Ten Natural Poison Ivy Remedies

Cream of Tartar  

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Posted by Kim (Olsburg, Ks, USA) on 11/13/2009
5 out of 5 stars

Prevent Poison Ivy

I suffered something awful when they stopped giving the prevention shots for poison ivy at the doctors office. I am so susceptible to it that I'd swear I can get it by looking at it through binoculars! If I broke out in the spring it would stay with me through October. No exaggerating. I finally met a lady whose grandma told her to add a teaspoon of cream of tartar to water and drink it in the early spring (it's awful bitter!). My family has been doing this for years, now, and it really does work! If we're going to be out around poison ivy, or oak in the fall we take another dose just to be safe.

Replied by Sharon

This works great! I read about cream of tartar in another place a couple years ago, and it just said to take it, so l ate a half teaspoon right off the spoon and followed it with water. It tastes tart, not bitter this way. It prevented my husbands allergic reaction to the grass and weeds as he cut the grass as well. l also used it to stop an asthma attack from mold when l was out of meds, and it worked. It is a by-product of wine-making, the powder forming on the barrels from a substance in grapes and other tart fruits.

Dave's Poison Ivy Test  

Posted by Dave (Fountain Inn, Sc) on 09/02/2015


I'm experimenting with what I think is the formula I heard over 50 years ago to make oneself resistant to Poison Ivy.

I heard this from a Cherokee source. I do not know if it is authentic or not as a proven method. I am obviously proceeding with great caution.

First: I have dried PI leaves....about 40 leaves.

Second: I took a pinch of the dried leaf and rubbed in on the inside of my wrist. I washed my hands but left the wrist untouched. If any itching or PI evidence had showed up on my wrist I would have immediately used my anti PI remedies to stop progress. I use Borax to clean the infected area...repeated...then use bentonite clay topically and internally.

If no negative results from the "wrist" sensitivity test emerges...and it did not... I then take a very small amount again...about half the size of my fingernail...and put that in my mouth. I do not swallow. I just let the brief exposure in my mouth stay for less than 10 seconds.

No reaction to that "mouth" test also. So far so good.

Next I will take a whole leaf and put in hot water and steep.

Again, I will first apply the liquid to the wrist.

If no reaction to that will do a "mouth test" using the steeped liquid...about a teaspoon full and spit out after ten seconds. If no reaction to that...

The REAL test begins...and hopefully what will begin the "immunization" test.


Next: I will drink a teaspoon of the PI tea. This is the beginning of the real test. The idea and theory is that by ingesting a degraded amount of the PI poison the body might build a resistance to the poison.

So....gradually....over the next few months I will drink tiny amounts of the tea to test the theory.

AND THEN...next summer...

You guessed it....I will intentionally expose myself to Poison Ivy.

I fully expect to get the rash....that is, I do not think this experiment will work.

So why am I doing this? Because I am tired of wondering if the old remedy I heard from a Cherokee Indian...55 years ago is a myth.

Thus I am my own test body. Guinea pig.

Stay tuned...I may be reporting back in 9 months just how stupid I am. Note...I will only touch the poison ivy leaf to my hand next summer... and be prepared to immediately act if the rash begins.

Replied by Rebel
Somewhere Usa

Hi Dave. I have not had much time to read up on this, but here is a link to an herbalist Darryl Patton. He speaks here about developing immunity


Hope this might help.

Replied by Robert Henry
Ten Mile, Tn

HI U DAVE, , , , , , , , that is wild and strange. But let me tell you a story of a fellow who was in my chelation group here in East Tn. He declared that if you chew young poison ivy leaves then you will be immune to the plant forever. His wife crossed her heart and said that was true. I get it, but am a chicken to do this. It's suppose to be the homeopathic way. All you need is a little dose.

I don't understand it, but my chelation doctor cures lots of folks with homeopathic methods. About a year a go a high dollar world sales woman picked a parasite problem in Indonesia and all the Atlanta doctors had no clue. My doctor uses the same system that Hulda Clark used only now it is computerized. His test showed that she had a parasite and he treated that and now she's good to go. She's a good looker and sweet smeller and the doc is smitten. She handles him like a little puppy dog. You don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Guess the solution is not to grow old.

Keep us informed on your experiment.


