||Far Left: plantain (Plantago major)
Left: jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)
Helpful tips for Poison Ivy &
by Colleen Hulett
Rosemary Gladstar teaches one to learn how to identify poison ivy and oak, respect it and to keep our distance from it. She tells us they provide ground cover protection of the vibrations from sacred burial grounds and power centres in North America. How can we not respect poison ivy of Eastern N.A. and poison oak of Western N.A.? Besides, the plants when touched give us such a nasty rash!
The first thing anyone should do is go to the library and search for photos and drawings of the poisonous plants or go on a local herb walk and ask to be shown the plants. They can look very different depending on where they are growing. Poison ivy or oak can be a single plant, shrub, vine and can be toothed, etc. It always has only three leaves. An old saying warning of the plants is "Leaves of three, Let it be." Once you get to know the plant you can always avoid it. About 65 percent of the population is allergic to these plants.
Prepare for the Outdoors
Always dress properly when hiking in the woods. Wear pants and socks with hiking boots.
If you see the plants...wash your pants and socks afterwards with fels naphtha soap or green soap. You should be able to find these soaps at your local camping store. Wash yourself with the same soap after a walk or with jewelweed soap. (Burt's Bees has a good Poison Ivy soap containing Jewelweed).
If you get a rash:
For those of you who are suffering right now with the awful rash I've put together some helpful tips I've learned from Rosemary and from experience with customers I have assisted. For severe poison rash that covers half the body or has extreme swelling, redness, or fever; or if you have it near your eyes, genitals or mouth - please consult your healthcare practitioner.
Do not use oil based preparations (salves and ointments) for itch on the rash because oil will spread the allergic substance from both plants.
Heat activates oils and helps spread the rash so avoid the sun, hot showers and hot water. Stay cool to keep the itch down.
Avoid all sweets because they will aggravate the rash.
Take at least 3,000 mg Vitamin C daily to prevent infection and spreading. Vitamin C serves as a natural anti-histamine that reduces swelling.
Make a clay paste with water and apply to the rash. Let it completely dry, then rinse with cold water. Do not scrub off but soak a wet cloth on the dried clay for removal. Any type of clay will work. You can either dig some up or purchase it at your local health food store.
Apply yogurt or buttermilk on all sensitive areas like around the eyes because it is slightly astringent and drying.
Soak in a bath of tepid water with baking soda for soothing relief. Apply Clay mint toothpaste by Au Natural. This toothpaste is drying, cooling, and astringent and quickly relieves itching.
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Above jewelweed photo from Missouri State University, Department of Biology.
Above plantain photo from Wikipedia, free encyclopedia.
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Copyright © 1999-2012 Robin L. Russell