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Poison Ivy Remedies

Last Modified on Aug 28, 2014

Treatment of poison ivy varies from traditional over the counter options to less conventional natural applications. The Tecnu Extreme Poison Ivy Remedy is one of the most effective treatments available. However, other easier to locate and use options include jewelweed, Fels-Naptha and hot water.

What is Poison Ivy?

Poison ivy rash is a condition caused by an individual’s sensitivity to an oily resin urushiol. This resin is found in the leaves, stems and roots of poison ivy as well as poison oak and sumac.

Common symptoms of the condition include redness, itching, swelling and blistering of the skin. The rash is caused by direct contact with the resin via direct touch, contaminated objects or smoke inhalation from burning plants. The rash itself is not contagious.

Home Remedies for Poison Ivy

Treatments for poison ivy and other skin conditions function as treatments for allergic reactions. Eliminating the allergen and preventing further spread of the rash can be achieved with a variety of cleansing agents. Other treatments offer cooling and soothing of the skin for relief.


Jewelweed is considered the single most effective remedy for exposure to poison ivy. The naturally occurring plant contains specific chemicals that neutralize the irritating effects of poison ivy and other rashes. The compound offers relief from the irritating effects and also prevents spread of the condition.


Fels-Naptha is a chemical-free soap used in a number of home cleaning recipes, but the compound is also effective for treating poison ivy. When used immediately after exposure, the soap removes the residue that causes the poison ivy reaction. Additionally, the soap helps treat itching if lathered, applied to the affected area and allowed to dry.

Hot Water

Hot water is one of the simplest methods for treating poison ivy. This method works to remove any excess oil and to cut the itch of the reaction. Running the hottest water one can stand over the affected area eliminates the sensation of itching and cleanses the skin at the same time.

Poison ivy is an extremely common condition that affects nearly 50 percent of people who come into contact with the plant. These and other home remedies, however, relieve the condition and limit progression of the reaction.

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Most Popular Poison Ivy Remedies:

Over the Counter7
Jewel Weed6
Hot Water5
Baking Soda and White Vinegar4

User Reviews

Poison Ivy
Table of Contents

Aloe Vera   0  0   

Posted by Tali (ST LOUIS, MO) on 05/26/2009

[BETTER BUT NOT CURED]  I am having Poison Ivy Rush right now and what helps me for itching is the hottest possible shower and Aloe Vera Gel from Walgreens (only for couple bucks). This Gel is also fantastic for moskito bytes, sunburns and just burns. Make sure to keep it in refrigerator. It's great for babies too.

Replied by Jack
Tampa, Fl

Cure: Use DMSO either liquid or gel applied externally. The DMSO seems to neutralize the oil from the Poison Ivy that causes the rash and immediately stops the itching and dries up the blisters quickly.
Replied by Lori K
Roanoke, Virginia

Apple Cider Vinegar   2  0   

Posted by David (Grapeland, Texas) on 07/18/2008

[YEA]  After two weeks of using calimine lotion for a severe posion ivy rash and found little to no releif, I used acv on the same rash that I had on my arms. I was reluctant thinking that it would burn but I was so desperate that I tried a topical application and I got almost instant releif from the itching. With continuous applications several times a day the rash dryed and healed. there wasn't any burning and I found it very soothing. I read somewhere that the Isralites practically lived off of vineger and garlic while in Egypt and where very healthy. David , East Texas

P.S. I just remembered that I also used acv for dissolving calcification of kidney stones. Suffering two weeks with birthing pains in my back from kidney stones I finally went to the doctor where after x-rays he determined that I did indeed have several small BB sized kidney stones . Of course he wanted to schedule me for surgery go up in me to retreive these stones in a basket type apporatise and $1500.00 later I would be ok. I told my mother and she said she removed hard water deposits from her coffee pot with vinegar. so I took a couple of table spoons of vinegar and within 30 min. to an hour the stones passed.

