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Poison Ivy Remedies

Last Modified on Nov 09, 2015

Hot Water
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Posted by Alan (Toronto, Canada) on 03/27/2007

[YEA]  I have had poison ivy numerous times, and while I have not found anything to cure it there is a very quick and easy way to relieve the itching for up to an hour or two at a time: hot water. If you take the infected area and hold it under VERY hot water (in a shower for example), you will get an immediate sensation of relief. I put the water as hot as I can stand it (being very careful not to burn your skin... it sounds strange but it's easy to do because even burning temperatures offer the same relief). When you're done the itch will be gone for about an hour or two at a time. If you're really getting so you can't stand the itch - try it. for the worst exposures I've had 4-5 very hot showers daily and it really makes the itch far more bearable. Again, be very careful not to burn the skin or you'll take even longer to heal.

How to Develop Poison Ivy Immunity
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Posted by Rebel (Somewhere Usa) on 05/08/2014

I have been seeing all the post about Poison Ivy and had to rack my brain to find the website that has some info on it. This website has all kinds of information on all kinds of wild plants and a video on Poison Ivy consumption to become immune to breaking out with the stuff.

then click on News Blog and find video on poison ivy.

Hydrogen Peroxide and Aloe
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Posted by Keira W (Placerville, CA) on 11/25/2008

[YEA]  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!

Jewel Weed
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Posted by Linda (Erlanger, Ky) on 05/03/2009

[YEA]  I came into contact with poison ivy ( once again ) in our back yard while helping my husband do some gardening. I have had it many times in my life, but this time was the worst! I had it on both forearms and both lower legs. In fact, I looked like I had been badly burned on my right leg. I went to the dr 3 times for this. I was given oral steroids, a steroid shot, antibiotics ( in case of infection ) and topical steroid cream. These were all ok but the thing that worked wonders for me was a tincure I picked up at a local vitamin and natural product store that contained jewel weed. After using this stuff for about 3 days, I had amazing results and I am almost healed now. I have suffered from this rash now for over 2 weeks! This stuff is amazing!

EC: Jewel Weed (aka Touch-Me-Not) often grows near poison ivy and is easy to locate. Good photos here.

Replied by Jewelweedbunnie
Washington, Dc, Usa
[YEA]   I picked up a Jewelweed tincture at my local health food store too. I'd had a poison ivy rash that wouldn't go away for over 2 weeks. The Jewelweed tincture cleared it up in 3 days. Now I'm never without a bottle of it in my house. I've tried it on mosquito bites and it's *great* on eczema too.

Posted by Charles (Hillsdale, New York) on 12/12/2007

[YEA]  Jewel weed I use this every year now on poison ivy. If used right away you never get it, but if you have had it for a while, jewel weed will at least relieve itching but it does not seem to eliminate blisters. Still, when you don't itch having poison ivy seems bearable.

Replied by Janice
Washington, Pa. 15301
Help! Need to find Jewel Weed in Washington, PA. Tired wasting my money on Drs. & steroids. Thanks janicecchreffler [at] yahoo (dot) com.
Replied by Mama To Many Donate

Middle, Tennessee, Usa
If you can't get Jewel Weed, try some of the other things on the poison ivy page here at Earth Clinic... some really good ideas there that are easily available.

Also, I have a teenage son who has had severe poison ivy many times over the years. He has had to take steroids for it numerous times. However, this summer he has been exposed a few times and has only had mild cases. Perhaps it is because he is super careful, but I think some other things have factored in as well. A few years ago he had bad asthma. Over time we were able to get him off all prescription and over the counter drugs and inhalers. We found for him that if he took Nettle Leaf powder capsules (3-4 capsules 2-3 times a day) and a Quercetin Capsule twice a day, he no longer had trouble with asthma! If allergy symptoms increased a bit (this always set off his asthma, as did any sickness) he would take a few extra quercetin and nettles capsules.) He took this daily for a year or more. I think it actually helped to heal him. Now he just takes it as needed. But since Nettles can be used for skin rashes, I always have him take some if he has been exposed to poison ivy or if he has a little bit. All that to say, taking nettles capsules or drinking Nettle tea (at least a quart or two over a day) may help a lot, too and it is very safe.

Hope you find relief soon!

Replied by Jay
Orlando, Fl
[YEA]   Externally applied DMSO will cure your rash.

