So I got two phone calls today, one from my sister and one from my dad asking about home remedies for poison ivy. Apparently one of my siblings has stumbled her way into a massive tangle of poison ivy and did not come out the victor. Thus the family phone tree for emergency alternative assistance for a poison ivy remedy!
What is Poison Ivy?
Poison ivy is a plant that can cause an itchy, uncomfortable rash on your skin. Poison ivy grows as a shrub or vine in woods, fields, and areas of thick underbrush. It has 3 bright green leaves on each stem that turn red in autumn.
What does it look like?
You can identify poison ivy by remembering these three things:
- 1. Poison ivy always has 3 leaves
- 2. Poison ivy does not have thorns
- 3. Leaves are arranged alternately on the stem
Why do we react?
Poison ivy creates misery by excreting urushiol oil, which most people are allergic to. When it gets on the skin, it causes itching , burning and inflammation. Scratching at it just makes the problem worse, since scratching can damage the skin and irritate the rash which could lead to infection.
Ok, so you have been exposed poison ivy, now what?
Now you need a Poison Ivy Remedy:
First and foremost, get out of the clothes you were wearing on the hike and wash the oil off your skin using soap and cold water to prevent the rash from spreading. Dont use warm water, because itll open your pores and make the itchy, bubbly rash worse.
Now that you contained the exposure we need to tend to your discomfort. You have several options all of which have soothing properties.
Use one of these as a Poison Ivy Remedy:
-Mix 3 tablespoons of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of cold water or apple cider vinegar make it into a paste and apply to affected area.
Himalayan crystal salt: A paste of salt and water will help draw toxins and fluids from the poison ivy rash, drying the skin and soothing the itching. Soak in a warm salt bath.
Goldenseal: Mix a paste of goldenseal powder and water or apple cider vinegar and apply to the rash to protect against infections. Works well for poison oak and sumac as well.
Tea Tree Oil-:Thoroughly wash and dry the affected areas. Sprinkle a few drops of the tea tree oil directly on the rash, and use a Q-tip or cotton ball to spread it around. Tea tree oil has antiseptic, antifungal, and drying properties, which is why its so effective against the dreaded poison ivy.
Rhus Toxicodendron: Rhus tox is a homeopathic remedy made from poison ivy and one of the best remedies not only for treating the rash but for prophylactic use in its prevention.
So what did I recommend to my sister? After cleaning up I suggested she apply baking soda and water to the rash keeping it on for a half hour. I told her to reapply it throughout the day as needed for relief. Inbetween applications of baking soda I suggested she apply Tea Tree Oil to dry and heal the rash and deter infection.
The key to winning the battle with poison ivy is to stay on top of it and whatever you do dont scratch!