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Poison Ivy Remedies

Last Modified on Apr 28, 2016

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5 star (5) 
1 star (2) 

Posted by Robert Henry (Ten Mile, Tn.) on 10/13/2015
5 out of 5 stars

HI U OLE PATOOTS, , , , , , , , have gotten poison ivy all my life and tried every remedy known to man. All will eventually dry it up, but I have never used anything that worked as quickly as DMSO.

Last week while cleaning out brush at the farm I must have gotten the juice on my glove and rubbed my cheek because Sunday it was swollen and running blisters. My tractor driver suggested DMSO because it had healed her ringworm when the tincture of Walnut would not. I applied it Sunday and Monday. Tuesday, it is totally dried.

So you get a twofer with this post.


Replied by Deedii

Posted by Renee (Bergen Co., Nj) on 08/22/2012
1 out of 5 stars

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.
Replied by D. Saettel
Farmersville, Ohio
When I am finished working in the garden or hiking, I come in and shower with dish soap and a small amount of ammonia using a net wash cloth. Suds up all over, rinse, never get poison ivy anymore. Think the ammonia neutralizes that poison acid.

Posted by Jay (Altoona, Fla) on 06/02/2008
5 out of 5 stars

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
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Posted by George (Altoona, USA) on 05/12/2008
5 out of 5 stars

Poison Ivy cure DMSO applied to the rash and covered with a gauze bandage stopped the itching immediately and the rash dried up in less than a week.

Replied by Joyce
Joelton, TN

529 Posts
Hello, glad you had good results from putting DMSO on your poison ivy rash! Being severely allergic to poison ivy and knowing that DMSO quickly passes into the body carrying anything on the surface along with it,I definitely would be afraid to try it! Supposedly the reason why DMSO is not used widely in medicine is because a little garlic & DMSO was placed on the foot, and almost instantaneously tasted by the recipient.
Replied by Tom
Austin, TX
DMSO is a powerful solvent. My guess is that it works on poison ivy because it dissolves the plant oil(s) that cause the rash. It would then follow that what gets absorbed into your body would not actually be the poison ivy oil(s), but rather broken-down components.
Replied by Melissa Hicks
Cadet, Missouri
The information about putting garlic and then DSMO is incorrect!

05/13/2008: Joyce from Joelton, TN replies: "Hello, glad you had good results from putting DMSO on your poison ivy rash! Being severely allergic to poison ivy and knowing that DMSO quickly passes into the body carrying anything on the surface along with it,I definitely would be afraid to try it! Supposedly the reason why DMSO is not used widely in medicine is because a little garlic & DMSO was placed on the foot, and almost instantaneously tasted by the recipient."

DMSO when applied to your skin causes a garlic taste in your mouth. It didn't soak the garlic juices into the body. However DMSO does pull lots of water into the body.

Replied by Robert Henry
Ten Mile, Tn
In the 60's I worked for the paper company who made DMSO and supported the research. DMSO could never be used in a double blind trial because it's use caused your breath to smell of garlic. It has zero to do with garlic.

The plant was located in Bogaloosa, La. No employee in the DMSO plant ever had a cold nor the flu while working in that section. The Doctors and Big Pharma killed DMSO because it was so effective and cheap. Read Dr. Jacob's books on the subject and you will cry.

Joyce is right about the poke plant but not about DMSO.


5 star (6) 

Posted by Wendi (Conroe, Texas) on 06/03/2008
5 out of 5 stars

Poison Ivy remedy: Fels-Naptha!! It can be bought at Kroger in the laundry detergent section. It looks like a bar of soap but is actually used for removing stains on clothing. Half the battle is the itching that can last for weeks. I wet the end of the bar and rubbed it on the areas. Within 1 minute it quit itching and I was itch free for more than 5 hours. That's 3 hours longer than with any thing I've tried before, including otc drugs for poison ivy. Within 3 days the blisters were dried up and healing. I suppose you could shower with it but I only had a few areas. When the itching becomes unbearable you'll just about try anything once. As for me, I'll be using the Fels-Naptha Bar!!!!

Replied by Debbie
Buffalo, Ny
5 out of 5 stars

FELS-NAPTHA soap is amazing to counter the poison ivy aftermath! As with the other recommendations, I lathered up with the soap and ran my arms under the hottest water I could tolerate (don't burn yourself!!)and low and behold NO itching for several hours!! This method works GREAT!!!