Posted by Mildred (Combs, Arkansas) on 07/16/2007

[YEA]  I had poison ivy from head to toe, and had given up that I would have to go to the doctor for shots, when my cousin picked me some jewel weed and told me to try it. I made a tea from this and drank 1/2 cup, with a half spoon of sugar and it dried it up immediately. I later found an old home remedy book that said to break the stem of jewel weed and rub it on. I had it too severely to do that. I have given jewel weed tea to 3 of my grandchildren with no ill effects.

Posted by Barb (Canada) on 03/22/2007

[YEA]  At the very first sign of poison ivy, I head for the nearest milk weed plant,{Asclepias speciosa}, (I live in zone 3), and snap off a few stems and apply the milky latex like substance to the poison ivy. I do this twice daily for about 2 days. It does not have to be re-applied unless it is washed off. If caught early enough, this will stop it in its tracks. This is an old Indian remedy.

Posted by Garrett (Tenn) on 05/16/2006

[YEA]  I read a while back that a plant called jewel weed has a chemical in it that goes to the same site that the oil ( the thing that gives you the outbreak) in poison ivy does and blocks it temporarily. How you apply it is you just rub the juice from the stem on the area that you know you will come in contact with the accursed plant and it will prevent it. The plant tends to get pretty big and has these red/orange flowers the stem is a almost translucent green and is kinda red at the base. wish you luck with it.

L-lysine, Vitamin C, Aspirin
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Posted by Mama To Many Donate
(Tennessee, Usa) on 11/09/2015

[YEA]  Well, I am back again with another "yea" for something else that works for poison ivy - this one was an accidental discovery.

One of my adults sons had a cold. I was giving him the following, twice a day:

2 capsules (total 800mg) L-lysine

2 tablets (700mg) aspirin

1 tablet (1000 mg) Vitamin C

After a few days he told me - "Whatever you were giving me for my cold really helped my poison ivy. I had some on my fingers and it was getting bad, but now it is almost dried up." (I didn't even know he had poison ivy! )

I recalled that L-lysine is sometimes used for cold sores. Something about it must be helpful when skin needs healing. Vitamin C is also helpful for skin issues. I don't know if the aspirin had any benefit at all to the poison ivy, but didn't want to neglect it, in case it did.

~Mama to Many~

Lemon Joy
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Posted by Gail Mathena (Winston Salem, North Carolina) on 09/07/2008

[YEA]  Preventing poison ivy breakouts -- Lemon Joy put on all exposed areas, yes even around the eyes will keep you from breaking out. My husband is very allergic, and I attempt to keep it out of the yard, and off the trees. Every year, no matter how many precautions I took, I would break out, especially on my face. Last year I used Lemon joy to dry it up. This year I applied Lemon Joy like a lotion and went at it. After exposing myself for hours and clearing the nasty vines out, I showered. It usually takes 2 days for the breakouts to occur, but none did. My sister, who is highly allergic, swears by it but usually showers with Lemon joy after exposure. I decided to attempted a preventative alternative, because I couldn't get to the shower quick enough.

Lye Soap
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Posted by Sandy (Langley, OK) on 10/19/2008

[YEA]  Lye Soap

In the early 60's my daughter who was about 7 got poison ivy. I took her to the doctor. Got shot and instructions. It got worse, between her toes, fingers, everywhere!! A little old lady in Nebraska told me to get some P&G Soap. You could buy it then. People used it for washing clothes. Bought some and it cleared up her poison ivy. They no longer market it, so when I find it at a flea market or craft shop I buy lots and give as gifts. Please believe me, this really works. Keep it in the bath or shower and see how it really destroys the oil that comes from the blisters.

Mama's Herbal Tea
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Posted by Mama To Many Donate
(Tennessee) on 06/01/2015

[YEA]  Several in my family have been dealing with poison ivy in the last couple of weeks. We have used many natural remedies for poison ivy over the years with success. An herbal salve, oatmeal, apple cider vinegar, and many other things! But some of my children balk at salve, don't like the smell of vinegar...they want the least intrusive remedy. So I made a tea that I put into a spray bottle and kept in the fridge. They could pull it out and spray their poison ivy whenever it was bothering them. This was especially nice for my daughter, who had it around her eyes. She would spray them often for relief and the tea spray was completely safe when it got into her eyes. My son had poison ivy on his arms and legs. His arms healed faster because he sprayed them much more often since he wore jeans during the day and wasn't bothering spraying his legs.