Diatomaceous Earth  

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Posted by Leticia (Houston, Texas) on 12/25/2012
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I love this website and often come here for advice. I had found that diatomaceous earth helps soothe bug bites because it draws out the poison, but I had not found anything for it under curing poison ivy.

My son lives in a woody area and has a severe reaction to poison ivy. I usually have to take him to the doctor for a course of steroids, but since his infection happened right before Christmas, my only option was to go wait in an ER which he did not want to do. While I was in my pantry searching for my ACV, I came across my diatomaceous earth and a light went off inside in my brain.

I had him take a very hot shower and then made up paste of diatomaceous earth and water. I had to put it on him at least 3 times a day. I then gave him an allergy pill. By the 3rd day, it completely dissappeared with no scabbing. I had read many posts that said scrub the heads off, but I did not have to do that. Depending on how severe your infection is- 3 days is what it took for a mild infection.

I hope this remedy will bring you relief. Good luck!

Replied by Leticia
Houston, Texas

I just realized that I forgot to mention that I used FOOD grade diatomaceous earth not the industrial one.


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Posted by Robert Henry (Ten Mile, Tn.) on 10/13/2015
5 out of 5 stars

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.


Replied by Deedii
1 posts

Posted by Renee (Bergen Co., Nj) on 08/22/2012
1 out of 5 stars

DMSO, applied topically to my husband's poison ivy, caused the itching to increase and it looked more irritated. He tried several applications, all with the same result. It did not help it go away.

Replied by Dak
Detroit, US

Some people have sensitivity to Undiluted DMSO. Diluting DMSO with peroxide and adding coconut oil may help to tolerate the DMSO application.

Replied by D. Saettel
Farmersville, Ohio

When I am finished working in the garden or hiking, I come in and shower with dish soap and a small amount of ammonia using a net wash cloth. Suds up all over, rinse, never get poison ivy anymore. Think the ammonia neutralizes that poison acid.

Posted by Jay (Altoona, Fla) on 06/02/2008
5 out of 5 stars

I found that DMSO was also excellent for curing Poison Oak and Ivy. I imagine a combo of DMSO and H202 would dry it up in very short order.With DMSO the drying up of the blisters starts immediately as does the cessation of itching. As a child my rashes would be so bad that I would have to get shots to dry it up. Calamine Lotion, oatmeal baths, etc were all ineffective and did little more than offer a small degree of temporary relief.

Posted by Jay (Altoona, Florida) on 05/22/2008
5 out of 5 stars

For Poison Ivy or Oak I found DMSO to be my life saver.Simply apply to the rash and cover with a bandage. Itching stops immediately and rash is gone in a couple of days.

Posted by George (Altoona, USA) on 05/12/2008
5 out of 5 stars

Poison Ivy cure DMSO applied to the rash and covered with a gauze bandage stopped the itching immediately and the rash dried up in less than a week.

Replied by Joyce
Joelton, TN
517 posts

Hello, glad you had good results from putting DMSO on your poison ivy rash! Being severely allergic to poison ivy and knowing that DMSO quickly passes into the body carrying anything on the surface along with it,I definitely would be afraid to try it! Supposedly the reason why DMSO is not used widely in medicine is because a little garlic & DMSO was placed on the foot, and almost instantaneously tasted by the recipient.

Replied by Tom
Austin, TX

DMSO is a powerful solvent. My guess is that it works on poison ivy because it dissolves the plant oil(s) that cause the rash. It would then follow that what gets absorbed into your body would not actually be the poison ivy oil(s), but rather broken-down components.

Replied by Melissa Hicks
Cadet, Missouri

The information about putting garlic and then DSMO is incorrect!

05/13/2008: Joyce from Joelton, TN replies: "Hello, glad you had good results from putting DMSO on your poison ivy rash! Being severely allergic to poison ivy and knowing that DMSO quickly passes into the body carrying anything on the surface along with it,I definitely would be afraid to try it! Supposedly the reason why DMSO is not used widely in medicine is because a little garlic & DMSO was placed on the foot, and almost instantaneously tasted by the recipient."

DMSO when applied to your skin causes a garlic taste in your mouth. It didn't soak the garlic juices into the body. However DMSO does pull lots of water into the body.

Replied by Robert Henry
Ten Mile, Tn

In the 60's I worked for the paper company who made DMSO and supported the research. DMSO could never be used in a double blind trial because it's use caused your breath to smell of garlic. It has zero to do with garlic.

