A Natural Remedy for Skin Rashes Caused by Poison Ivy, Nettles and Poison Oak
Nettles, Poison Oak and Poison Ivy, -Oh my!
Most people have heard the rhyme "Leaflets three, let it be. Leaflets five, let it thrive." This is an old folk mnemonic to identify and delineate the differences between two very similar-looking creeping vines, poison ivy and harmless Virgina Creeper.
Important to know the difference because the first being Poison Ivy, which produces a substance called "urushiol." This is a potent skin irritant that can cause severe itching, burning, rashes and even blisters on the skin of sensitive individuals. Poison Ivy can grow as both as a vine and as a bush, and it most commonly has just three leaflets but it can have five or seven leaflets. The second example, the 'leaflets five' part of the mnemonic refers to the Virginia Creeper. This is a harmless but similar-looking ornamental vine that always have five leaflet sections radiating from a central point. Skin rashes from native irritant plants such as Poison Ivy, Poison Oak and Nettles have a natural and highly effective remedy however; the common Jewelweed.
Jewelweed; the Touch-Me-Not Plant
Jewelweed is an annual, and native specie of weed common throughout North America. Also called 'Touch Me Not' because their seed cases will 'pop' and dispel seeds through the air when lightly touched. Fond of shady, moist areas, it is often found growing abundantly near creeks and riverbanks, leafy overgrown shady forests, wherever the ground is moist for most of the summer. Not a shy or reclusive plant, wherever you find Jewelweed you will find a lot of it probably to do with their manner of dispersing seeds.
Jewelweed grows to a height of around 4 or 5 feet tall if undisturbed. With dark green oval round-toothed leaves, it is easy to remember. The distinctive bright orange flowers dangle from the delicate stalk much like a jewel.
The Jewelweed plant itself is very high in moisture and does not fare for long once the hollow stem or cut or broken. As a quick remedy for contact with Poison Ivy, Nettles or Poison Oak is to crumple an entire stalk of Jewelweed and rub it liberally onto your afflicted skin, spreading the juices topically. The juices of the Jewelweed are very effective at neutralizing the urushiol toxins of irritant plants.
It is somewhat a myth that Jewelweed can always be found growing alongside Nettles, Poison Oak and Poison Ivy. Even though they do often co-exist side by side, Jewelweed does not fare well in dry ground with a lot of direct sunlight.
Nettles, Poison Oak and Poison Ivy can grow quite well under these conditions and thus be often be found standing alone.
Natural Treatment for Skin Rash
Fortunately, wherever you find Jewelweed it is not uncommon to find the irritant plants mentioned. So, if you find yourself afflicted with the rash-causing weeds, look around you. The best cure just might also be the closest.
Folk Remedies Included Jewelweed
As an old folk remedy, salves and soaps often contained the boiled and reduced essences of Jewelweed. The Jewelweed-infused salve would be applied topically to any skin rash, insect bites or stings, warts, bruises, and ringworm with surprisingly effective results that clinical botanical science has also confirmed to be effective.