Poison Ivy
Natural Remedies

9 Natural Poison Ivy Remedies

| Modified on Mar 18, 2024

The rash from contact with poison ivy is absolutely miserable. Fortunately, home remedies for poison ivy are effective to relieve the itching and help your body to heal. Natural remedies include apple cider vinegar, baking soda, herbs, soap and vitamin C.

Ideally, you will learn to identify poison ivy in all of its forms and avoid contact with it all together. While some people will only get a small rash that is mildly irritating, others will have a severe reaction. Left untreated or under-treated, prescription steroids can become the only option.

What Does Poison Ivy Look Like?

Remember, “Leaves of three, let it be!”

Baby poison ivy has small shiny leaves. They may be on trees or on the ground. They pop up in the spring before you notice!

Poison ivy leaves in the summer are green. Some are dark and shiny while others will be lighter and less shiny. The three leaves each have a notch in them, making each leaf resemble a mitten.

In the fall poison ivy leaves turn red again, but they are larger and less shiny.

“Grandfather poison ivy” is a vine like root of an old poison ivy plant that is found growing up trees. It has multiple hair like roots that cling to the trees.

The oil from the poison ivy plant is called urushiol. It is in the leaves, roots, stems and vines. Even in old and dead poison ivy the oil can remain for years and give you a rash.

Reduce Your Risk of Poison Ivy Rash

Learn to recognize the poison ivy plant in all of its stages!

If you come in contact with poison ivy or think you may have come in contact with poison ivy change clothes (and wash them in hot water with plenty of soap) and wash your skin thoroughly with soap. Keep Fels Naptha soap on hand to wash with, but any grease cutting soap will do at the moment. The earlier you get the oil off of your skin, the better.

Keep your pets out of poison ivy. Pets do not get poison ivy rashes but can carry the oil on their fur. You can get the oil onto your skin by touching their fur or any place that their fur has touched and transferred the oil to, including your car seat, couch and bed!

Beware of smoke from fires. If your neighbor is burning brush and unwittingly has poison ivy in the mix, you could get the urushiol into your lungs. This can cause a serious reaction in sensitive people. It is a good practice to avoid smoke vapors of any source for a multitude of reasons anyway.

How to Relieve Poison Ivy Rash

1. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar can be applied to the skin to relieve itching as needed. If you skin is broken from scratching, the apple cider vinegar will burn. Dilute apple cider vinegar with water using ½ apple cider vinegar and ½ water. If you have extensive outbreaks, add 1 cup of apple cider vinegar to your bath and soak for 20 minutes.

2. Baking Soda

A simple paste made with baking soda and water can be applied to the rash to relieve itching. Again, like the apple cider vinegar, a baking soda bath can bring hours of itch relief. Add 1 cup of baking soda to a warm bath.


DMSO is a solvent and helps to break down the urushiol even after it binds to your skin. Do not use more than 70% DMSO on your skin.

4. Bromelain

Bromelain is a substance in pineapple that has anti-inflammatory properties. For poison ivy, take it on an empty stomach. (Taken with food the bromelain is busy helping your digestion.)

5. Nettle Leaf

Nettle leaf purifies the blood and reduces allergy symptoms. It works best for poison ivy by taking it internally as a tea, in a tincture or in capsules.

6. Turmeric Root

Turmeric root, like nettle leaf, purifies the blood. It is also an anti-inflammatory. It can be taken internally in capsules or as Golden Milk. It can be made into a paste and applied directly to the poison ivy, though this will stain the skin temporarily.

7. Jewelweed

Jewelweed is a first choice herb for poison ivy. Unfortunately, it must be prepared from the fresh leaf and flower, and most people do not have access to it. You can find jewelweed soaps and tinctures on the market to treat poison ivy.

8. Comfrey

Comfrey is a skin healing nutritive herb. A salve or tea made with comfrey leaf can bring relief to poison ivy.

9. Goldenseal

As a tincture, Goldenseal can be applied to the skin to treat poison ivy.

Support the Immune System

In addition to treating the symptoms of poison ivy, support your immune system.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C not only helps your immune system it helps your skin to regenerate, reduces allergic responses and helps with inflammation.