Replied by Joyce
Joelton, Tn

To David from Grapeland: Hi David, Just wanted to tell you that the toxic substance on the rhus (poison ivy) is alkaline and that ACV, being acid, will titrate it, so that you won't get the itchy rash if you use it shortly after exposure to poison ivy/oak.m Just thoroughly wipe all exposed areas off with full strength ACV. After it breaks out, the best thing I have found to stop the itching and start drying it up is a product put out by "Fruit of the Earth" called Vitamin E with Naturals (Those naturals are burdock, calendula, chamomile, comfrey, golden seal and honey). I use the yellow gel form that I find in the lotion department of our local Dollar Tree stores. Using this it is gone in 3-4 days. You might also want to look into Beelith tablets (ask the pharmacists for them, nonprescription but I have never found them out on the counter) for those kidney stone problems. They are magnesium oxide and B6 vitamins. I'll share a funny one about kidney stones with you. Early one morning I got a excited call for help for an employee in the basement who was doubled over with abdominal pain. I asked if they could bring him up of if I needed to come down and get him. They brought up immediately. After getting a few things done, including interview, I asked the fellow if he'd had any history of kidney stones. Although his reply was negative, I told him that I was sure that was going to be the cause of his pain. My fellow nurse said, "Yeah, now you know what it feels like to have a baby". Realizing from the confused look on his face, that he did not understand what she meant, I said "They equate the pain of kidney stones to that of having a baby". After mulling this over a few minutes, our patient sounding very sincere, said: "The first thing I am going to do when I get out of here is call my ex-wife and apologize". Both of his nurses cracked up with laughter.
Replied by Jennifer
Magnolia, Ky

I am a firm beliver in burdock. Drink it daily as a tea to help my (no longer!!! ) severe crohn's. I have a 7 yr old who got into something out in the yard and has a rash on the back of her leg. We live in the country and I believe its poison ivy or oak. Here in Kentucky, Burdock grows in my yard like crazy. My question is would it help dry this up if I put a wet leaf on her leg? Thank you for any help. u'r responce would be greatly appreciated a.s.a.p.
Replied by Mama To Many
Middle, Tennessee, Usa

Hi! I love Burdock Root, too. I have used to treat neuropathy (cured it) with success. I think Burdock Root for your daugther's poison ivy. I make a salve for my children for poison ivy that has Burdock Root, Plantain and Comfrey in it. I would recommend scalding and cooling the leaft first and cutting out any large stem part in the leaf as it will irritate tender skin. (This I learned form reading about using Burdock Leaves to treat burns.)

Pour boiling water over the leaf. When it has wilted in a few seconds, rinse in cold water and apply. At least, that is what I would do. You could also have your daughter drink the burdock tea. I have found treating PI internally and externally to be very effective. Please let us know if your treatment works so we can all benefit from what you try!

Be sure to wash all clothes and bedding that may have come in contact with the oil to keep from getting it everywhere.

~Mama to Many~

Replied by Mama To Many
Middle, Tennessee, Usa

Sorry, my last post was written when I was tired and may have lacked clarity. I used Burdock Root for my neuropathy. You would be using the leaf for poison ivy. It is very appropriate for skin issues and is used sucessfully by the Amish to use as a dressing for burns. Anyway, like I said, scald the leaf in water until limp and cool it. Apply to skin and wrap with plastic wrap or cohesive bandage or whatever. I would change the dressing 2-3 times a day and trim out the stem of the leaf.

I mentioned washing everything that had the oil on it to keep from reinfecting. I meant the oil of poison ivy. :)

Let us know if it works!
~Mama to Many~

Replied by Michelle

[YEA]   This was the only thing that helped dry out my poison ivy. It wasn't instant but I could see the improvement each day. If there was any itching, baking soda mixed with the ACV seemed to help but I feel that ACV on it's own is most effective.