The plant was located in Bogaloosa, La. No employee in the DMSO plant ever had a cold nor the flu while working in that section. The Doctors and Big Pharma killed DMSO because it was so effective and cheap. Read Dr. Jacob's books on the subject and you will cry.

Joyce is right about the poke plant but not about DMSO.

Fels Naptha and DMSO  

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Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee) on 06/20/2016
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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~

Replied by Saundra

I tried a baking soda with vinegar( it will foam up) mixed to a thick paste which is used as a scrub to remove the oil. It was markedly improved the next day and began to dry up.


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Posted by Wendi (Conroe, Texas) on 06/03/2008
5 out of 5 stars

Poison Ivy remedy: Fels-Naptha!! It can be bought at Kroger in the laundry detergent section. It looks like a bar of soap but is actually used for removing stains on clothing. Half the battle is the itching that can last for weeks. I wet the end of the bar and rubbed it on the areas. Within 1 minute it quit itching and I was itch free for more than 5 hours. That's 3 hours longer than with any thing I've tried before, including otc drugs for poison ivy. Within 3 days the blisters were dried up and healing. I suppose you could shower with it but I only had a few areas. When the itching becomes unbearable you'll just about try anything once. As for me, I'll be using the Fels-Naptha Bar!!!!

Replied by Debbie
Buffalo, Ny
5 out of 5 stars

FELS-NAPTHA soap is amazing to counter the poison ivy aftermath! As with the other recommendations, I lathered up with the soap and ran my arms under the hottest water I could tolerate (don't burn yourself!!)and low and behold NO itching for several hours!! This method works GREAT!!!

Replied by Janice
Ionia, MI
5 out of 5 stars

I have had posion ivy already this year. After reading all the remedies and trying several of them, I have found that Fels-naptha has worked the best. The important thing is to dry up the blisters. Having the poision ivy on my hands, face, stomach and legs, I was willing to try everything. I used the hottest water that I could stand,and lathered the soap for several minutes on the blisters, several times a day. It really does relieve the itching after a few minutes, although it will drive you nuts while you do it. I also used a blow dryer and Ivy Dry. I am now on my way to recovery.

Replied by Debbie
Syracuse, New York
5 out of 5 stars

Fels-Naptha helped tremendously with my poison ivy. I would wet the bar of soap and my arm and start scrubbing the affected area with the fels-naptha and cold water, rinse and repeat again. Then I would pat it dry with a paper towel and apply the hand sanitizer gel. I would do this 4 times daily and it gave me great relief. It dried up within a week and did not spread.

Replied by Beth
Brighton, Mi, Usa
5 out of 5 stars

It's summer again and Poison Ivy is in full swing! Fels-Naptha worked for me - thanks to all of you for your posts!


Replied by Amy
Western, North Carolina
5 out of 5 stars

OMGoodness!!!! I tried everything to get rid of poison ivy on my leg but no matter what I tried, it just kept itching and spreading. I had a bar of Fels Naptha waiting to be grated into homemade laundry detergent so I took it and rubbed it all over my leg. Actually, first I scrubbed the poison ivy area with a soft scrubbing brush, rinsed my leg for several minutes with as hot of water as I could stand, then applied the Fels Naptha. I left it on for a couple of minutes, washed it away with warm water and then doused my leg with the coldest water from the tap. NO MORE ITCHING!!! I repeated this method once a day and by the 3rd day there was a remarkable visible improvement. It is now about the 7th day and my leg is nearly completely healed!! Thank you for this remedy!!!

Replied by Timh
Louisville, Ky, Usa

At first sight of poison ivy (redness & itching) a wet-cloth w/ added isopropyl alcohol (also a solvent like naptha) will also produce good results, in my own experience at least. Get those toxins neutralized asap or it's all uphill from there.

Fresh Aloe Vera  

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Posted by Anna (Philadelphia, PA) on 09/12/2008
5 out of 5 stars

Poison ivy was so bad on my forearm that I honestly thought it might be a flesh-eating bacteria. I squeezed a leaf of aloe over it and the next day it was healed!

Replied by Keira W
Placerville, CA
5 out of 5 stars

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!

Fresh Rhubarb Juice  

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Posted by John B (Longueuil, Quebec, Canada) on 06/26/2010
5 out of 5 stars

The best REMEDY against poison ivy: comestible RHUBARB JUICE.

