Poison Ivy
Natural Remedies

9 Natural Poison Ivy Remedies

| Modified on Mar 18, 2024
Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee) on 08/31/2018

My son wanted to try some jewelweed for some poison ivy on his face. I pulled up a couple of plants worth and chopped them up and put them in a large basin. I added about a half gallon of hot water. When it was cool I had him splash some of the "jewelweed tea" onto his face every couple of hours. He found it to be really helpful and his face was pretty cleared up the next day.

At the end of the day, I strained out the plant material and took the remaining orange jewelweed tea and froze it in ice cube trays. These ice cubes are now in the freezer, ready for the next need. Cold is usually soothing for poison ivy, anyway.

Most herbalists agree that jewelweed should NOT be used internally.

~Mama to Many~

Posted by Earthling (Usa) on 07/31/2016

ORH, you ole Patoot, I love you but Mama is right; experimenting with such things on young children would be considered intentional child endangerment and she would indeed be in hot water if one of them fell ill and needed medical intervention.

I believe she 'walks the walk' and experiments on herself, but isn't willing to take the same chances with her young children, with good reason.

Plus, what doesn't harm one might harm another. We needn't look any further than food allergies to prove that point. I can eat all the shrimp I want, but others can't eat a bite of it without ending up in the ER with a life-threatening reaction.

Fels Naptha and DMSO
Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee) on 06/20/2016

For over a decade I have been experimenting with different remedies for poison ivy. I have had successes, failures, and a lot of theories. Well, I have a new theory with some interesting support for it. I am in the "early stages" of learning about it as I see it. I have not yet tested it on a severe case of poison ivy so the jury is out. But I will share my thoughts and maybe they will be helpful to you and maybe you will have some more ideas or experiences to share with me.

My son, who does lawn care, had a bad case of poison on his leg. I did my usual comfort measures, at least as much as I could given how infrequently he was home and able to actually treat his leg. He mentioned that a lady I know has kids who get poison ivy badly (I didn't know this) and she had some good remedies. So I checked with her. She has used some things I have not tried. One of them is an OTC product called Zanfel. Goodness, that stuff was $35 for a one ounce tube at the drug store. I bought it anyway because I would pay quite a pretty penny for a great poison ivy cure; all the while, hoping I can figure out the secret to its sucess and make it myself cheaper.

It didn't take my son one day to get into some more poison ivy at work. (On his arm.) It wasn't severe at all; he knows what it feels like at all stages. It was just itchy, no blisters yet. We followed the Zanfel directions, which included rubbing the product on the poison ivy for at least 3 minutes and then rinsing. So we did that. It did seem to bring relief to the itching.

So I started to research the product. It certainly gets a lot of praise. It claims to break down the urushiol, the oil that is causing the reaction. A few people seemed to have reactions to the product, at least one severe, from what I could read online. As best I can understand, the product is made up of soaps, detergents, solvents, what have you, to break down the oil. I was also reading some about the success of Fels Naptha soap for poison ivy. Another soap. I feel safer using Fels Naptha than the Zanfel and had some on hand. So next I had my son use Fels Naptha on his poison ivy, being sure to clean the area with the soap for 3 minutes.

About this time, I got to thinking about some things that Robert Henry has said. He has talked about DMSO being a solvent. Then I remembered that he had reported a cure using DMSO for poison ivy. Hmm...

So after my son washed with Fels Naptha, I put DMSO on the poison ivy. The next day he reported that the poison ivy was definitely improved, though he would have expected it to be worse. There was an area that we had missed with the DMSO that was worse than the other parts.

I kept reading. Somewhere I read that you have to wash off the poison ivy oil from your skin within 15 minutes of contact to prevent the reaction, because after that the oil will bind to the skin.

I am finally getting to my theory (you all have been patient to get this far! ) So maybe certain soaps (Fels Naptha) certain products (Zanfel) and certain chemicals (DMSO) are breaking the oil down into its components that are no longer the ururhiol that keep the reaction going. Maybe the reactions get so bad because you really have not deal with the urushiol, even when you think have.