Apple Cider Vinegar, Hydrogen Peroxide   1  0   

Posted by Kathi (New Brunswick, Nj) on 09/28/2013

[YEA]  I had a case of poison ivy rash appear on two fingers of my right hand one week ago. Treated first by rinsing with lots of water, then washing thoroughly with soap/water, then with drops of Apple Cider Vinegar rubbed in, and finally with drops of 3% hydrogen peroxide rubbed in, similar to Ted's recommendation. The H2O2 treatment was amazing -- it immediately stopped the terrible itch! Every morning following I have treated my fingers with a few more drops of 3% H2O2, and this has kept the itching away all week. Now the rash is finally resolving. I have learned so much from reading Earthclinic posts -- thanks to all who contribute!

Baking Soda and White Vinegar   4  0   

Posted by Devonia (Bendl, IL) on 04/16/2006

[YEA]  For Poison Ivy: Mix baking soda and distilled white vinegar to make a paste (will foam up), rub on infected area. It will burn but will dry up the rash in no time. reapply as needed.

Replied by Spikey58
Peterborough, Ontario, Canada

[YEA]   I have used baking soda and water and made a paste. It really works I and I could imagine how effective it would be with vinegar added. The biggest thing for me anyways is the relief from the itching especially at night. I found it tolerable at least with no itch. Great advice
Replied by Sue
Mount Airy, Md

[YEA]   Baking Soda and White Vinegar.... What a great blog find.

I am not a blogger, this is my first one, so try and bear with me. I got some kind of Poison Something, the doctor was not sure. Anyway I had been in my back woods clearing some brush for a new shed. I got this rash over my arms, stomach, and legs, a small but a bit within 24-48 hours (the doc tells me later it can be up to 10 days before it reacts or appears). I used some Calimine lotion, cortisone creams, oatmeal baths, and some other over colidar oatmeal remedy from over he counter stuff, but within 8 days, I knew I was in trouble. I had not slept much in 4 days. The night before I only got one hour of sleep due to the pain and itching, I wanted to rip the skin off it was so bad, but was being super consious not to scratch. I ended up getting up and putting ice packs over about 10% of my body and that gave about 50% of relief. I am a pretty tough broad, having three children natural child birth, but this was kicking my butt, and I started crying. It was over a long holiday weekend and so I went to urgent care on saturday as I knew due to the holiday I could not get help past today without going to the hospital Sunday or the Holiday and we all know how the waiting goes there. So I went to an urgent care clinic for the first time in my life. The doctor said some parts were infected and put me on antibiotics and prednosone 3 tabs 2 X a day as he said it was really bad, and I was way past any over the counter help. The doc said I was in for a rough ride for the next 24-48 hours while the prednesone started to work, as there was no creams he could give to help and I am allergic to benedryl. I got home still itching so bad I could not take it.

That is where your blog came in... Desperate, I did a search online for natural remedies and yours came up along with one other hot water as hot as I could stand it and (Black tea bath, we will get into later). I quickly procured the baking soda and venegar and got in the shower. I put the water as hot as I could and it burned and itched like crazy on my rash, still I was desperate, but I did it any way. Then I took the baking soda and vinegar and did as described mixed, rubbed on (this burned like crazy too), waited for it to dry, showered off. Then I took the plain vinegar and rubbed it all over the rash. That burned again like crazy. While going through it I thought to myself I hope this was worth it.

Guess what? The itching was almost completely gone, and I mean big gone, I was able to get 6 hours straight sleep, then got up wiped on some more vinegar and went back to bed for two more hours. When I woke in the morning, my itching was bearable for the first time in 9 days.

After getting up, I used a very hot black tea bath which after the initial 10 seconds of burning really helped, followed by the baking soda and vinegar regimine again. I can now at least feel somewhat normal and the rash is drying up and is getting lighter. Also I think the vinegar was partly responsible for the couple of infected parts starting to heal. In a nut shell, number one, don't wait so long to get started on this regimine, it may keep you from the docs office and two, if you can stand the burning, you got the only cure I could find that actually worked.