Eat Clean

Give your body lots of nutrients to fight the allergy and repair the damage. Avoid sugar, milk and processed foods. These can each make inflammation and itching worse.

Alkalize the Body

Your body will not heal well if it is in an acidic state. Taking 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, fresh lemon juice or fresh lime juice in a glass of water once or twice a day will help to alkalize your body.

Poison Ivy Remedies to Avoid

Scratching and Bleaching

Some will suggest scratching your poison ivy and then bleaching it. This treatment is no treat at all. If you have poison ivy your skin is already damaged and needs healing, not further damage and harsh chemicals. Opening the skin makes it take longer to heal and increases your risk of infection.

Eating Poison Ivy

You will find reports of people that eat small amounts of poison ivy leaves to increase poison ivy immunity, as one would use a vaccine. While there are reports of this working, there are also reports of serious side effects and even hospitalization because of this practice. You are much better off strengthening your immune system and treating symptoms promptly.

If you develop a severe rash, difficulty breathing, fever, or other severe symptoms, seek medical attention for your poison ivy.

Have you used a natural remedy to treat poison ivy? Please send us some feedback!

Activated Charcoal

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Maria R. (Knoxville, TN) on 04/01/2023

ACTIVATED Charcoal for bites, poison ivy and wound infection

My husband worked in the forest building trails and came back with what looked like poison ivy. He treated both legs with an ointment. One leg was remedied, the other leg stayed red for two weeks and started becoming hot to the touch. We knew that it meant he had systemic infection so I made him a poultice of Activated Charcoal, rice flour (for thickening, you can use arrow root or corn starch), and castor oil. I spread it on his wound and put a gauze over poultice and a plastic wrap over the gauze. I then wrapped the entire would around the thigh in an Ace Bandage. He did this for four days, making sure he removed the bandage in the shower as the AC is VERY messy. We replaced with new gauze each day for four days. I used an activated charcoal for whitening teeth found at Bed, Bath and Beyond!

On top of this I had him do four days of taking activated charcoal internally by capsule, found on Amazon.

Day 1 he took only 2 capsules in morning and two in evening with lots of water.

Day 2 he did the same.

Day 3 he took 1 capsule every hour all day long.

Day 4 he took 1 capsule every hour all day long.

Day 5 all was clear - accept for a VERY dry thigh, (which we rubbed Coconut oil into until dryness was gone)

All the heat and redness was gone!

Aloe Vera

2 User Reviews
5 star (1) 
4 star (1) 

Posted by Gloria G. (United States) on 08/09/2019

I got poison ivy rash four days ago, I tried everything earthclinic suggest and nothing worked, last night out of desperation and seeing this watery sticky fluid coming out of the rash I put some baby powder on the rash (left arm) and voila!

My arm got colder and the powder absorbed the sticky fluid, I was relieved. I did several times today and I was happy. This afternoon however I was uneasy, my arm was hotter and the itching was stronger so I went to my backyard where I have Aloe Vera plants, I got one leave and peeled it on one side and rubbed it against my arm (gelatin against my skin) and the effect was immediate, the arm was colder, the itching and the sticky fluid stopped, and in a matter of minutes inflammation started to go down. That was an hour ago and my arm is feeling well. I know I need more time to get the final result but the difference is already amazing, inflammation is already like 30% better! I'm going to repeat this at least twice more before gong to bed hoping tomorrow I will be cured! Amazing stuff!!

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

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.

Apple Cider Vinegar

4 User Reviews
5 star (4) 

Posted by DK Clausman (United States) on 07/09/2019

Poison Ivy Rash Around the Eyes

How you may ask. Well we have an outside cat who when inside likes to jump on my lap when watching TV. I rub my eyes unawares at the time that the cat has been though the stuff. Waking up in the morning with one eye nearly swollen shut…bummer. My wife swears by the All Terrain Poison Ivy/Oak Bar.

I washed with cold water and allow the lather to remain on the affected area for 1-2 minutes, or as long as I could stand before it began to seep in my eyes. I felt immediate relief after using the soap and the washed area is squeaky clean.

