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!!! :)
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.
Fort Worth, Texas
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~
Ten Mile, Tn.
Old fashioned Poison Ivy skin cure.
I once read a book about a young man that raised Honey bees. This was back when rural areas had few telephones (can't recall the state but I think it was in the Midwest U.S.A.). Probably in the 1920's or 1930's. This family lived in the woods and the boy would explore the area enjoying the outdoors. The boy said that he once got into some poison ivy and was going through misery all over his body! No one could help him so his mother got on a telephone and called his grandmother in another state.
It took hours to get a hold of his grandmother but when the boy's mother finally got the grandmother on the phone the grandmother told the boy's mother to go out into the woods and take an ax and go to an oak tree and cut down a load of OAK BARK! She then told the mother to place the oak bark in a big tub or sink and fill the tub or sink with water covering the oak bark and to boil the oak bark and water. The oak bark was to be taken out of the tub and the boy was to soak in the oak bark hot water (hot to where the boy could stand it) and soak in this solution until the water became cold. Then the boy was to get into his pajamas and go straight to bed and sleep.
The boy claims that when he woke up the next morning the poison ivy irritation was gone! Just thought I would share this story with others. I have the book in storage but with 6 full storage units I will have a hard time finding it. But I think it is a true story.
We finally figured out that my husband has poison ivy. It was difficult to discern because the moment the rash appeared I had him soaking it in a bath mixture of oatmeal, baking soda, lavender and tea tree oil, then covering it with a calendula ointment (by Hylands). It really made the rash look better than it felt because my husband couldn't sleep for several nights due to the severe itch. We finally read about the Tecnu Extreme Poison Ivy Remedy, called Walgreens and they had ONE bottle left ($15... Yikes) but immediately after using it my husband finally stopped itching and slept perfectly last night. The rash appears to look so much better now. We will continue to use it. I should note we put some aloe vera plant on it last night and this morning which is also very soothing.
I tried using some invisible band-aid from the Dollar Tree and it has made me so much worse. It is causing my rash to weep profusely- so much so that I soak through a facecloth every hour....I cannot get the stuff off without using nail polish remover or the like, and I am not ready for that STING. I would have been better off just letting my body handle this issue with my trying to "help".
From what I have been reading online tonight, you do not develop immunity to poison ivy; rather, you become more sensitive with each exposure. I did watch a youtube video of a man who eats poison ivy and claims to have built up some immunity, but not entirely. No, he wasn't Uhle Gibbons, but an accredited write for a local newspaper.
In my own experiences I feel I am becoming more sensitive to the urushiol (you-ROO-shee-ol). I never broke out in my youth and spent alot of time camping and hiking in the same places I continue to revisit (45yr young now). I contract the rash about 48hr after exposures, and have experienced outbreaks twice this season, spring-summer June 25th 2009.
Technu seems to make it irritated and caldryl seems to help with the itching. Tonight I tried dish soap and rubbing alcohol, this morning zit creams. This is the 5th day after exposure. The zit creams used this morning got mixed reactions somehow. I used two, one clear and one white paste. To my surprise not all zit creams are created equal. 10% benzoil peroxide did very little for me, on the morning of day 5 after exposure. The clear maximum strength 2% salicylic, acid 28% alcohol seemed to make visible decrease in the small area on my arm where I used the treatment. 10% benzoil peroxide product was used on my fingers and did nothing I can detect.
Rubbing alcohol was used to a good sized area on my left leg. It feels good going on, doesn't reduce the itch, and made the rash appear more evident. This was attempted just moments before writing this. After making the rash look worse, I tried the dish soap degreaser (green stuff, tough on grease, soft on hands :) Applied moments after the alcohol treatment, the itch is gone. I applied a minute amount of the soap on the end of my finger and rubbed it in until dry.
If I find a miracle, I will write again :) Until then, you know all I know.
St Louis, Mo
NewSkin, brand name of liquid band-aid, when applied to patches of poison ivy, takes the incredible itch away and seems to dry up the rash. I use just a couple of brush strokes on the rash every time I get PI. I've never used any other brand of liquid band-aid b/c I don't want to take a chance that it doesn't work.
I recently came into contact with some poison ivy in our flower bed at home. About a week later, here came the rash. I was using the Tecnu which is a good product but was taking forever to see any results. A co worker suggested a product called Ivy Dry so I found it in spray form at Walgreens and it is awesome! It dries up the red patches very quickly and takes care of the itch also. I highly recomend this stuff!
EC: Yes, we've tried the product and agree. It takes the itch away fast, that's for sure.
Maybe now would be a good time to suggest that readers who have a local Dollar Tree Store go and see if they can find a product put out by "Fruit of the Earth" - I have had my share of poison ivy/oak as far back as I can remember - have used a little bit of everything on it including bleach, alcohol, steroid cream, steroid shots - you name it & I've probably tried it to find it didn't work very well to hasten healing or allay the itching. They will find it in the hand lotion - shampoos area - the one I am praising is Vitamin E with Naturals gel (yellow gel) - it also comes in Aloe Vera with Naturals gel, which is green and probably will work the same. It can probably be found in places like Wild Oats or health food stores but it will probably be closer to $4 or $5 else where. If you dig herbals you'll recognize the naturals of burcock root & calendulas in them. I find it also helps itching from other problems also. I have about 10 bottles stashed and check for more every time I pass a Dollar Tree.
