Poison Ivy
Natural Remedies

9 Natural Poison Ivy Remedies


8 User Reviews
5 star (8) 

Posted by Barb (Canada) on 03/22/2007
5 out of 5 stars

At the very first sign of poison ivy, I head for the nearest milk weed plant,{Asclepias speciosa}, (I live in zone 3), and snap off a few stems and apply the milky latex like substance to the poison ivy. I do this twice daily for about 2 days. It does not have to be re-applied unless it is washed off. If caught early enough, this will stop it in its tracks. This is an old Indian remedy.

Posted by Garrett (Tenn) on 05/16/2006
5 out of 5 stars

I read a while back that a plant called jewel weed has a chemical in it that goes to the same site that the oil ( the thing that gives you the outbreak) in poison ivy does and blocks it temporarily. How you apply it is you just rub the juice from the stem on the area that you know you will come in contact with the accursed plant and it will prevent it. The plant tends to get pretty big and has these red/orange flowers the stem is a almost translucent green and is kinda red at the base. wish you luck with it.

L-lysine, Vitamin C, Aspirin

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee, Usa) on 11/09/2015
5 out of 5 stars

Well, I am back again with another "yea" for something else that works for poison ivy - this one was an accidental discovery.

One of my adults sons had a cold. I was giving him the following, twice a day:

2 capsules (total 800mg) L-lysine

2 tablets (700mg) aspirin

1 tablet (1000 mg) Vitamin C

After a few days he told me - "Whatever you were giving me for my cold really helped my poison ivy. I had some on my fingers and it was getting bad, but now it is almost dried up." (I didn't even know he had poison ivy! )

I recalled that L-lysine is sometimes used for cold sores. Something about it must be helpful when skin needs healing. Vitamin C is also helpful for skin issues. I don't know if the aspirin had any benefit at all to the poison ivy, but didn't want to neglect it, in case it did.

~Mama to Many~

Lemon Joy

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Gail Mathena (Winston Salem, North Carolina) on 09/07/2008
5 out of 5 stars

Preventing poison ivy breakouts -- Lemon Joy put on all exposed areas, yes even around the eyes will keep you from breaking out. My husband is very allergic, and I attempt to keep it out of the yard, and off the trees. Every year, no matter how many precautions I took, I would break out, especially on my face. Last year I used Lemon joy to dry it up. This year I applied Lemon Joy like a lotion and went at it. After exposing myself for hours and clearing the nasty vines out, I showered. It usually takes 2 days for the breakouts to occur, but none did. My sister, who is highly allergic, swears by it but usually showers with Lemon joy after exposure. I decided to attempted a preventative alternative, because I couldn't get to the shower quick enough.

Lye Soap

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Sandy (Langley, OK) on 10/19/2008
5 out of 5 stars

Lye Soap

In the early 60's my daughter who was about 7 got poison ivy. I took her to the doctor. Got shot and instructions. It got worse, between her toes, fingers, everywhere!! A little old lady in Nebraska told me to get some P&G Soap. You could buy it then. People used it for washing clothes. Bought some and it cleared up her poison ivy. They no longer market it, so when I find it at a flea market or craft shop I buy lots and give as gifts. Please believe me, this really works. Keep it in the bath or shower and see how it really destroys the oil that comes from the blisters.

Mama's Herbal Tea

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee) on 06/01/2015
5 out of 5 stars

Several in my family have been dealing with poison ivy in the last couple of weeks. We have used many natural remedies for poison ivy over the years with success. An herbal salve, oatmeal, apple cider vinegar, and many other things! But some of my children balk at salve, don't like the smell of vinegar...they want the least intrusive remedy. So I made a tea that I put into a spray bottle and kept in the fridge. They could pull it out and spray their poison ivy whenever it was bothering them. This was especially nice for my daughter, who had it around her eyes. She would spray them often for relief and the tea spray was completely safe when it got into her eyes. My son had poison ivy on his arms and legs. His arms healed faster because he sprayed them much more often since he wore jeans during the day and wasn't bothering spraying his legs.

For the child who had poison ivy all over his arms and legs, I also gave him several tea baths. I would make a gallon of strong herbal tea and add it to his bathwater. He would soak for about 30 minutes a couple of times a day. (This was not convenient to him but he was pretty miserable and therefore willing. In fact, in spite of diligent home treatment internally and externally, he ended up needing prednisone. We continued the spray even when he was on prednisone.)

Recipe for Herbal Spray for Poison Ivy

  • 1 Tablespoon dry comfrey leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon dry plantain leaves
  • 1 cup boiling water

Put dry leaves into a mason jar. Add boiling water. Let steep for 30 minutes. Strain leaves out of tea. Store in a spray bottle in the refrigerator. Make a fresh batch of tea each day.