Thank God for you taking the time to post this blog. It is so appreciated. You saved me from going insane. I hope my first online post will convince someone else to help themselves.

Replied by Patsy

[YEA]   Thank you for the baking soda and vinegar advice for poison ivy... I was so desperate, buying everything OTC and no relief. Almost instantaneously, the paste worked. Thank you!!!

Banana Peels   2  0   

Posted by Christy (Denton, Texas) on 07/12/2013

[YEA]  Since Nov 2012 to today, I have had 3 severe cases of Poison Ivy/Poison Oak. It has been on both my arms, leading me to think I'm getting it from my cat, when she rubs up against me while petting her.

Each time it took 4-6 weeks just to go through the healing process. I used over the counter medicine and some of them only provided temporary relief, and they were rather expensive. Then I tried banana peels. It worked! I rubbed the banana peel over one arm only to conduct an experiement. Instant relief!

Then I got to thinking about other natural products that may provide the same relief... honey.

On the other arm I swabbed it with store brand honey, wrapped arm with a paper towel so I wouldn't leave a sticky mess, and INSTANTLY the itch was gone! I left the honey and paper towel on for 4-6 hours (until bedtime) took my shower and to my amazment the sores dried up.

I also took 1 tablespoon of same honey by mouth and it caused the other places on both arms to stop itching, and only within about 5 minutes! The next day I allowed the spots to dry out, then began applying aloe jel (the type advertised to help with sunburns) and after just a few applications of the gel my arms were beginning to heal!


While battling with current outbreak on both arms, I had a new spot appear closer to my wrist, (again after I spent some time with my cat). Immediately applied the honey, wrapped lightly with paper towel and tape to secure it and got the same results!

Tried it a 3rd time when I noticed the small bumps had appeared on other wrist, before I ever scratched it, applied honey and covered with a bandaid, before bed I showered and removed the bandaid and the poison ivy was gone!

The banana peels, provided relief, but the honey has taken a 6 week process and reduced it to only days, with immediate results.

Thank you ec for a wonderful site.

Posted by Tim (VA) on 09/27/2006

[YEA]  I have a case of poison ivy from mowing the yard. It is from my knees down to my ankles. I have been using anti itch ointment. I once read that the inside of banana skins is supposed to eliminate itching. I can say that the banana skins work much better than benedryl! Of course, now I'll draw fruit flies. I would be interested how banana skins work on insect bites.

Replied by Rosie
Ewing, Illinois

I am going thru chemo. On my good days, I like to work outside. Got a good case of poison ivy/oak. Will try the natural remedies. The inside of a banana skin, the fels napta soap, the lemon peel. But I think the hot water would open up pores and cause the infection to spread.

EC: From Wikipedia:

"The oozing fluids released by itching blisters do not spread the poison. The appearance of a spreading rash indicates that some areas received more of the poison and reacted sooner than other areas. The blisters and oozing result from blood vessels that develop gaps and leak fluid through the skin; if the skin is cooled, the vessels constrict and leak less..."