For the child who had poison ivy all over his arms and legs, I also gave him several tea baths. I would make a gallon of strong herbal tea and add it to his bathwater. He would soak for about 30 minutes a couple of times a day. (This was not convenient to him but he was pretty miserable and therefore willing. In fact, in spite of diligent home treatment internally and externally, he ended up needing prednisone. We continued the spray even when he was on prednisone.)

Recipe for Herbal Spray for Poison Ivy

  • 1 Tablespoon dry comfrey leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon dry plantain leaves
  • 1 cup boiling water

Put dry leaves into a mason jar. Add boiling water. Let steep for 30 minutes. Strain leaves out of tea. Store in a spray bottle in the refrigerator. Make a fresh batch of tea each day.

Recipe for Herbal Tea Bath for Poison Ivy

  • 1/2 cup dry comfrey leaves
  • 1/2 cup dry plantain leaves
  • 1 gallon boiling water

Bring 1 gallon of water to boil. Remove from heat. Add dry leaves. Cover. Steep 30 minutes to 2 hours. Strain out leaves. Add to a tub of water. If water is very hot, be careful not to let very hot water hit the skin of the child in the tub, if he is in there already. :)

One morning my three year old woke up and said, "I want a comfrey bath!!! " He had poison ivy and had seen his brother have many "comfrey baths." He wasn't feeling too patient, so I put him in the tub with warm water and a cup of baking soda (which I find helpful for itching and nearly everything! ) I put 1/2 cup comfrey leaves into an old sock and tied it off, like a giant tea bag. I put it into his bath water (since I didn't really have time to make the bath tea on the stove because he wanted his bath NOW.) Periodically I would squeeze the sock to release the comfrey tea. By the end of his bath, the water was tea colored! It worked quite well. And he felt a good bit better and was in a much better mood.

~Mama to Many~

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Posted by Lorraine (Indianapolis, Indiana) on 07/05/2012

[YEA]  I blog and last week I posted something about "Poison Ivy" a reader commented by sharing the following:

One thing I've found that works amazingly well came from the website of a hospital in upstate New York, where it is the only hospital for miles around, and where campers and hikers frequently come into contact with poison ivy. Rather than withholding information in order to get people into the ER, they put this remedy on their website:

Milk. Just soak a cloth with it, and hold it on the area affected. I did this with my 3-year-old, when initially it looked as if someone had slapped her (and I suspected my 8-year-old). There was an area of distinct red with a sharp edge that crossed from her cheek, halfway over her eye, and onto her forehead. But instead of fading, it got worse, to the point when she woke up the next morning that half of her face was swollen and her eye was swollen shut. I knew poison ivy in the eye was dangerous so I was looking for advice online (when to take to the ER, anything we should/shouldn't do in the meantime), and came across the advice to put milk on it.

We had pet milk (milk from a farm, unpasteurized), so that's what I used. I put her in the tub, soaked a washcloth, and held it on her face. When it got warm, I flipped it and added more milk.

Within 15 minutes, I could see a crack of eyeball, and her face was less puffy. Within half an hour, her eye was most of the way open. And within 45 minutes, the redness and swollenness was pretty much gone everywhere on her face, with just one little spot. She was 3 and so done with sitting in the bathtub while I held a washcloth on her face, so I let her out for a bit, and then before bedtime just patted some more milk on the one remaining spot, and after 10 minutes it was no longer red. It took a few days for the blistering to heal, but at that point it wasn't itchy or spreading at all–just damaged skin from her exposure.

My husband, at the same time, started cleaning up the yard (a tornado had deposited shredded poison ivy leaves in our yard) and got a very bad case. He went with over-the-counter remedies for 3 weeks, while it continued to get worse, and then finally caved and tried my "weird" remedy. His was so many places on his body it did take a couple of days to get it all, but it was just a couple of days. Yet the next time he had poison ivy he tried the conventional stuff again and again it was over a week before he'd try milk on it, but now he has learned his lesson and turns to milk right away!

We instantly tried milk on my mom who has a rip-roaring case of PI right now, and it brought almost instant relief. Better than ACV! Hope this helps!!! :)

Replied by Caroline
Alexandria, Va
1 day into noticing bumbs, our 8 yr. old was in agony over his welts on his wrists and forearm. The doctor couldn't identify it. There were no blisters, some clusters, some welts and all hard raised bumps with redness spread around the bumps in 1/2-3 inch rounds. We thought they may be bites but when the cortisone and prescription steriod didn't work, we suspected poison ivy. It's winter here so not an obvious choice.

