade secret or something. I am debating whether to use the "tea" method of extracting the essence or doing an oil infusion.
    Thanks for the info.

  • Keith  - Terminology

    Great post. One correction, though: histamines are produced by your body while dealing with the "poisons". The oil that causes the reaction is urushiol -- this urushiol would be the target of the chemicals in jewelweed, as, before the body has reacted, no histamines are present. (This is why pharmaceutical poison-oak remedies are referred to as "antihistamines": they act on your body's "hazmat response chemicals".)

  • Francen-sense  - I love the idea of a natural soap for Poison Oak/I

    :cheer: I would buy the soap if you made it!

  • Mark Gleason  - Jewelweed

    I learned a long time ago from a friend that jewelweed neutralizes stinging nettles, and always seems to grow nearby. I had no Idea it works on poison oak, and Ivy too! Thanks.

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