Replied by Joyce
Joelton, Tn

Hello Rosie, with all due respect to the medical field and Wikipedia, I disagree that it can't spread from the fluid in the blisters. Anyone who has ever had a good case of it will probably side with us. When you haven't been outside or petted the pets who have, and the stuff is still spreading a week or more later, it has to be from the rhus in the blisters that got inside the skin to cause the blisters to begin with. I also remember a roofer say that after initially breaking out with poison ivy one night, that after working on a roof throughout the next day and sweating up a storm, he found the poson ivy was gone after that. So apparently you can sweat it out, the same way it entered the skin to begin with. Now for the best thing I have found for this infernal itchy poison ivy, if you have a Dollar Tree or Deal's store go look in the hand lotion, shampoo section for a product put out by Fruit of the Earth called E or Vitamin E with Naturals. It comes in several different ones, but the yellow gel one is the one that I find stops the infernal itching and starts drying it up after the third time of applying it. You can probably find it in health food stores but probably not as cheap as at the above stores. It makes no claims at being anything other than a lotion or gel, but boy do I love this stuff. Just put it on the rash and reapply each time it starts itching again. The naturals in it are like chamomile, comfrey, burdock, etc. If you recognize the plant and know when you have come in contact with it, that's even better. If you go in, wash off, then get good old Apple Cider Vinegar & wet a wash cloth in it and thoroughly wipe everywhere that you think touched it. The acid of the vinegar titrates the alkali of the rhus and you don't break out (I think you probably have to do this within an hour or two of exposure though).

EC: Joyce, to prove the point that poison ivy can't spread from the liquid, in June a very confident friend (whom I thought had to be suffering from temporary madness) scratched open some of the new poison ivy blisters on my arm and rubbed the liquid all over his arm. I was certain he would get a rash, but Nay, he never did. Nor did my poison ivy spread and I am terribly allergic to the plant!

Replied by Joyce
Joelton, Tn

Hi Deirdre, There are some people who do not break out when they contact it. Could your friend be one of them. My daughter used to be. One day while working in the yard, we found poison ivy climbing a pear tree. My son who was less reactive than I, and I, were trying to figure out how to get it off the tree without the miserable itchy rash developing. My daughter walked up and listened for a few minutes, then saying "I don't know what you'all are scared of" reached over and pulled the poison ivy off the tree, broke it off at the ground and walked away. She proceeded to break out with the miserable blisters the next day - her first time ever to react to it. I am so sensitive to it that I almost break out just by looking at it. But I have also had a couple of severe bouts of it. The last one in my upper 20's. One eye was swollen completely shut, the other one I could barely crack open enough to see straight ahead, and my poor nose was swollen so that it was pushed toward the worst eye side of my face. At that point I went to the ER and was given Prednisone injection, tablets and pills. About the only relief I found was lying on the bed with a fan blowing over me, and I darned sure did not go outside to get in any more of it. A week later the darned stuff was still spreading over parts of my body that hadn't had any rash on it initially. I have talked to many others who said they had the same problem with it. Are you sure this friend wasn't naturally immune to it? However I still considered myself lucky because I remember our teacher standing someone up in front of our class and asking if we knew who she was. None of us recognized the kid who looked like a total body scab. It was our class mate who had been out of school a couple of weeks already and was on her way home from visiting her doctor again. Ending with a little humor here, a co-worker (about 30 years ago) told me about escorting her sister to her church's country toilet. When her sister found no toilet paper she requested her to bring her some leaves. She didn't know the leaves she gave her was poison ivy leaves. She said her poor sister couldn't walk for 6 weeks afterward. I'll bet her sister didn't find any humor in her distress.

Bark of an Oak Tree   1  0   

Posted by A Soaring Hawk on 02/12/2006

[YEA]  Shred the inner bark of an oak tree (handful), bring water to a boil, remove from heat, add the bark, cover & let simmer til cool. Apply as often a possible with a cotton ball. In a couple days it will be gone. Store in the refrigerator. Always ask the tree for permission, thank the tree & cover the tree wood with tar.

Replied by Melissa Hicks
Cadet, Missouri

The reason this might work is because in the process it turns into DMSO. For those of you who don't know, DMSO is derived from wood pulp!
Replied by Scott
Asheville, Nc

It works because oak bark is high in tannins. No DMSO is produced by making a tea from bark.

