• Colin Mclain

Homemade Poison Ivy Treatments

Updated: Aug 27, 2021

Did you know that 85% of people are allergic to the oil found on poison ivy. It's called urushiol and is the cause for your latest poison ivy breakout. This oil is found all over the plants, including the stems, leaves, berries, and even the roots.


Symptoms of poison ivy, oak, or sumac usually start within a day of exposure. Urushiol is darn sticky and will stay on objects for up to a year such as your tools, gloves, and shoes making these objects another form of exposure if not properly cleaned. The important thing to do is to wash any exposed areas as soon as possible with simple soap and water. This will take care of most contact before the urushiol has time to sink into your skin.


But what happens if you don't catch it in time? Well, then you're in for a bit of an uncomfortable situation. Common symptoms of poison ivy are:

  • Itchy skin, mainly where you came into contact with the urushiol

  • Redness on the skin

  • Small bumps in the skin

  • Fluid filled blisters. Fortunately, the fluid will not spread any itchiness or rash, contrary to popular opinion.

So, now that you've got it, what can you do to make it go away? Try these homemade treatments and let us know how they work for you.


Be Proactive

The best treatment for poison ivy is proactive care. If you know you've been exposed, immediately clean the area with warm water and soap. If you think that's not going to do the trick, you can move on to a more intensive treatment, such as an application of rubbing alcohol.

Another way to be proactive is to eat raw local honey. Some believe that local honey can lessen the severity of poison ivy before you even get it. Others subscribe to belief that drinking sumac tea will provide the same benefit.


Jewelweed

One treatment that that has been used for centuries is that of a mash of jewelweed. Jewelweeds grow between three and five feet tall and thrive almost everywhere in North America. This native flower, also known as "touch me-not", has the rumor of being able to stop the spread of rash brought on by contact with poison ivy. Indeed, an article in the August 2012 issue of the Journal of Ethnopharmacology supported that a mash made from jewelweed stems and leaves was successful at reducing the poison ivy rash. However, it also states in the study that there was no discernable difference when compared to plain soap and water when a jewelweed extract, not a mash, was used. Therefore, if you have fresh jewelweed around, you're in luck. However, this method might not be as useful if you're relying on non-fresh leaves. Best try another method, such as...


Oatmeal

For hundreds of years, oats have been used in baths for its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. Scientists aren't quite sure, even now, why nor how the use of oatmeal has such a positive effect on exposed skin. There are soaps and salves that have oatmeal as the primary active ingredient, and they will work, however, if you're looking to use what you have in the home, a simple bath with oats added will do wonders.


Baking Soda

The biggest reason to use this treatment is that you probably already have it in your kitchen. Just mix a couple teaspoons with water to make a paste. Apply to the itchy, red areas it you'll have relief in moments. If your rash happens to be more widespread, just add a couple teaspoons to your bathwater. Make sure the water is hot as you can stand it. Soak until you're done.


Do you have any homemade treatments that worked for you? We'd love to hear them. Leave a comment below.