The Shepherd's Purse

God has given us every herb for medicine

First Aid Help for Poison Ivy and Nettles

The rashes of poison ivy, poison sumac, and poison oak are caused by a resin (urushiol) found in the resin canals of leaves, stems, berries, and roots. The potency of the sap does not vary with the seasons. Because the plant parts have to be injured to leak the resin, most cases are reported in the spring when the leaves are most fragile. Dried leaves are less toxic; particles can cause a severe reaction on the skin and in the nose, mouth, throat, and lungs."

Jewel Weed is the best remedy for easing ivy itch. Just take a stalk, split it to expose the succulent inner and swab away. Try a preserve of isopropal alcohol and jewel weed juice (ground in a food processor)

BTW: I have used a wash made of jewelweed (Impatiens sp.) leaves and stems crushed in water on my skin when I think I have been exposed to poison ivy with apparent success. I have used the juice from the stems right on small poison ivy skin eruptions when it just starts to itch and the rash disappears.

Rob Chatburn

Hello all. I had just replied to another reply about this topic - re: using plantain leaves on the rash. I also have another interesting tidbit. Nightshade, when crushed and mixed with alcohol creates a topical analgesic similar to Zostrix, according to the article I read.

Plantain (Plantago sp.) is also reported to draw the toxins out of a recent exposure to poison ivy. However being one of those lucky folks that so far has avoided the plague (although I have been in contact with it many times) I have yet to try it on myself. I have used this and a few other PI remedies on a bad reaction to mullein (blisters, itching etc. It looked so similar to PI that a doctor diagnosed it as such), obtained while working on a hand drill (mullein is indeed an irritant to some, however it seems that the more I work with it, the less severe my reactions are, which is contradictory to what I know of PI). In this case I used plantain, jewelweed and apple cider vinegar and it cleared up the affliction in a couple of days. I have since used the apple cider vinegar on a number of skin infections with great success. The most recent situation was a persistent fungal type infection from tanning slightly over ripe deer hides that was completely healed with no

I have also heard of elderberry inner bark being an effective PI remedy, but have no personal experience with it. Anyone tried this or know about it? (Don't take elder bark internally)


Wow! You have some powerful and persistent nettles out your way. My experience is that the irritation tends to go away on its own untreated within a half hour, however, when I don't want to wait that long I use Plantain (Plantago sp.) in a poultice form and it usually helps lessen the irritation in a couple of minutes. To make a poultice either chew up a leaf and apply the resulting mass directly or grind the leaves up with a mortal and pestle or a couple of rocks until the same kind of pasty consistency is obtained.

My first choice would be broad-leaved plantain (Plantago major around here) leaves. I have also used curly dock (Rumex crispus) with some success. It has the bonus of having the same habitat as nettles so is readily found after you get stung.

Chickweed (Stellaria media) cream is very effective. This is made by combining about 50 grams of the fresh herb with 150 grams of emulsifying wax (this is made by combining oil or fat with water into an emulsion, best done slowly in a blender or something similar - like making mayonnaise), 70 grams of glycerin and about 80 ml of water. Heat it all up and simmer for about 3 hours, then strain through a jelly bag. put in small jars and store in the refrigerator.

For most effective relief, this treatment can be combined with an infusion of 5 grams (dried herb) of each of the following: Nettle (Urtica dioica), Heartsease (Viola tricolor), and Calendula (Calendula officinalis) in 750 ml of water taken regularly during the day. Or: A decoction of 5 grams of the root of each of the following: Dandelion (Taraxocum officinale), Yellow dock (Rumex crispus), and Burdock (Arctium lappa) in 750 ml of water. Drink 2 cups a day.

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