Recipe for Herbal Tea Bath for Poison Ivy

  • 1/2 cup dry comfrey leaves
  • 1/2 cup dry plantain leaves
  • 1 gallon boiling water

Bring 1 gallon of water to boil. Remove from heat. Add dry leaves. Cover. Steep 30 minutes to 2 hours. Strain out leaves. Add to a tub of water. If water is very hot, be careful not to let very hot water hit the skin of the child in the tub, if he is in there already. :)

One morning my three year old woke up and said, "I want a comfrey bath!!! " He had poison ivy and had seen his brother have many "comfrey baths." He wasn't feeling too patient, so I put him in the tub with warm water and a cup of baking soda (which I find helpful for itching and nearly everything! ) I put 1/2 cup comfrey leaves into an old sock and tied it off, like a giant tea bag. I put it into his bath water (since I didn't really have time to make the bath tea on the stove because he wanted his bath NOW.) Periodically I would squeeze the sock to release the comfrey tea. By the end of his bath, the water was tea colored! It worked quite well. And he felt a good bit better and was in a much better mood.

~Mama to Many~


1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Lorraine (Indianapolis, Indiana) on 07/05/2012
5 out of 5 stars

I blog and last week I posted something about "Poison Ivy" a reader commented by sharing the following:

One thing I've found that works amazingly well came from the website of a hospital in upstate New York, where it is the only hospital for miles around, and where campers and hikers frequently come into contact with poison ivy. Rather than withholding information in order to get people into the ER, they put this remedy on their website:

Milk. Just soak a cloth with it, and hold it on the area affected. I did this with my 3-year-old, when initially it looked as if someone had slapped her (and I suspected my 8-year-old). There was an area of distinct red with a sharp edge that crossed from her cheek, halfway over her eye, and onto her forehead. But instead of fading, it got worse, to the point when she woke up the next morning that half of her face was swollen and her eye was swollen shut. I knew poison ivy in the eye was dangerous so I was looking for advice online (when to take to the ER, anything we should/shouldn't do in the meantime), and came across the advice to put milk on it.

We had pet milk (milk from a farm, unpasteurized), so that's what I used. I put her in the tub, soaked a washcloth, and held it on her face. When it got warm, I flipped it and added more milk.

Within 15 minutes, I could see a crack of eyeball, and her face was less puffy. Within half an hour, her eye was most of the way open. And within 45 minutes, the redness and swollenness was pretty much gone everywhere on her face, with just one little spot. She was 3 and so done with sitting in the bathtub while I held a washcloth on her face, so I let her out for a bit, and then before bedtime just patted some more milk on the one remaining spot, and after 10 minutes it was no longer red. It took a few days for the blistering to heal, but at that point it wasn't itchy or spreading at all-just damaged skin from her exposure.

My husband, at the same time, started cleaning up the yard (a tornado had deposited shredded poison ivy leaves in our yard) and got a very bad case. He went with over-the-counter remedies for 3 weeks, while it continued to get worse, and then finally caved and tried my "weird" remedy. His was so many places on his body it did take a couple of days to get it all, but it was just a couple of days. Yet the next time he had poison ivy he tried the conventional stuff again and again it was over a week before he'd try milk on it, but now he has learned his lesson and turns to milk right away!

We instantly tried milk on my mom who has a rip-roaring case of PI right now, and it brought almost instant relief. Better than ACV! Hope this helps!!! :)

Replied by Caroline
(Alexandria, Va)

1 day into noticing bumbs, our 8 yr. old was in agony over his welts on his wrists and forearm. The doctor couldn't identify it. There were no blisters, some clusters, some welts and all hard raised bumps with redness spread around the bumps in 1/2-3 inch rounds. We thought they may be bites but when the cortisone and prescription steriod didn't work, we suspected poison ivy. It's winter here so not an obvious choice.

Thank you for posting the milk remedy! We tried it since our 8 yr. old will not tolerate stinging remedies. It worked extremely well to get rid of the itching and redness around the bumps--relief was almost immediate, if not w/in a few minutes. The length effectiveness varied quite a bit--from overnight (perhaps he was tired from a basketball game) to only 2 hours. We typically had to reapply with new washcloth every 2-4 hours during the day. The milk was low temp. Pasterized, from grassfed cows, 2%.

We soaked a half of a washcloth then put it on while still dripping, used the other half to wrap around the lower arm and wrist and contain the dripping half. Then gently secured w/ 2 bands of paper tape. He's kept cloths on for the past 36 hours--off for an hour here or there.

