Leaves of three, can’t stop me!
I love my garden. It’s my work of art, my sanctuary, and my “go to” spot for a quick stress reliever. However, when I started my gardening a few months ago, something changed. I started having an allergic reaction to the soil and the beautiful shrubs in it. I was told I had poison ivy, something I have never gotten before…ever.
Was poison ivy going to stop me from gardening? Heck no! I was not ready to give up one of the things I love so much. Instead, I learned a few ways to get around that itchy, disgusting rash and still enjoy the beautiful rainbow of colors that fill my landscape. The remedies I use are safe, mostly natural, inexpensive and actually work!
First things first. See a doctor to verify that it is, in fact, poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac. After your diagnosis is confirmed, start planning your course of action.
Below are 20 at-home remedies to consider for safe, effective treatment for poison ivy. Apply these remedies to the affected area several times a day. Word of caution: if using a cotton ball or cotton swab, be sure to use a new one for each infected area, since the poison ivy oil can attach itself to the cotton ball and spread.
- Tea tree oil. Apply just a few drops undiluted to the skin. It heals from the inside out. Use after the “oozing” subsides.
- Ice coffee. Chlorogenic, the anti-inflammatory found in coffee reduces swelling. Apply with a cotton ball.
- Oatmeal. Very soothing to the skin, an oatmeal bath can help reduce the itching that goes along with poison ivy. Apply paste and allow it to dry. Rinse after 20 – 30 minutes.
- Baking soda bath. Not too fond of oatmeal? Baking soda is known to draw out toxins. Only a cup is needed in the bath.
- Baking soda paste. Not too fond of baths? Make a paste of ¼ cup baking soda and a few drops of water instead. Apply to the affected areas. Allow to dry and sit for several minutes.
- Cool compress. Compresses help calm down those over-stimulated nerve endings. Soak a washcloth in cold water, wring and apply to the affected area.
- Lavender Essential Oil. This fast-acting healer is safe to use undiluted, directly on your skin. Make sure to use after the oozing stops.
- Calamine Lotion. Nothing says “itchy rash healer” like an armful of good ole’ calamine lotion! The zinc oxide and iron contained in this healing lotion is great at stopping the itch that comes along with the ivy. No Calamine lotion at home? Try Kaopectate!
- Witch Hazel. Another anti-itch soother. Apply with a Q-tip or cotton ball. No witch hazel at home? Try minty mouthwash instead!
- Green banana peel. Rub the inside of an almost ripe banana peel on the poison ivy to clear it up.
- Jewelweed., Crush and apply the leaves to the rash. Believe it or not, the Jewelweed plant usually grows near the poison ivy!
- Fels Naptha soap bar. Rub the soap bar on the rash a few times a day, will help pull out the oils.
- Sea salt. Just one ounce diluted in one quart of water can help dry up the poison ivy and speed the recovery process along.
- Toothpaste. For a quick fix, rub a little toothpaste onto the rash to stop the itching.
- Pine Tar. Pine tar and sulfur soaps and ointments are great healers.
- Fruits and nuts. Urushiol, the oil that forms the poison ivy rash, is also found in cashews, pistachios, mangos and tomatoes. Add some immunity to your diet by eating some of these delightful foods.
- Plantain/Burdock leaves. Rub a few of these leaves on the rash for a quick anti-itch relief. Soak the leaves in some apple cider vinegar beforehand for extra relief. The vinegar helps bring out the oils of the poison ivy.
- Manzanita leaves. Dried or fresh manzanita leaves (indigenous in the western U.S.) work in 24 hours. The blisters, itching and rash will be gone before you even start complaining about the pain!
- Pureed cucumbers. Apply directly to the affected area to soothe, calm and relax both you and your itch!
- Rhubarb stem juice. The juice is found in the stem near the roots. Apply with a cotton ball. Known to work wonders!
Whichever method you choose to relieve your itchy, poison ivy, oak or sumac rash, always remember to speak with your doctor first.
To prevent contamination or the spread of poison ivy, wash your hands immediately after gardening. Wash down all gardening tools used and wash clothes in hot water separately. Avoid scratching your rash and pat dry yourself after your bath or shower. And remember – some gardening mulches can contain poison ivy!!!
Let the healing begin!