Appalachia Appalachian Medicine Wildflowers & Trees Of Appalachia

Leaves Of Three Let Them Be


This time of the year folks start worrying about bug bites-and the dreaded case of poison oak or poison ivy. I know they’re different plants-but we always called the itchy stuff poison oak no matter which plant it came from. Growing up I was lucky-I never had poison oak-but that wasn’t the case for others in my family.

Granny is highly allergic to the stuff. Honest to goodness-certain times of the year she can walk through the yard and catch it from the wind blowing. When she was pregnant with me she had a horrible case of poison oak-her and Pap always said that’s why I didn’t get it-that I had built up an immunity to it when Granny was carrying me.

Paul and Steve didn’t get that same immunity. One of the worst cases Paul ever had was during the middle of the winter. It was in the late 70’s during one of the coldest winters on record for our area. We still had gravity water and it had frozen solid. Pap built fires along the length of black pipe that wasn’t buried to thaw it. Paul and I loved it-we played in the fires and explored the woods. We inadvertently burned poison oak, and in just a day or so Paul was eat up with the raised itchy patches. Paul’s case was severe so Pap took him to a local pediatrician who proceeded to explain to Pap that the boy could not have poison oak-as it was the dead of winter. After the doc left the room her nurse told Pap “she’s crazy as a loon that’s poison oak if I’ve ever seen it!” A trip to a different doctor got Paul a much needed shot and medication for his aliment.

Steve’s job often requires him to be in weedy brushy areas and he has become an expert at heading his outbreaks off as soon as he notices one-but he’s also had to have shots on more than one occasion.

Sadly, my immunity ran out summer before last. I was helping a lady friend work in her flowers and apparently in the process of pulling armfuls of weeds I pulled up poison oak. At first I didn’t really know what it was-I went and showed my arms to Pap. He thought it looked like poison oak-but said he didn’t know since I’d never had it before surely it wasn’t.

To say I was in misery is an understatement. After a few days of the mess Steve came to check on me-he took one look and said “yep that’s poison oak.” For over a week I tried every home remedy you’ve ever heard of-from oatmeal to peroxide-nothing helped. Finally on a Saturday afternoon I gave up the fight and paid a visit to a local urgent care center. The doctor who saw me said “you waited about a week too long to come” he gave me 2 shots and sent me back by the hospital emergency room for a couple of pain killers. My own stubbornness made me wait to go to the doctor-and I have faint scars on the insides of each arm to remind me I’m no longer immune to poison oak-and I don’t ever want to have that vile affliction again.

A few home remedies I’ve heard about:

  • fingernail polish-Granny swears by this one. At the first little sign of a bump or patch cover it with fingernail polish-supposedly it seals the place off from air and helps it dry up
  • clorox to kill the poison
  • spread cooked oatmeal on the patches to relieve the pain/itching and to dry the areas up
  • mix baking soda with water and put on patches
  • use vinegar to stop the itching
  • use buttermilk to relieve the itch
  • rub patches with peroxide or alcohol to kill the poison and dry up the areas-this one-hurts so bad but feels so good at the same time-make sense?
  • several remedies suggest taking a bath in salt, soda, or oatmeal water-while others warn of never taking a bath

Jewelweed in appalachia

 

(Jewelweed)

One of my favorite books on folk medicine-Folk Medicine In Southern Appalachia by Anthony Cavender has this to say about remedies for poison oak/ivy:

“poultices of cooked or crushed leaves of peach tree, jewelweed, ragweed, red oak, willow, or nightshade; juice of a green tomato or milkweed; and topical solutions of red oak or willow bark. Frequently reported nonbotanical remedies include buttermilk, soda paste, Epsom salt solution, cow’s cream (sometimes mixed with gunpowder), a biscuit soaked in sweet milk, calamine lotion, salt water solution, and bleach. According to some reports it was believed that one could develop an immunity to poison ivy by eating some of it’s leaves. This dangerous and potentially fatal folk belief still circulates today.”