Bought some jewelweed in alcohol solution hoping to avoid another night of milk bandage but it didn't work. Perhaps because we didn't have cotton balls? We used bandage gauze and soaked it well. Then dabbed it on as per instruction on the bottle. BTY the solution was made here locally so I'm not sure if you'll find it in your local health food store like we did.

Dear EC--thank you so much!! Have often wondered whether seperating out the remedies suitable for children would help concerned parents finding options quicker as their kid wails in the background.

Multiple Remedies

1 User Review
4 star (1) 

Posted by Judy (Montgomery, Tx) on 09/05/2013
4 out of 5 stars

Poison Ivy: I tried almost everything everyone listed including soaking in borax/hydrogen peroxide and ACV/baking soda. Fels naphtha helped but I've never had it from head to toe. It started on the tail-end of shingles so this has not been the best season... Acv seems to work best, even better than Tecnu Calagel. A combination of Fels +Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap followed by hydrogen peroxide left on to dry and topped with calamine has lasted up to 5 hours before the itching took off like a bat out of hell... Today I stumbled on a quick fix: Windex. Love the spray... Seems obvious due to Apple Cider Vinegar in it.

Replied by Tom
(Fort Worth, Texas)

I came down with a bad case of poison ivy that my go to didn't seem to heal. So used Indian Healing Clay. This is a bentonite clay which is from Death Valley. But most any quality clay will do; clay being used for thousands of years.

Here's how to use it: Two tablespoons or more if the infection is widespread. Use purified water to make the clay into a spread. Apply to affected area. Let completely dry. Wash off. Two hours later do it again. The absorbing action of the clay is pulling the "poison" out of the skin. Next day do the same thing.

While the drying is going on, again use two teaspoons in a large glass of purified water and stir vigorosly: drink. The action of the clay will draw the poison from the body internally. Sometimes a bad case of poison ivy will get to the blood steam, so the consumption orally of the liquid clay will absorb internally. Goldenseal is good but I've found the clay is better. Also consider charcoal tablets as an internal cleanser... if you can't bring yourself to drink the clay in a liquified form.

Nettle Leaf

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by Mama to Many (TN) on 03/08/2022
5 out of 5 stars

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~

Nettle Leaf
Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee, US) on 08/28/2014
5 out of 5 stars

One of my teenage sons was weed wacking poison ivy and ended up with a rash on his arms. It was not severe, just enough to be an irritation for a couple of weeks and then he mentioned it to me.

I fixed him a quart of very strong nettle leaf tea. He drank it that afternoon and the rash stopped bothering him and healed up quickly. Here is how I made the tea:

1/4 cup dry nettle leaves

2 Tablespoons peppermint leaf (only for flavor, can omit if you do not like peppermint or don't have it on hand.)

Pour 1 quart water that has been brought to a boil over the leaves. Let sit for an hour or two. (No longer on heat.)

Strain out the leaves. Sweeten as desired.

For a stubborn case of poison ivy, this tea would be ideal to drink daily until the rash is gone. It may be a stand alone treatment or would go well with anything topical that you tried.

We have seen nettles taken internally to work very well for all sorts of allergic reactions, from seasonal allergies, to hives, to skin reactions to jalapeno peppers. Nettles is also very nutritious. It is considered to be safe for children, pregnant and nursing mamas. I always keep a large supply in my herb cabinet!

~Mama to Many~

Replied by Robert Henry
(Ten Mile, Tn.)

HI U MAMA, this got my attention. When I worked in South Arkansas in the 60's there was a guy who would make a nettle tea and would make you immune to poison ivy. Rumor was that he got this formula from Native Americans.


Oak Bark

Posted by Amy (Riverside, California) on 05/07/2014

Old fashioned Poison Ivy skin cure.

I once read a book about a young man that raised Honey bees. This was back when rural areas had few telephones (can't recall the state but I think it was in the Midwest U.S.A.). Probably in the 1920's or 1930's. This family lived in the woods and the boy would explore the area enjoying the outdoors. The boy said that he once got into some poison ivy and was going through misery all over his body! No one could help him so his mother got on a telephone and called his grandmother in another state.

It took hours to get a hold of his grandmother but when the boy's mother finally got the grandmother on the phone the grandmother told the boy's mother to go out into the woods and take an ax and go to an oak tree and cut down a load of OAK BARK! She then told the mother to place the oak bark in a big tub or sink and fill the tub or sink with water covering the oak bark and to boil the oak bark and water. The oak bark was to be taken out of the tub and the boy was to soak in the oak bark hot water (hot to where the boy could stand it) and soak in this solution until the water became cold. Then the boy was to get into his pajamas and go straight to bed and sleep.