Since I have been thinking this way about poison ivy, I have had opportunity to test it a little bit. Another son had had poison ivy on his neck for a few days and it was getting worse. (He hadn't bothered to tell me about it yet.) I had him wash the neck in the shower to the count of 100 with Fels Naptha soap. I then used DMSO on it a couple of times. This child does get poison ivy badly that can last weeks. That poison ivy is almost gone. He had a couple of small bubbles of poison ivy a couple of days ago on his toes. I had him wash a couple of times with the Fels Naptha. I meant to use the DMSO but we didn't. The bubbles are now gone on his toes.

I am pretty hopeful that this "solvent" theory is the solution to our decade plus of poison ivy. I think I have been doing a lot of symptom treating over the years without getting to the root of the problem. I will keep you posted. And let me know if you try DMSO or Fels Naptha for poison ivy. I would love to hear your ideas about this as well.

~Mama to Many~

Baking Soda and White Vinegar
Posted by Sue (Mount Airy, Md) on 09/02/2012

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.

Nettle Leaf
Posted by Mama to Many (TN) on 03/08/2022

It's March and time for us to begin our annual war against poison ivy.

My son got a rash from it clearing brush. I heard him in the supplement cabinet a few days later and realized he was getting the nettle. At 16 he has his preferred remedy for mild poison ivy. He pops 4 nettle capsules a couple of times a day. He also puts colloidal silver gel on the rash.

My daughter's husband does tree work on the side. He does not get poison ivy but was in contact with huge amounts of it one day last week. That evening he had a black mark on his arm. We were all puzzled. He learned later that it was "black spot poison ivy." Basically, a chemical burn from the poison in the plant. He is not allergic and didn't react with a rash, but he did get a burn (It did not hurt or itch). Unfortunately, probably from dealing with his work clothes, my daughter got poison ivy. She did use some zanfel on it and a salve I make. But, like my son, she has found that nettle is what gives her relief from the itch the most. She says when it feels itchy she knows she is due for some nettle. She is taking 2 capsules four times a day. She is also nursing a 5 month old and nettle is safe for nursing. I told her today that I think double what she is currently taking would be fine, too.

An older son who used to get severe poison ivy rashes also struggled with asthma. I had him taking 2 nettle twice a day for a year for his asthma. I think the nettle healed the asthma, and he also doesn't react to poison ivy like he used to anymore.

Nettle leaf capsules are inexpensive, great for allergies, poison ivy, hives, and lots of other stuff. I always keep lots on hand. Nature's Way or Now brand are my favorites.

~Mama to Many~

Posted by Mama To Many (Tn) on 11/07/2018

My son has poison ivy on his hands. This morning the poison ivy had caused enough swelling that he was not able to make a fist. This was going to make work today difficult. I suggested hydrotherapy.

He put cold water in half of our double sink and warm/hot water in the other half. He set a timer for 7 minutes and alternated hot and cold, beginning and ending with cool. It brought relief to the itching and to the swelling.

He is now able to make a fist and and can go to work. (He needs to be able to hold hand tools.)

If poison ivy is over a large part of the body, hydrotherapy can be done in the shower alternating warm and cool. Of course if poison ivy is over a large part of the body, medical attention may be needed as well. It can get out of control and become systemic, and even cause fever.

~Mama to Many~

Baking Soda
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~

Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee) on 07/18/2016

Dear Robert Henry,

Yes, I have known of the notion to eat poison ivy to gain immunity for years. Have you done this and found it to be an effective solution?

The thing is, that a friend knew a guy who did this and he got deathly ill and hospitalized.

While I love to use natural things for my children, I firmly believe that I must "first do no harm." I would be more likely to try something that I thought had some risk on myself, but would not be willing to take risks, even if they only seemed to be slight risks, with my children.

And, fancy me in the ER telling the doctor that my child was sick from eating poison ivy leaves because I told him to do so. They would lock me up in a hurry and rightly so.