 

Ever since I had my horrible case of poison oak-you better believe I’ve watched out for it-and I’ve took notice of any remedies I come across too. One mentioned in Cavender’s book-is Jewelweed. I’ve recently read several positive accounts of the use of this native plant. When I was growing up we called it ‘wild touch me nots’ -because at the end of the summer you can ‘touch’ their seed pods and watch them explode. Generally the plants grow in shady damps places and can reach 2-3 feet tall. The juice of the plant is a natural cortisone and is supposed to be an excellent remedy for poison oak, poison ivy, bee stings, and bug bites. I hope to never have poison oak again-but if I do I’m going to try jewleweed as a remedy.

Ever had posion oak? What remedy does your family use?

Tipper

 

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38 Comments

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    May 27, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    Oh my Tipper, what memories I have of poison oak. As a 5 year old, my daddy bought a 40 acre farm and was clearing an area around the spring which was to be used for water to the house. I was playing all around in the woods that day….a week later i lay on a bed at my granny’s house on plastic, i was oozing so much. I had to get shots every day for about a week and then of course every summer I would catch it no matter where I went or what I did. The best remedy aside from the standard things you mention, was when I was 8, in the summer I got it, but we went to Florida for a vacation (first ever) and swimming in that Gulf of Mexico got rid of the poison oak right quick. As I’ve aged, I haven’t had it too much but I sure steer clear of it when i can. (smile)….

  • Reply
    Carrie
    May 27, 2011 at 5:59 am

    I’ve been really lucky so far. I’ve never gotten it. My husband can LOOK at the stuff and he gets it. Unfortunately #1 is going to take after him. After a failed chasing of the chickens attempt with me, he ended up with it on his face, under his arms and on his torso. Me? Nothing.
    I hope this immunity NEVER wears out!

  • Reply
    Cheryl soehl
    May 26, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    My sister, Trina, got a horrendous case of poison ivy as a child by standing in the smoke of a fire where brush was being burned. It was in her eyes, inside her nose, all the way down to the soles of her feet. Never let children stand downwind of a fire with debris from clearing vegetation!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 26, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Ed, in these mountains I wouldn’t be calling anything BS. I’ve seen too many things happen that could not be explained.
    I’ve had PI/PO a few times in my life but nothing dramatic….knock on wood! lol
    I have no reservations about Bradley’s conjuring
    women. As children my same age cousin and I both had warts on our hands. We both had them removed medically….not once but several times and they came back. My dad said, enough is enough. He took both of us out in the country to an old man who removed warts. The old man (probably about the age I am now!) looked at and touched the warts mumbled something and we left. In a couple of days our warts were all completely gone. The only remaining sign that they had ever been there were the scars where the doctor had burned and cut them.
    If I had PI/PO now I’d be looking for Bradly’s conjuring women!!
    Jim is correct we would do well to pay a little more attention to the old wisdom…..but, oh yes, that’s exactly what Tipper is doing here with this blog.
    You go Tipper….we’re learning together!

  • Reply
    Ed Myers
    May 26, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Regarding Mr. Casada’s comment on my comment, I noted quite plainly that “not all” natural remedies are wish fulfillment.
    In my experience, I should have said, most are. I’ve tried many over the years and found them minimally, if not completely, ineffective. Believing in them based solely on faith does not make them work…necessarily. As many have experienced, sometimes faith is all you need.
    One last point.
    I’ve found that quite a few people around here are deathly afraid of common Virginia creeper, believing it wrongly to be poison oak or a relative, simply (I’d guess) because it climbs trees, often in concert with poison ivy. It has five leaves and is easily distinguished.

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    May 26, 2011 at 6:44 am

    I never used to get any type of poison … I could have rolled in it … yet now I can hardly go out of the house and I find it somewhere on my body!
    We have jewelweed everywhere, so will have to give that a try.

  • Reply
    Dee from Tennessee
    May 26, 2011 at 4:40 am

    I can think about it and bam! it’s off to the er room!! Once when we were hiking on a small trail in Hampton Tn, Dan said he thought I had stepped on some plants. We high-tailed it out of there, slid into the nearest Dollar Store, and I bought bottled water, Dawn (which breaks down the oil ) and washcloths and had a good old footwashing right there in the parking lot. Threw my socks away, bagged up the tennis shoes to be washed at home, and bought flip-flops from Dollar Store. For years, I would wash affected areas with warm/hot water with dishwashing liquid until I read that the warm water opens your pores and one should use cold water and Dawn – to help break up the oil. My cousin breathed into her lungs and wound up in hosptial , etc. I HATE it with a passion. So so sorry for your reader who got it in her tear ducts !