Of course that the alkaline oils from the plant can also be neutralized with vinegar to prevent the rash if you know you have been exposed to it. The thing I have used to use to hasten poison ivy's drying & healing was ACV and epsom salts - but if you have the problem get a bottle of this stuff and try it. It not only stops the itching, but starts drying it up after the rash is started.
re: poison ivy,oak or sumac. I broke out a week ago. I tried all the remedys ,they helped some. Went to my phamas. yesterday and he told me about a new wash. It's called ZANFEL ,it really works. The ingre. bind with the oil and washs it away.You can use this on the actual rash-bisters. I could tell a difference in 30-45 minuets. Good luck and GOD BLESS
St. Louis, Missouri
Frankfort, Il, Usa
Technu Extreme poison ivy scrub: This is my suggestion for poison ivy after having a very bad case of poison ivy last fall and trying every remedy (except the jewel weed -- I couldn't locate it) on the poison ivy page of Earth Clinic to no avail. I bought this stuff at the local pharmacy out of desparation and because it looked potent. Didn't realize it at the time I purchased it, but Technu is a homeopathic formula. Be forewarned -- it is quite expensive at $13.00 a bottle. However, it started to work within hours. It took 2 days of using this product to clear up a 2 week old rash over my entire body ( a total nightmare). I used the product again as soon as a poison ivy postule appeared on my arm last week and it never spread.
St. Paul, MN
how to cure poison ivy fast: Use the red tube of Preperation H your poison ivy will disappear in 24 hrs. You want to buy the cream Preperation H which really works great on all sorts of stuff besides poison ivy.
Mooresville, NC, USA
After clearing large vines and patches of poison ivy, I wasn't prepared for the extreme reaction I would experience. I had covered my body well for the yard clearing process, and afterwards, washed my arms with soap, wiped them with tea tree oil wipes, and finally with rubbing alcohol. Two days later, when severe rashes and blisters began appearing I used Tecnu, IvyRest, All Terrain Poison Ivy Cream (a great choice! ), baking soda paste, and witch hazel. Despite my efforts, I was in complete misery, my neck and arms bandaged mummy style in gauze. The blisters and oozing wouldn't stop. And it all just kept spreading! I was doing 4 loads of wash a day to make sure my bedding and clothes weren't the continued source of the problem. Any one who looked at me would feel the need to start itching or run. I got very little sleep and would begin each day feeling like it had all spread to more parts of my body. I was experiencing nausea, headaches, and a fever. At a certain point, I decided there was nothing more topically that I could do, and started to focus on internal treatments. I began drinking 1.5 liters of water each day, and used Herb Pharm Immune Defense tincture, Amla capsules (ayurvedic vitamin C), turmeric capsules, and Hyland's Poison Ivy tablets. This provided some relief, but new blisters continued to appear all over. I searched online and began to learn about systemic poison ivy. When rashes start appearing in places that had no contact with the ivy, and begin spreading all over, the ivy's urushiol oil has penetrated the skin to bond with white blood cells called Langerhan's cells. Now, I had some idea of why my reaction was unrelenting. The primary option at this stage is to go with steroid injections, antihistamines and over-the-counter medications. That isn't my strategy of choice, so I researched further into alternative treatments for systemic poison ivy. I found a few references to the virtues of Reishi mushrooms for treating inflammations experienced thru poison ivy. I bought Herb Pharm Reishi tincture and New Chapter Reishi capsules. I took the daily recommended dose of each 4X/day!!! Immediately I began experiencing relief and the a healing of the blisters. My neck (at 2-1/2 weeks of rash) looked like I had been impaled and was crusted over and bleeding from from the continued re-blistering. It felt like it was on fire and looked like charred embers.
I am writing this post to share the miraculous benefits of reishi mushroom in healing the brutal effects of systemic poison ivy. Within 3 days of taking my reishi supplements, all the blistering had stopped and had begun disappearing. This above photo is 2-1/2 weeks into treating poison ivy before beginning treatment with reishi supplements. I put vitamin E on the scabs to keep them moist and to encourage healing. By day 4 of the reishi and topical vitamin E, my neck was clear of the scabs and healing greatly!!!
This summer, someone told me that it was better to rub the oil of poison ivy off of your skin with towels than to wash the oil off with soap and water. Having heard to use soap and water for years and years and years, I was skeptical. He said that soap and water just spread it around and made it harder to get off than rubbing it off with paper towels.
Today I was making some salves and was having to clean oil out of jars. I used paper towels to get as much oil as possible off of the jars before using soap and water. I realized it was much easier to clean the jars if I used the paper towels. I also realized that when my hands were covered with oil, paper towels got it off much better than hot water and soapy water. Hmmm....
So I think I believe him. Next time we are exposed to poison ivy, I will try it. Maybe it is best to do both. One handy thing is that if you are exposed to poison ivy and are not near soap and water, you may be able to rub the area with your clothes, or an extra towel or garment in your car.
I think regular towels will work as well, but I like to minimize how much oil I am expecting my washing machine to get out of cloth. I have never been quite sure I was getting all of the poison ivy out of the clothes in the washer.
Has anyone else ever heard of this or tried it?
~Mama to Many~