Replied by Janice
Ionia, MI
5 out of 5 stars

I have had posion ivy already this year. After reading all the remedies and trying several of them, I have found that Fels-naptha has worked the best. The important thing is to dry up the blisters. Having the poision ivy on my hands, face, stomach and legs, I was willing to try everything. I used the hottest water that I could stand,and lathered the soap for several minutes on the blisters, several times a day. It really does relieve the itching after a few minutes, although it will drive you nuts while you do it. I also used a blow dryer and Ivy Dry. I am now on my way to recovery.

Replied by Debbie
Syracuse, New York
5 out of 5 stars

Fels-Naptha helped tremendously with my poison ivy. I would wet the bar of soap and my arm and start scrubbing the affected area with the fels-naptha and cold water, rinse and repeat again. Then I would pat it dry with a paper towel and apply the hand sanitizer gel. I would do this 4 times daily and it gave me great relief. It dried up within a week and did not spread.

Replied by Beth
Brighton, Mi, Usa
5 out of 5 stars

It's summer again and Poison Ivy is in full swing! Fels-Naptha worked for me - thanks to all of you for your posts!

Replied by Amy
Western, North Carolina
5 out of 5 stars

OMGoodness!!!! I tried everything to get rid of poison ivy on my leg but no matter what I tried, it just kept itching and spreading. I had a bar of Fels Naptha waiting to be grated into homemade laundry detergent so I took it and rubbed it all over my leg. Actually, first I scrubbed the poison ivy area with a soft scrubbing brush, rinsed my leg for several minutes with as hot of water as I could stand, then applied the Fels Naptha. I left it on for a couple of minutes, washed it away with warm water and then doused my leg with the coldest water from the tap. NO MORE ITCHING!!! I repeated this method once a day and by the 3rd day there was a remarkable visible improvement. It is now about the 7th day and my leg is nearly completely healed!! Thank you for this remedy!!!

Replied by Timh Donate

Louisville, Ky, Usa
At first sight of poison ivy (redness & itching) a wet-cloth w/ added isopropyl alcohol (also a solvent like naptha) will also produce good results, in my own experience at least. Get those toxins neutralized asap or it's all uphill from there.

Fresh Aloe Vera  

5 star (2) 

Posted by Anna (Philadelphia, PA) on 09/12/2008
5 out of 5 stars

Poison ivy was so bad on my forearm that I honestly thought it might be a flesh-eating bacteria. I squeezed a leaf of aloe over it and the next day it was healed!

Replied by Keira W
Placerville, CA
5 out of 5 stars

We live in a wooded area and no matter how often we point out the poison oak to my son he keeps getting it. He gets it so badly on his face that his eyes almost swell shut and his face swells up. Last night he said he was getting it again and sure enough his face was getting red and swollen. I came on to Earth Clinic's website because I always find great remedies. I read over the ideas and we decided to try the 3%hydrogen peroxide and freash aloe vera. I put some hydrogen peroxide on a cotton ball and gently patted it all over the poison oak (avoiding the eyes, eyebrows and hair-it will bleach hair). Then without rinsing it off we applied fresh aloe vera gel from my aloe plant. This morning I could not believe my eyes, the poison oak rash was completely gone! We have never had anything work like this. Thank You Earth Clinic!

Fresh Rhubarb Juice  

5 star (1) 

Posted by John B (Longueuil, Quebec, Canada) on 06/26/2010
5 out of 5 stars

The best REMEDY against poison ivy: comestible RHUBARB JUICE.

I grew up in a place where the second plant to trees was poison ivy. You peel off the peel from the stem of rhubarb and crush the juice out of the stem and rub it in to the infected area ... for ten (10) seconds to twenty (20) seconds you will be able to climb a brick wall ... then the itch stops ... three (3) hours after it starts to heal ... the next day, it is all gone.

This is a lost remedy that was replaced with pharmaceutical calamine lotion. For those who have poison ivy ... try it ...I guaranty the cure.
John B.


5 star (2) 

Posted by Molly (Austin, Tx) on 07/24/2008
5 out of 5 stars

I'm very sensitive to poison ivy and many other plants, and get rashes alot, that burn and itch, and usually require medical treatment, however lately I've used Garlic..just a thin slice of one clove, and rub it all over the itchy part, the sting goes away right away!!!

Replied by Lauren From Memphis
Memphis, Tn
5 out of 5 stars

I have used garlic several times to treat poison ivy, and it is hands down the best treatment. I have used both the clove and powder (garlic powder not garlic salt), but find that I prefer the powder for it's ease of use. Both will stop the itching and dry the blisters.