Bee Pollen   2  0   

Posted by Soyjim (East Alton, Illinois) on 07/26/2009

[YEA]  At various times in my life I have suffered with severe poison ivy outbreaks. Usually once or twice a year for a number of years then I would have no problems for a few years. in the past I originally almost always had to go to a doctor and beg for prednisone. often the doctors would not give me any until the rash spread extensively. Even with the prescription steroids I would have to shower often with poison ivy washes and use over the counter topical medicines then after about a month I would be ok but sometimes it would return even when I was very careful not to get reexposed. Because the steroid pills were so hard to get I found that I could get rid of the poison ivy if I took an Ibuprofen pill about every 4 hours until the poison ivy was gone. usually I could taper off after about 3 weeks and only take Ibuprofen when itching was severe. without some kind of Anti-inflamatory drug the poison ivy would just spread and itch unbearably. Even with the ibuprofen I would have to use washes and topical treatments to get rid of the rash. The ibuprofen treated rashes seemed not as likely to return in the current year as when I used steroid pills.

About five years ago I read a recommendation that eating honey might keep one from getting poison Ivy. since that time I have started putting spoon of honey in one of my morning cups of coffee occasionally doing it more often in the likely high out break seasons - spring to mid summer. Although once in the past I did get poison ivy in winter. My own thinking on the subject led me to take some bee pollen pills that I got at ___ drug store. These can be over done. When I first stared taking them daily, after a couple of weeks I broke out with a poison ivy type rash all over my body but it went away in a few hours. I encountered a second occurence of this rash when I took the pills daily after a few lay off days. Now I take them occasionally during poison ivy season. Maybe once a week at the start then cut back to one or two more pills over the next few months. This year I only took a couple in the spring and have eaten honey occasionally. I don't know if this has helped me but in the last five years I have not had any severe poison ivy outbreaks. I remember a couple of times having a few itchy bumps on my fingers that went away in a few days. I do not know what they were but when I got them I sure worried that they were poison ivy.

Replied by Soyjim
East Alton, Illinois

I was hoping that someone would have some responded to my first post. Most people that don't get poison Ivy are not going to read about it. The theory that I have read is if you eat a lot of honey you don't get poison ivy. I am not going to test this by intentionally exposing myself to poison ivy cause I think I still get poison ivy but it is not the systemic kind that spreads uncontrollably. I think I am more or less in the state that I had in the seventies when the poison ivy immunity vials were available. They made it possible for me to get rid of poison Ivy without doing something every two hour to relieve the unbearable itching. That is how I found the ibuprofen relief.

Usually ibuprofen will give me two hours of itching reduction. then most any topical treatment will give me another two hours of relief. At which time I can take another Ibuprofen without exceeding the recommend daily dosage of Ibuprofen. The ibuprofen, washes, and topicals prevent the inflammation from erupting and damaging the skin which then lengthens the recovery time beyond a month. I am confident enough in this ibuprofen relief that I would recommend any one that is exposed to poison ivy take ibuprofen if severe itching and inflammation start. The problem with ibuprofen is no doctor will give prednisone if they don't see evidence of suffering (Inflamation).

I thought that the way to generate some responses might be to ask a few people that are are suffering from a severe poison ivy reaction post whether they eat much honey regularly. I really think that there is something about Honey and Bee pollen that if ingested at adequate levels significantly reduces the severity of Poison Ivy outbreaks.

It has been 5 years since I have had any severe poison Ivy outbreaks. This year my vigilance and practices have lessened. I need some kind of reinforcement that the honey and bee pollen I do take are the reason I am not getting Poison Ivy. It is no real hardship to use honey and occasionally bee pollen but my motivation is noticeably dropping. If these things do help I would like for others that suffer severe poison ivy outbreaks share them.

Replied by Sally
London, Ontario

[YEA]   To soyjim,

Well do I have news for you!! You may have just answered my question - My husband and four children all went into the woods and were exposed to poison ivy. All of them but 1 now have an outbreak, and I couldn't figure out why this one didn't get it. Well... I think now I know... This child eats lots of RAW HONEY every day! She loves it, she eats it right out of the jar, and she doesn't have an outbreak like the rest of them. It baffled me until I read your post. That has to be it. But I do think the KIND of honey will make a big difference. She eats honey that is taken straight from the hive to the jar with honey comb in it and propolis as well as some raw bee pollen in it. It has been said to be miraculous with curing allergies.