So, I will plod along with my clay and Fels Naphta and DMSO and herbs etc....

~Mama to Many~

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.

Dishwashing Liquid, Lemon Juice
Posted by Rob (Kentucky) on 07/26/2021

Dishwashing Liquid and Lemon juice to Heal Poison Ivy

30 years ago, I was helping a man paint his farmhouse that was covered with untrimmed bushes and poison ivy (PI). I am very allergic to PI and always broke out in a rash. I had to move ladders up close to the house to paint up high and of course, got in to PI.

The guy I was working for told me to go to the kitchen and get the dishing soap by the sink. We walked over to the water hose next to the house and he told me to get both my arms and legs wet, pour some dish soap on my hands and soap up all the exposed skin just like a surgeon before surgery. By doing this, the soap removes the invisible plant oil “urushiol” from your skin that causes the rash. If you do this within 6 hours after exposure to PI, you will never breakout.

He also told me that when I got home to put all the clothes I was wearing that day into the washing machine with HOT water. This will remove the oil from your clothes.

Now, if you happen to miss a spot or did not wash your skin very good and you do get a rash. Get into a hot shower with dish soap and repeat the process. Also, applying fresh lemon juice to the rash will help to heal the rash a lot.

By following these protocols for the past 30 years, I have not had a serious outbreak of PI since!

Good video on the subject: How to never have a serious poison ivy rash again


Posted by Bob (USA) on 05/10/2015

I was digging in the yard and got a really bad case of poison ivy. It was all over my arms, legs , hands and chest. I was scratching myself to death-couldn't sleep and absolutely could not get any relief. A friend of mine's dad was in Viet Nam and he said when they would come back from a mission in the jungle the men would have all kinds of rashes and fungus on them from coming into contact with local vegetation. They used ordinary household laundry bleach to cure the rashes.. At that point I would have tried anything to get some relief from the itching. I put some on a paper towel and wiped it on the affected areas.---no burning, no skin reaction to the bleach. It stopped the rash and the itching almost immediately. It was incredible. It really worked. I was amazed. Thanks----------Bob

Orange Juice, Dolomite
Posted by Woodmaker (Mondovi, WI) on 11/24/2021

This is a remedy for poison ivy. I had a very bad case of poison ivy, for weeks. It was so bad that if I shaved I would get a line of welts along where the razor shaved my beard. I still have the scars on my fingers from where it was healed. I had met a logger from Virginia and he gave me this remedy.

Drink a glass of orange juice and drink a glass of about 1 tablespoon of dolomite dissolved in water. He told me to pop my blisters and that I would be fine in the morning. I was. He said they always drank this in the morning and then handled poison ivy (as a logger) all day and were fine. I have since shared this with two other people with bad poison ivy who have recovered as dramatically as I did.

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!

Egg Whites
Posted by KT (Usa) on 07/12/2017

I am using egg white as an experiment on some poison ivy I either neglected to scrub off with adequate water after pulling some up a couple sprigs by the root or the oil on husband's clothes rubbed off on my hand and arm as I turned his clothes inside out before washing.

I am so impressed with the results I have seen over the last couple of days I thought I'd report this. I was preparing breakfast and some areas where the poison came in contact with my skin began to itch. After I broke the eggs I smeared some of the egg white from inside the shell on those areas and let it dry. I was amazed at the results. The itching stopped and the areas seemed to start drying up.

If you eat eggs everyday, keep the ones you are going to eat the next day in a glass jar/bowl so egg white is always available to reapply.

Any feedback would be welcomed.


How to Develop Poison Ivy Immunity
Posted by Robert Henry (Ten Mile, Tn.) on 05/01/2017

GOOD PEOPLE, especially Mama, I guess it's time I put my boast to the test. Our integrative doctor uses homeopathic drops to address almost all of the ails he finds with his DNA test. Vaccines work on the same principle except most have added toxins and is the reason we no longer get vaccines of any kind.