  • Reply
    Mary Rutherford
    May 26, 2011 at 12:03 am

    My East Tennessee playground of woods and rock outcroppings gave me plenty of childhood experience with poison ivy. The misery of toes and fingers spread wide by the blisters couldn’t keep me out of my beloved woods so trips to Dr. McNeely and shots became an annual event. In recent years I have used a product called Tecnu when I thought I might have been exposed and it seems to have worked well. I have used Jewell Weed for temporary relief. It is soothing similar to aloe. My husband uses something called Ivy Block prior to clearing brush and also scrubs off with the Tecnu. I don’t know which product is responsible, but he has been happily ivy free. Now chiggers are another story…

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    May 25, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    I can’t avoid poison ivy — its sneaky roots keep getting in my flower beds. I’ve tried a lot of those remedies but have always had the best luck with hydrocortisone cream.

  • Reply
    Paul
    May 25, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    Several of the things you mentioned are very familiar to me Tipper. I think I have heard and tried all of those remedies. What really caught my attention was when you mentioned your immunity wearing off. For years as a child I dared the stuff to come get me. Then when I wasn’t even around it, my immunity gave in as well! I was covered and miserable. I get a spot now and then after working on fences or cutting firewood, but nothing like that one terrible time.

  • Reply
    Shirla
    May 25, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    Thank God I have never had a serious reaction to poison vine. That’s what everyone in my hometown called it. My neighbor had to have her wedding rings cut off her finger at the ER within a few hours after exposure to the wicked plant. Her face was about twice it’s normal size with her eyes swollen shut.
    My sister is like Granny and can get a bad case of itchies when she gets close to poison vine. She learned the hard way that she should never go behind a tree and call it a restroom when she goes camping:) The doctor thought that was funny.
    For all you suffering from PV and can’t find any relief, you have to try chickweed salve. It can be bought in most Amish stores or you might get lucky and find an old-timer that is still making it at home. I did but have lost contact. Please read the testimonials on this miracle salve.

  • Reply
    Granny Sal
    May 25, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    I had a bad case as a child, but never get it any more. I think if I did get it I would try the finger nail polish. I know it works to stop runners in stockings..

  • Reply
    RB
    May 25, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    As I’m VERY allergic to poison ivy, I wash carefully with a brush and dishwashing liquid whenever I’ve been working in a place where it might be, no matter what time of year it is, cause I’ve even caught it pulling out the roots in the winter time.
    There is a product named Technu that is good for cutting the poison oil too. But for the itching, little works except a shot.
    To avoid a trip to the doctor, we slather good old Clorox on the area several times a day. It burns like crazy and dries the area to parched, but the misery time is a lot shorter. Then we slather with an an Amish remedy I got when in Amish country a few years back; it has dried crushed jewelweed stirred into Vaseline petroleum jelly stored in a scalded baby food jar, and works pretty well. Showed it to a doctor once, and he said it probably worked about as well as anything, cause little was totally effective on it.

  • Reply
    Janet
    May 25, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    My son and I get poison ivy every year. I just got over a case of it on my hands, I have a tendency to pull weeds every time I go outside. I have poison ivy in my iris’s and blackberries. I had to get medicine for it one year, but I just try not to scratch it and it eventually goes away.

  • Reply
    georgie
    May 25, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    No poison oak or ivy experience here. The ravine by my childhood home had tons of nettles. Mom always would grab a horsetail weed, break the stem and put the juice over the nettle affected area. It took the sting away very quickly.

  • Reply
    Charlotte
    May 25, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    I’ve never had poison ivy rash although our woods are carpeted with the plant. But I respect it! Stay clear of it in other words since the way you’ve described the pain and itch would be something to avoid.