I also used this same honey to cure chicken pox before they ever popped open - they just shrunk in a few days.

Very interesting!!

Clove Oil   1  0   

Posted by RJ (Nashua, New England, USA) on 10/19/2007

[YEA]  I was reading about Poison Ivy control for gardens using Clove Oil from:'

Getting Poison Oak and Poison Ivy - no fun for kids of any age. Try an at home treatment of Poison Ivy (or Poison Oak) by:

Making a paste of a food grade clay and saline solution.

Set up your Witch Hazel paper towels and cotton balls with clove oil near you. Open trash can lid and start washing machine on heavy soil cycle.

Put on Kitchen dishwashing gloves that you can dispose of after treatment.

With gloves on, apply paste over the affected area. Let dry.

Wipe off dried paste with a paper towel, moistened with Witch Hazel. Let area dry. (Vinegar stings more.)

Apply Clove Oil. Cover with a gauze bandage and bandage tape to protect area with Clove Oil application.

Soak plant oil affected clothes in sink, with lots of Vinegar and soapy water. Rinse, and launder.

Throw away paper towels and cotton balls.

Throw away disposable Kitchen Dishwashing Gloves.

Sometimes, kids like a big production, so when you want to do that, recycle some plastic shopping bags and use some gauze tape. Tape bags around the area w/Poison Ivy or Poison Oak - so that only the affected area shows. Then do treatment. Doing that also prevents any of the plant oils from transferring to unaffected skin during treatment. After treatment, with gloves on, remove bags. Throw away shopping bags, then remove disposable gloves, and then throw them away, as they have the plant oils on them.

Coconut Oil, Homeopathics   1  0   

Posted by Elizabeth (Charlotte, Nc) on 06/26/2014

[YEA]  I am a healthy, mid-thirties, female who has tried many different remedies for relief of poison ivy rashes over the years including technu, jewel weed (on the rash, I haven't tried the tea), salt, alcohol, peroxide, bleach, borax, Ivy Dry, and calamine lotion. None of these really made much difference.

Finally, I have found something that works for me: Coconut oil and homeopathics.

The last significant rash I contracted a couple years ago was treated in the following way: A friend suggested that I anoint the rash with oil (she suggested olive oil, but I used coconut) and pray for it. Which I did. The rash stopped being so itchy and began healing. I continued applying coconut oil to it daily. I also noticed that it did not bother me while I was taking my homeopathic treatment for allergies.

What I've learned: the current theory of treatment for poison ivy says, "dry out the rash! " However, this isn't just a rash, its our skin. The skin needs moisture to be healthy, but water seems to irritate the rash.

I've heard that urishol is what causes the allergic reaction and that it acts like a virus in the body. So the immune system is involved.

Coconut oil is a known anti-viral. I have been surprised at how it can help irritations on the skin. I simply apply some oil to the rash in the morning, after showering, before bed or as needed.

The homeopathic medicine I took was for respiratory allergies, but it helped. I have tried homeopathic remedies that are labeled for poison oak/ivy, but they didn't seem to help as much.

Since we can't name products, I'll list the ingredients in the homeopathic remedy I use:

  • Echinacea angustifolia 4x, 12x, 20x, 30x
  • Ignatia amara 6x
  • Lycopodium clavatum 6x
  • Sulphur 6x, 12x, 20x, 30x
  • Thuja occidentalis 6x
  • Ledum palustre 8x
  • Phosphorus 8x
  • Antimonium Crudum 12x
  • Histaminum hydrochloricum 12x
  • Selenium 12x.

I use as directed on the label which amounts to taking one tablet every four hours.

Other things that help:

I take the usual precautions of washing my clothes and skin within twenty minutes of exposure to the plant.