When I use the powder, I make a paste that I water down to create a sticky film. I wet the affected area, sprinkle the garlic powder over it and rub it around. Once the paste starts to develop, I wet my fingers as needed to help dissolve most of the garlic. You don't want to wash it off, but if you do, you can always sprinkle on more powder. Once most of the powder is dissolved and has become tacky, I let the film dry and it becomes like a second skin. If some of the powder cakes up, you can rub it off after it dries. Sometimes I will purposely cake the wet powder over a weeping blister to help it dry up. This second skin will stay on for hours, even over night, drying and protecting the rash. Wash it off and reapply as necessary. I have found that this will dry up mild blisters within a day, and severe rashes within 3 to 5 days. Garlic is awesome!

There is no burning, it really stops the itching, and I don't need to use anything else. This is much better than the bleach my mother used as a kid, and much less toxic!

Golden Seal Root Extract  

5 star (1) 

Posted by Aubrey (York, PA) on 08/13/2006
5 out of 5 stars

Ever since I was a young girl I have been highly allergic to Poison Ivy. I have done everything from steroids to applying straight bleach as well as baking soda and water to the affected areas. Someone recommended Golden Seal Root Extract (you can pick up a vial at the natural food stores). You can drink it in water to help cure the inside of your bloodstream. But the most effective thing is to apply the extract to a tissue and dab it on the spots of poison ivy 3-5 times a day. It always got rid of it within 2 days for me. AMAZING.


5 star (1) 

Posted by Mama to Many Donate
(Tennessee, US) on 03/28/2015

5 out of 5 stars

One of my sons had poison ivy on his forearm this week. It was painful (his poison ivy manifests with pain and not itch) and was beginning to ooze. He had been ignoring it and after a poor night sleep was wanting to be more aggressive in treating it.

He was going to be working outside and didn't want to deal with poultices or salves or anything. I thought about how I used Goldenseal powder to dry out a newborn's umbilical cord. I had some homemade Goldenseal tincture that I had been making. So we put some in a small spray bottle. Because it was an alcohol (vodka) base, it did sting when it hit the broken skin, but that passed quickly. The Goldenseal worked very, very well to dry up the poison ivy! He would reapply every 2-4 hours if he was home.

At night, I used goldenseal root powder, turmeric powder and oregon grape root powder mixed to dry up the "ooze" the first night. I sprinkled it on liberally, covered with a piece of old sheet, and attached the sheet to the arm with an old sock top. In the morning, he rinsed it off and we sprayed on more Goldenseal. He had slept much better.

It took a few days for his arm to heal up, but there were times in the past when his poison ivy took weeks to heal up, so I was pleased.

Internally, I had him taking Vitamin C (1 gram a couple of times a day), nettle leaf capsules and turmeric capsules (8 of each of those a day.)

One of my little boys had a few poison ivy blisters on his foot. The skin was not broken. We tried the goldenseal tincture spray. It did not sting and even after a couple of hours he could see improvement.

Goldenseal is an expensive herb. Supposedly, Oregon Grape Root will work as well, but I haven't tired that yet. I may make some tincture up and try that and see. I am sure I will have more opportunities this summer to try it out!

~Mama to Many~

Grapefruit Seed Extract  

5 star (1) 

Posted by Eh (Atlanta, Ga) on 09/04/2009
5 out of 5 stars

Grapefruit Seed Extract is also good for treatment of Poison Ivy:

Just put 10 drops of GSE in a sprayer bottle and spray on area 2-3x daily, OR, if you don't have a sprayer bottle, you can put 3 drops of GSE in 2-3 oz. of water, dip a cotton ball in it, and just pat it on the area. It works beautifully! I am severely allergic to Poision Ivy -- and have tried just about everything -- even medications that costs $10-12 for a "spray on" remedy, but nothing worked as well as this simple remedy. A 2 oz. bottle of GSE is only $10 at a health food store or on-line, and it works for many, many things -- including candida, which I cured myself of using GSE. Oh! And TRY not to scratch -- that is hard, I know, but it spreads it. Thanks!