Thank you for posting the milk remedy! We tried it since our 8 yr. old will not tolerate stinging remedies. It worked extremely well to get rid of the itching and redness around the bumps--relief was almost immediate, if not w/in a few minutes. The length effectiveness varied quite a bit--from overnight (perhaps he was tired from a basketball game) to only 2 hours. We typically had to reapply with new washcloth every 2-4 hours during the day. The milk was low temp. Pasterized, from grassfed cows, 2%.

We soaked a half of a washcloth then put it on while still dripping, used the other half to wrap around the lower arm and wrist and contain the dripping half. Then gently secured w/ 2 bands of paper tape. He's kept cloths on for the past 36 hours--off for an hour here or there.

Bought some jewelweed in alcohol solution hoping to avoid another night of milk bandage but it didn't work. Perhaps because we didn't have cotton balls? We used bandage gauze and soaked it well. Then dabbed it on as per instruction on the bottle. BTY the solution was made here locally so I'm not sure if you'll find it in your local health food store like we did.

Dear EC--thank you so much!! Have often wondered whether seperating out the remedies suitable for children would help concerned parents finding options quicker as their kid wails in the background.

Multiple Remedies
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Posted by Judy (Montgomery, Tx) on 09/05/2013

[BETTER BUT NOT CURED]  Poison Ivy: I tried almost everything everyone listed including soaking in borax/hydrogen peroxide and ACV/baking soda. Fels naphtha helped but I've never had it from head to toe. It started on the tail-end of shingles so this has not been the best season... Acv seems to work best, even better than Tecnu Calagel. A combination of Fels +Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap followed by hydrogen peroxide left on to dry and topped with calamine has lasted up to 5 hours before the itching took off like a bat out of hell... Today I stumbled on a quick fix: Windex. Love the spray... Seems obvious due to Apple Cider Vinegar in it.

Replied by Tom
Fort Worth, Texas
I came down with a bad case of poison ivy that my go to didn't seem to heal. So used Indian Healing Clay. This is a bentonite clay which is from Death Valley. But most any quality clay will do; clay being used for thousands of years.

Here's how to use it: Two tablespoons or more if the infection is widespread. Use purified water to make the clay into a spread. Apply to affected area. Let completely dry. Wash off. Two hours later do it again. The absorbing action of the clay is pulling the "poison" out of the skin. Next day do the same thing.

While the drying is going on, again use two teaspoons in a large glass of purified water and stir vigorosly: drink. The action of the clay will draw the poison from the body internally. Sometimes a bad case of poison ivy will get to the blood steam, so the consumption orally of the liquid clay will absorb internally. Goldenseal is good but I've found the clay is better. Also consider charcoal tablets as an internal cleanser... if you can't bring yourself to drink the clay in a liquified form.

Nettle Leaf
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Posted by Mama To Many Donate
(Tennessee, US) on 08/28/2014

[YEA]  One of my teenage sons was weed wacking poison ivy and ended up with a rash on his arms. It was not severe, just enough to be an irritation for a couple of weeks and then he mentioned it to me.

I fixed him a quart of very strong nettle leaf tea. He drank it that afternoon and the rash stopped bothering him and healed up quickly. Here is how I made the tea:

1/4 cup dry nettle leaves

2 Tablespoons peppermint leaf (only for flavor, can omit if you do not like peppermint or don't have it on hand.)

Pour 1 quart water that has been brought to a boil over the leaves. Let sit for an hour or two. (No longer on heat.)

Strain out the leaves. Sweeten as desired.

For a stubborn case of poison ivy, this tea would be ideal to drink daily until the rash is gone. It may be a stand alone treatment or would go well with anything topical that you tried.

We have seen nettles taken internally to work very well for all sorts of allergic reactions, from seasonal allergies, to hives, to skin reactions to jalapeno peppers. Nettles is also very nutritious. It is considered to be safe for children, pregnant and nursing mamas. I always keep a large supply in my herb cabinet!

~Mama to Many~

Replied by Robert Henry
Ten Mile, Tn.
HI U MAMA, this got my attention. When I worked in South Arkansas in the 60's there was a guy who would make a nettle tea and would make you immune to poison ivy. Rumor was that he got this formula from Native Americans.