When I discover the itchy red spots I wash the area with soap and water before applying the the coconut oil the first time, just to make sure any remaining plant oils are removed.

I've noticed that the itchiness is the worst when I am hungry and/or tired. So I try to take care of myself. Taking vitamin C also seems to help as well as anything that boosts the immune system.

As a teen I contracted the severest case of poison ivy of my life. The rash formed the hard leathery stage from my wrist to my elbow on both arms. (Agony) It only seemed to heal when Mom gave me a combination of Chinese herbs for the immune system. The herbs helped so much that she stopped giving them to me before the rash was fully healed. It resurged, so she had to give them to again til it was gone.

I also avoid sugar and wheat. I really believe these things aggravate so many negative conditions in the body, at least for me anyway.

Since discovering this remedy I have avoided contracting any significant cases of the rash. Instead, I'll find an itchy, red spot or two from time to time. I just use the protocol described above and the spots go away shortly without spreading and without causing suffering.

I really hope this info helps others.

Cream of Tartar   1  0   

Posted by Kim (Olsburg, Ks, USA) on 11/13/2009

[YEA]  Prevent Poison Ivy

I suffered something awful when they stopped giving the prevention shots for poison ivy at the doctors office. I am so susceptible to it that I'd swear I can get it by looking at it through binoculars! If I broke out in the spring it would stay with me through October. No exaggerating. I finally met a lady whose grandma told her to add a teaspoon of cream of tartar to water and drink it in the early spring (it's awful bitter!). My family has been doing this for years, now, and it really does work! If we're going to be out around poison ivy, or oak in the fall we take another dose just to be safe.

Diatomaceous Earth   1  0   

Posted by Leticia (Houston, Texas) on 12/25/2012

[YEA]  I love this website and often come here for advice. I had found that diatomaceous earth helps soothe bug bites because it draws out the poison, but I had not found anything for it under curing poison ivy.

My son lives in a woody area and has a severe reaction to poison ivy. I usually have to take him to the doctor for a course of steroids, but since his infection happened right before Christmas, my only option was to go wait in an ER which he did not want to do. While I was in my pantry searching for my ACV, I came across my diatomaceous earth and a light went off inside in my brain.

I had him take a very hot shower and then made up paste of diatomaceous earth and water. I had to put it on him at least 3 times a day. I then gave him an allergy pill. By the 3rd day, it completely dissappeared with no scabbing. I had read many posts that said scrub the heads off, but I did not have to do that. Depending on how severe your infection is- 3 days is what it took for a mild infection.

I hope this remedy will bring you relief. Good luck!

Replied by Leticia
Houston, Texas

I just realized that I forgot to mention that I used FOOD grade diatomaceous earth not the industrial one.

DMSO   4  1   

Posted by Renee (Bergen Co., Nj) on 08/22/2012

[NAY]  DMSO, applied topically to my husband's poison ivy, caused the itching to increase and it looked more irritated. He tried several applications, all with the same result. It did not help it go away.

Replied by Dak
Detroit, US

Some people have sensitivity to Undiluted DMSO. Diluting DMSO with peroxide and adding coconut oil may help to tolerate the DMSO application.

Posted by Jay (Altoona, Fla) on 06/02/2008

[YEA]  I found that DMSO was also excellent for curing Poison Oak and Ivy. I imagine a combo of DMSO and H202 would dry it up in very short order.With DMSO the drying up of the blisters starts immediately as does the cessation of itching. As a child my rashes would be so bad that I would have to get shots to dry it up. Calamine Lotion, oatmeal baths, etc were all ineffective and did little more than offer a small degree of temporary relief.

Posted by Jay (Altoona, Florida) on 05/22/2008

[YEA]  For Poison Ivy or Oak I found DMSO to be my life saver.Simply apply to the rash and cover with a bandage. Itching stops immediately and rash is gone in a couple of days.

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DISCLAIMER: Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.

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