Replied by Dee
Philly, Pa
How exactly did you get rid of the candida using grapefruit seed extract? Thanks!!
Replied by Janice
Coloma, Mi
I'm curious as to how you cured your candida with grapefruit seed oil. My dog has a full blown systemic yeast problem from the vet giving her too many anti-biotics (changed vets). I'm using a probiotic and feeding her raw meat but she has it in her ears, mouth and vulva area. Thanks

Green Tomato  

5 star (1) 

Posted by Carolyn (Milford, Ct) on 12/26/2010
5 out of 5 stars

Green Tomato: Green (unripe) tomatoes contain a compound which perfectly neutralizes the toxin found in the poison ivy plant. It can be rubbed on the skin if you know that you recently came into contact with the plant (and thus absolutely prevent a reaction) or, if you have a full-blown case of the oozing pustules (yum), it can cure them pretty quick. Just cut green tomatoes in half and rub over the affected area. If the sores are already present, do this 3-4 times the first day and once or twice the second day. Just use freshly sliced tomatoes each time. The itching will soon stop and the sores will begin to quickly dry up. I've had people come back and hug me for this tip.

Hot Water  

5 star (5) 
4 star (1) 

Posted by Celad (Kearney, Nebraska, Usa) on 12/01/2009
5 out of 5 stars

I don't remember exactly under which ailment I first found it, but the spoon heated with hot water to stop itching for several hours is great. I needed it for multiple (maybe hobo) spider bites that were driving me crazy. As I recall there was something about the heat driving histamines away.

Therefore it also works for poison ivy, oak and sumac. There was a very helpful comment about the urushiol being the active agent and once that is washed off (of everything!) the clear fluid from the blisters is not an irritant. Thankfully I just got a very mild case (through a hole in a jersey glove I think) between my middle and ring fingers on one hand. I just ran a trickle of hot tap water over it as long as I could stand it a few times (maybe I only needed to do it once ;-) and that was way hot enough to assuage the itch, again for several hours.

Getting a child to bear the heat for even a short duration is another topic!

Thank you, Earth Clinic!!

Replied by Big T From Kc
Independence, Mo
5 out of 5 stars

You are correct in your assumption. Oddly enough, I got the info straight from a physician, which you would think would try to prescribe some medication to help fund the medical establishment. This is how it was described to me and the reasoning behind why this works. Get the water as hot as you can stand, without burning yourself. (I have a higher tolerance of pain and have burned myself in the past, but over time, worked out the perfect temp. ) What the hot water does, is releases the histamines in that area of your body, that is being treated. Our body has an allergic reaction to the ivy. With allergies, what do we take? Anti-histamines. So, with the hot water releasing these histamines, that cause the allergic reaction, there is nothing there to cause the itch. I was told that it can take your body, on average, 4-8 hours to replenish the histamines in the applied area, so it depends on the person I suppose. My own personal experience, I get relief from the itching for about 8 hours. When it starts to flare up again, another hot water treatment. Another interesting thing occurs too. The use of the hot water tends to dry out the affected area as well, thus the reaction to the ivy only lasts 3-4 days and it's gone. The drawback to it though, is now you've got dry skin for a few days. I don't experience that too often, but it does happen on occasion and really isn't a big deal to me. But, you could use lotion if you were so inclined. What used to be an 8-10 day irritation, aside from the frustration of trying every over-the-counter method to no avail, is now completely gone within a 3-4 day period. Plus, water is much cheaper than anything else you purchase. I used to hate mowing the grass or working in the yard, due to the ivy that grew along my fence. Now, I go at it with wreckless abandon, not worrying about the ill effects of the reaction, because I've found the perfect way to take care of the problem. IT WORKS! Besides that, what have you got to lose, water is basically free.

Replied by Mountanpalm
Boone, Nc. Watauga, Usa
4 out of 5 stars

So happy to find another living being that is on the same page as I am. Found this "hot as you can stand" remedy on the internet ten yrs. ago..... I stand by it today. I must have a high tolerance....... As people flinch when I explain the process....... I no longer do the "bathtub'.... Instead the shower...... Which you can regulate better when you get to the point of "intolerance" and move out of the way alot faster..... I get the same sensation as a good "scratch of the itch"..... With the hot water..... And revel in it. (sick, I know, but "ahhhhhh") But it works...... Lasts for 6-8 hours... Itch free for 8 hours........ I'll take it anyday. NOTHING over the counter works this good... I also use calamine to quicken the drying process...... Thanks for your comments!! [I am suffering from a terrible case as I write this......... But there is light.... at the end of this tunnel.]

Replied by Jim
Cabrera, Dominican Republic
5 out of 5 stars

This is a great description of how to use the HOT water method. It works for me and takes away the itch instantly for long periods of time.

Posted by Sarah (Northampton, Massachussetts) on 08/11/2008
5 out of 5 stars

Hot water really works for poison ivy! I turned the water up almost all the way, and ran it over my arm, where the poison ivy is. It did burn a little bit of course, but now there is absolutely no itch! I am also rubbing baking soda with white vinegar in it to get rid of the actual rash.