Using ACV via dabbing with a cotton ball provided some longer term relief from future itch.

I diluted the ACV 1:1 with water as full strength burns the sensitive skin on the face. The swelling went down the same day and I can see out of the swollen eye. To address the dry, scabbing skin around my eyes, I applied a controlled and careful amount of Desitin Skin Protectant. The itch is gone though I still have some discoloration a few days later.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Carol (New York) on 07/22/2017

I recently had poison ivy for 2 weeks. I tried everything I could get over the counter, nothing worked. One night I was desperate. I applied regular apple cider vinegar I had at home. I took a cotton ball and soaked it in the apple cider and applied directly to my skin. I did not dilute it. That night I could sleep well for the first time. Next morning it was almost gone. I just applied for 3 or 4 times that day and no more itching. It was cured in one day!

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

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)
495 posts

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

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 User Review
5 star (1) 

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

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

1 User Review
4 star (1) 

Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee) on 11/16/2016

My poison ivy cure quest continues.

My children have been really happy with using Fels Naptha for poison ivy. Using it to wash the affected area frequently throughout the day seems to have stopped many cases of poison ivy this summer. However, it won't work if you don't do it!

So, my 10 year old has poison ivy on his hands and has mostly ignored it and now has some blisters on his fingers. We were in the car together for 12 hours (to go visit my dad) and he was getting more and more miserable as the day wore on. I did stop for some fels naptha soap, but that wasn't going to be convenient until the destination and he was needing relief.

So we were driving and I just kept thinking, "Surely baking soda would help." And that is one of the few things I had with me. I mixed up a paste with baking soda and water and applied it to his fingers. He said it stung a tiny bit but it did give immediate relief that lasted for many hours. In fact, when he rinsed it off, he noticed the swelling was reduced as well.

Baking soda has so many amazing applications!

~Mama to Many~

Baking Soda and White Vinegar

5 User Reviews
5 star (5) 

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

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)

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)

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

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!!!

Replied by Aristan Garandeau

The combo of vinegar and baking soda helped a lot!!!! It was worth the amount of pain I experienced!!!

Banana Peels

3 User Reviews
5 star (3) 

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

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.

Replied by Margo
(Santa Fe)

After supposedly being immune to poison ivy all my life, I am a bit late to the game (due to sheer denial! ) in battling a large poison ivy rash on my left forearm that has spread a bit to other areas. Thank you for this post, esp the recommendation to try honey. I did this--applied a thin amount over the affected area and covering with paper towel--and, as you said, instant relief! I also put it on the small areas where it had spread to my right wrist and my shin, then covered them overnight with bandaids, and the rash was reduced to almost nothing by the morning. Hot water to rinse it off has also seemed to keep the itch away for hours.

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

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: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poison_ivy

"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)
495 posts

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)
495 posts

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 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by A Soaring Hawk (USA) on 02/12/2006

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
(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

3 User Reviews
5 star (3) 

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

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 a 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 thedrug 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)

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!!

Replied by Charles
(Bastrop, Louisana)

It works every time.


1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Sue (Charlotte, Tn) on 11/12/2018

I make sure to give my kids a dose of benadryl at night when they have poison ivy. I think it helps reduce the reaction and helps them to sleep.


2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by MF (NJ) on 03/18/2024

I just caught some poison ivy from yard work and the rashes matted my entire arms and neck. It was miserable. Steroids were barely helping and the rash kept spreading, even after scrubbing the oils away. Someone on Quora posted their bleach remedy, which I tried. The results were unbelievable. It basically stopped the itch for the whole day and I did it once again before bedtime so I could sleep. It also quickly started the healing/drying process, where previously it seemed like there was no end in sight. Here is the remedy: -get a bowl or cup and fill with 1 part bleach and 10 parts water. Bring it in your shower with you. I used a bowl to make a large mixture because my rash was so widespread. -Get in the shower with the hottest water you can stand, and let it hit all of the rash for a minute (feels good) -take a washcloth and scrub all your rashes HARD. Get them as raw as possible. -turn the water off. Pour the bleach mix all over your rashes and let it sting/burn for a couple minutes. -turn the shower back on and rinse off quickly.