I grew up in a place where the second plant to trees was poison ivy. You peel off the peel from the stem of rhubarb and crush the juice out of the stem and rub it in to the infected area ... for ten (10) seconds to twenty (20) seconds you will be able to climb a brick wall ... then the itch stops ... three (3) hours after it starts to heal ... the next day, it is all gone.

This is a lost remedy that was replaced with pharmaceutical calamine lotion. For those who have poison ivy ... try it ...I guaranty the cure.
John B.


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Posted by Molly (Austin, Tx) on 07/24/2008
5 out of 5 stars

I'm very sensitive to poison ivy and many other plants, and get rashes alot, that burn and itch, and usually require medical treatment, however lately I've used Garlic..just a thin slice of one clove, and rub it all over the itchy part, the sting goes away right away!!!

Replied by Lauren From Memphis
Memphis, Tn
5 out of 5 stars

I have used garlic several times to treat poison ivy, and it is hands down the best treatment. I have used both the clove and powder (garlic powder not garlic salt), but find that I prefer the powder for it's ease of use. Both will stop the itching and dry the blisters.

When I use the powder, I make a paste that I water down to create a sticky film. I wet the affected area, sprinkle the garlic powder over it and rub it around. Once the paste starts to develop, I wet my fingers as needed to help dissolve most of the garlic. You don't want to wash it off, but if you do, you can always sprinkle on more powder. Once most of the powder is dissolved and has become tacky, I let the film dry and it becomes like a second skin. If some of the powder cakes up, you can rub it off after it dries. Sometimes I will purposely cake the wet powder over a weeping blister to help it dry up. This second skin will stay on for hours, even over night, drying and protecting the rash. Wash it off and reapply as necessary. I have found that this will dry up mild blisters within a day, and severe rashes within 3 to 5 days. Garlic is awesome!

There is no burning, it really stops the itching, and I don't need to use anything else. This is much better than the bleach my mother used as a kid, and much less toxic!

Golden Seal Root Extract  

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Posted by Aubrey (York, PA) on 08/13/2006
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Ever since I was a young girl I have been highly allergic to Poison Ivy. I have done everything from steroids to applying straight bleach as well as baking soda and water to the affected areas. Someone recommended Golden Seal Root Extract (you can pick up a vial at the natural food stores). You can drink it in water to help cure the inside of your bloodstream. But the most effective thing is to apply the extract to a tissue and dab it on the spots of poison ivy 3-5 times a day. It always got rid of it within 2 days for me. AMAZING.


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Posted by Mama to Many (Tennessee, US) on 03/28/2015
5 out of 5 stars

One of my sons had poison ivy on his forearm this week. It was painful (his poison ivy manifests with pain and not itch) and was beginning to ooze. He had been ignoring it and after a poor night sleep was wanting to be more aggressive in treating it.

He was going to be working outside and didn't want to deal with poultices or salves or anything. I thought about how I used Goldenseal powder to dry out a newborn's umbilical cord. I had some homemade Goldenseal tincture that I had been making. So we put some in a small spray bottle. Because it was an alcohol (vodka) base, it did sting when it hit the broken skin, but that passed quickly. The Goldenseal worked very, very well to dry up the poison ivy! He would reapply every 2-4 hours if he was home.

At night, I used goldenseal root powder, turmeric powder and oregon grape root powder mixed to dry up the "ooze" the first night. I sprinkled it on liberally, covered with a piece of old sheet, and attached the sheet to the arm with an old sock top. In the morning, he rinsed it off and we sprayed on more Goldenseal. He had slept much better.

It took a few days for his arm to heal up, but there were times in the past when his poison ivy took weeks to heal up, so I was pleased.

Internally, I had him taking Vitamin C (1 gram a couple of times a day), nettle leaf capsules and turmeric capsules (8 of each of those a day.)

One of my little boys had a few poison ivy blisters on his foot. The skin was not broken. We tried the goldenseal tincture spray. It did not sting and even after a couple of hours he could see improvement.

Goldenseal is an expensive herb. Supposedly, Oregon Grape Root will work as well, but I haven't tired that yet. I may make some tincture up and try that and see. I am sure I will have more opportunities this summer to try it out!

~Mama to Many~