I am a healthy, mid-thirties, female who has tried many different remedies for relief of poison ivy rashes over the years including technu, jewel weed (on the rash, I haven't tried the tea), salt, alcohol, peroxide, bleach, borax, Ivy Dry, and calamine lotion. None of these really made much difference.
Finally, I have found something that works for me: Coconut oil and homeopathics.
The last significant rash I contracted a couple years ago was treated in the following way: A friend suggested that I anoint the rash with oil (she suggested olive oil, but I used coconut) and pray for it. Which I did. The rash stopped being so itchy and began healing. I continued applying coconut oil to it daily. I also noticed that it did not bother me while I was taking my homeopathic treatment for allergies.
What I've learned: the current theory of treatment for poison ivy says, "dry out the rash! " However, this isn't just a rash, its our skin. The skin needs moisture to be healthy, but water seems to irritate the rash.
I've heard that urishol is what causes the allergic reaction and that it acts like a virus in the body. So the immune system is involved.
Coconut oil is a known anti-viral. I have been surprised at how it can help irritations on the skin. I simply apply some oil to the rash in the morning, after showering, before bed or as needed.
The homeopathic medicine I took was for respiratory allergies, but it helped. I have tried homeopathic remedies that are labeled for poison oak/ivy, but they didn't seem to help as much.
Since we can't name products, I'll list the ingredients in the homeopathic remedy I use:
- Echinacea angustifolia 4x, 12x, 20x, 30x
- Ignatia amara 6x
- Lycopodium clavatum 6x
- Sulphur 6x, 12x, 20x, 30x
- Thuja occidentalis 6x
- Ledum palustre 8x
- Phosphorus 8x
- Antimonium Crudum 12x
- Histaminum hydrochloricum 12x
- Selenium 12x.
I use as directed on the label which amounts to taking one tablet every four hours.
Other things that help:
I take the usual precautions of washing my clothes and skin within twenty minutes of exposure to the plant.
When I discover the itchy red spots I wash the area with soap and water before applying the the coconut oil the first time, just to make sure any remaining plant oils are removed.
I've noticed that the itchiness is the worst when I am hungry and/or tired. So I try to take care of myself. Taking vitamin C also seems to help as well as anything that boosts the immune system.
As a teen I contracted the severest case of poison ivy of my life. The rash formed the hard leathery stage from my wrist to my elbow on both arms. (Agony) It only seemed to heal when Mom gave me a combination of Chinese herbs for the immune system. The herbs helped so much that she stopped giving them to me before the rash was fully healed. It resurged, so she had to give them to again til it was gone.
I also avoid sugar and wheat. I really believe these things aggravate so many negative conditions in the body, at least for me anyway.
Since discovering this remedy I have avoided contracting any significant cases of the rash. Instead, I'll find an itchy, red spot or two from time to time. I just use the protocol described above and the spots go away shortly without spreading and without causing suffering.
I really hope this info helps others.