Here is the plan; we have lots of young tender poison ivy coming up at our little farm. I will gather a batch, soak them in gin for a period of time, and then devise a slow method of ingesting a few drops a day in water. First, I will rub the plant on my arm and show all that I am allergic to poison ivy. At the end of the summer, I will repeat my arm rub and see if the experiment worked or did not work.

The guy told me to chew young tender leaves because they have less of the chemical that causes the allergy than mature leaves. That sounds right to me. Some on EC have told me to work on my known ails instead of this hair brained scheme. Folks, that what keeps me perkin. I need a constant challenge.

Wish me well. ======ORH=======

EC: Here's a long thread on the subject that starts in 2008... https://bushcraftusa.com/forum/threads/eating-poison-ivy-to-gain-immunity.1222/

Posted by Robin O. (Lander, Wy) on 08/10/2016

I am very sensitive to poison ivy (female 52) and if I do any work in the woods I generally get it to some degree. This year was a bad one, maybe mainly because I didn't get after it with my regular arsenal of Technu and Zanfel soon enough. So I usually wrap my arms in wet ace bandages to keep it from spreading to other parts of my body and to keep my arms cool but the blisters weren't subsiding. A lady at my local health food store recommended Pascalite which is a bentonite like clay mined locally in the Big Horn Mountains (WY). I bought some but thought, no way. But I was so miserable that night out of desperation I just threw some on and it was amazing how fast it dried up the weeping. I had been down the calamine road and wasn't impressed with that stuff but this was a whole new effect. I didn't even need the bandages that night. Within two days I just have light pink scar (scabs are gone) areas that will disappear with time. I don't know if Pascalite can be bought over the internet but maybe any super fine clay would work. Best of luck all!

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

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.


Posted by Steve (Germantown, OH) on 06/06/2023

I had a really bad case of poison ivy. I looked at Earth-Clinic for remedies and read that people had success with Jewelweed. I had never heard of it before. I ordered some and it is truly amazing. I put it directly on the rash 2-3 times a day. I notices some improvement the next day and every day thereafter. The itch was greatly reduced first then the rash started drying up and going away. By day 3 there was noticeable improvement.

How to Develop Poison Ivy Immunity
Posted by Timh (Ky) on 05/03/2017 2063 posts

-ORH- Mamas post is a good example of how general health condition and injury can cause the domino effect of all sorts of potential or outright illnesses that are otherwise absent in very healthy people.

If an injury doesn't heal on it's own then you have a permanent inflammatory condition. I broken bone, for example, could heal quickly in a young & healthy person but over 50 with other issues and could likely never completely heal. My condition is so severe that I must use Magnet Therapy almost all the time, as this effectively removes both infection & inflammation. So do a very strong magnet locally on any old or recent injury.

Next is the whole body reduction of inflammation. Eat Pineapple or P juice daily, and Salmon, Mackerel or Sardines regularly, as well as Flax, Borage, and Primrose Oils. Also lots of Turmeric Root.

If one's injuries and health are not-to-bad this may resolve the situation but likely and in your case you will also need to attack those inflammatory cytokines and other bad chemistry like the COX 2 enzyme. Big Pharma makes billions on Rx and OTC meds like Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Claritan, etc. The Homeopathic you mention is designed to do the for-mentioned. Also in the natural dept is Quercetin/Bromilain which reduces inflammation. An herbal formula called "PainRx" is a good COX2 inhibitor. You may also try a small dose of OTC Claritan or equivalent to knock out the bad guys. I think there are other good pharma drugs similar to Claritan so maybe search or ask a Pharmacist.

Next is to further build immunity and antibody production. You must have an adequate amount of Zinc daily. A standardized extract of Reishi, Maitaki, and Shiitaki is good. One capsule of Raw Bovine Glandular daily.

To further build antibody production take 1grm Lysine and 125mg DMG daily. Bee Pollen (1 or 2 spoons daily) is also good for building antibody production, which reduces the inflammatory condition or reaction like in the case of Poison Ivy. Your cancer numbers should also drop.