The boy claims that when he woke up the next morning the poison ivy irritation was gone! Just thought I would share this story with others. I have the book in storage but with 6 full storage units I will have a hard time finding it. But I think it is a true story.

Orange Juice, Dolomite

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Woodmaker (Mondovi, WI) on 11/24/2021
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Over the Counter

12 User Reviews
5 star (7) 
1 star (4) 

Posted by Naturalmom (Minnetonka, Mn, Usa) on 09/23/2011

We finally figured out that my husband has poison ivy. It was difficult to discern because the moment the rash appeared I had him soaking it in a bath mixture of oatmeal, baking soda, lavender and tea tree oil, then covering it with a calendula ointment (by Hylands). It really made the rash look better than it felt because my husband couldn't sleep for several nights due to the severe itch. We finally read about the Tecnu Extreme Poison Ivy Remedy, called Walgreens and they had ONE bottle left ($15... Yikes) but immediately after using it my husband finally stopped itching and slept perfectly last night. The rash appears to look so much better now. We will continue to use it. I should note we put some aloe vera plant on it last night and this morning which is also very soothing.

Over the Counter
Posted by Pamela G (Springvale, Me) on 08/03/2009
1 out of 5 stars

I tried using some invisible band-aid from the Dollar Tree and it has made me so much worse. It is causing my rash to weep profusely- so much so that I soak through a facecloth every hour....I cannot get the stuff off without using nail polish remover or the like, and I am not ready for that STING. I would have been better off just letting my body handle this issue with my trying to "help".

Over the Counter
Posted by G (Wooster, Ohio) on 06/25/2009
1 out of 5 stars

From what I have been reading online tonight, you do not develop immunity to poison ivy; rather, you become more sensitive with each exposure. I did watch a youtube video of a man who eats poison ivy and claims to have built up some immunity, but not entirely. No, he wasn't Uhle Gibbons, but an accredited write for a local newspaper.

In my own experiences I feel I am becoming more sensitive to the urushiol (you-ROO-shee-ol). I never broke out in my youth and spent alot of time camping and hiking in the same places I continue to revisit (45yr young now). I contract the rash about 48hr after exposures, and have experienced outbreaks twice this season, spring-summer June 25th 2009.

Technu seems to make it irritated and caldryl seems to help with the itching. Tonight I tried dish soap and rubbing alcohol, this morning zit creams. This is the 5th day after exposure. The zit creams used this morning got mixed reactions somehow. I used two, one clear and one white paste. To my surprise not all zit creams are created equal. 10% benzoil peroxide did very little for me, on the morning of day 5 after exposure. The clear maximum strength 2% salicylic, acid 28% alcohol seemed to make visible decrease in the small area on my arm where I used the treatment. 10% benzoil peroxide product was used on my fingers and did nothing I can detect.

Rubbing alcohol was used to a good sized area on my left leg. It feels good going on, doesn't reduce the itch, and made the rash appear more evident. This was attempted just moments before writing this. After making the rash look worse, I tried the dish soap degreaser (green stuff, tough on grease, soft on hands :) Applied moments after the alcohol treatment, the itch is gone. I applied a minute amount of the soap on the end of my finger and rubbed it in until dry.

If I find a miracle, I will write again :) Until then, you know all I know.

Replied by Sandy
(Evans, Co)
5 out of 5 stars

When I had poison ivy the first time, it was ongoing for at least 2 weeks and I had tried several home remedies and 2 RX before I stumbled into a pharmacy where they recommended technu. It is a product developed to clean your hands in the field if you are using radioactive products, and will remove the oil which causes the rash. It came with a calagel to use to soothe the itch. It helped alot, even after the long time before I found it. The next time I contracted poison ivy, I was able to get the technu on is probably 30 minutes or so (as soon as I became aware a rash was appearing), and generously applied the calagel as soon as the technu dried. The rash lasted just a day or less. I had 2 more rounds before we moved to another state and had equal success each time. I had nearly 100 different poison ivy and possibly poison oak plants on our half acre, so was so glad to find something that worked for me.

Replied by Leslie
(St Louis, Mo)

Zanfel is an expensive, but highly effective, over the counter remedy for poison ivy! It's available at Walgreens, but here in St. Louis, it's cheaper at the Dierberg's Pharmacy. This product helped me get over my fear of going into the woods because of my severe allergies. Try it, you won't be sorry!!

1... 2 3 4 5 6 7