  • Reply
    Sandra
    May 25, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    i am allergic to all leaves of 3 and have had oak and poison ivy. my son almost died from it when he was 13 and the 4 year old next door was chasing him around beating him in the face and all over his body with a long branch he pulled from the fence which turned out to be poison ivy, the next morning his face was a mask, no eyes, no nose, not able to breathe, 10 days of daily shot of cordizone. now we are all really careful

  • Reply
    warren
    May 25, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    My boy gets poison ivy every year. He can just be near it and get it or so it seems. We are covered up with it at the house and the farm too. It’s tough junk to get rid of. He braves through it pretty well though. We use an OTC med called ivarest as well as calamine. No folk meds ever seemed to work for us…

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    May 25, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Tipper,
    Worst case of poison ivy I ever saw was in and around a friends eyes…They swelled shut and the parents were called to take her home from church camp..She was so allergic..she was always extremely careful at camp..The kicker…she went to the weiner roast…they were burning logs with old ivy grown on them and the smoking oils kept getting in her eyes..she thought it was funny (quote smoke follows beauty) never realizing that the smoke contained the oils..that was the doctors diagnosis…
    We always washed well if we thought we had gotten into ivy..If there was a breakout rash..Mom immediately put on Calamine lotion to dry it up and help keep us from scrating it…which will make it worse..we have used baths of oatmeal…There is a prescribed by the doctor oatmeal bath for purposes like this..as we used to have to bathe our son in it..for allergic reactions…to dry the areas up..
    I have been lucky but worry and keep my distance…but still sometimes grab a handful of weeds and up jumps the poison ivy devil…so I wash and bleach and hope it helps..
    Thanks Tipper

  • Reply
    Ken
    May 25, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Tipper,
    I sure feel sorry for all the folks that are affected so much
    with poison oak or ivy. I had lots
    of shuemac when I cleared my garden. Some friends said I’d be
    dead in a weak, but it didn’t even
    bother me. I’m thankful that I don’t have alergy problems either.
    My older brother and I had cleared
    a field, stacked lots of brush,
    and had several bonfires that night. By the next day, he was
    red as a pickled beet, plum scary
    looking and had to go to the Dr.
    The Doc said it was shuemac poisoning and he got shots for it.
    …Ken

  • Reply
    Mary Jane Plemons
    May 25, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Oh my, Tipper, I’ll probably break out from reading the words in print! I am extremely allergic to poison ivy/oak, and after I’ve had it about 10 days, I have a systemic reaction and break out everywhere I didn’t already have it…all under my clothes. It usually lasts about three weeks to a month. Nothing the doctors have ever given me helped. I have had it break out in my mouth and throat,(very scary),in private places that made going to the bathroom torture, and the worst time was in my eyes, in the tear ducts. One night, I thought I’d go wild with it in my eyes, and in desperation, I put cold, plain yogurt all over my face and neck and in my eyes, and it brought blessed relief for a while. It was awfully messy after it dried, but it helped so much until it was worth it. I spent most of my time for several days in a bathtub of cold water one summer when it was hot and we had no a/c. The perspiration made the rash worse. I’ve tried everything to relieve it, and one thing that helps me is aloe vera. I keep a leaf in the fridge when I have the rash and put the gel on to relieve the itching. I definitely do not have to touch the plant.I could go on and on, but anyone with poison ivy/oak has my deepest sympathy.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    May 25, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Tipper–The “if it is three, leave it be” advice is generally sound, but it has its limitations. For example, at first glance the leaves of beggar lice look quite similar to those of poison ivy.
    I would like to have a bit more science from Ed Myers before I accept his dismissive statement that the efficacy of jewel weed is BS. I don’t know for certain, one way or the other, when it comes to poision ivy, but I can’t agree with his statement many purported natural cures are in effect wishful thinking. For example, I am 100% certain that jewel weed has useful medicinal properties. It is a base which counteracts the acid of bee stings, stinging nettles, and the like. I like Cavender’s book and, perhaps more to the point, I put a considerable degree of faith in the folklore of medicine (and a whole bunch of other things passed down to us by hardy mountain ancestors). I have always felt that we ignore their wisdom, from things as varied as weather, planting signs, and medicine, to our detriment.
    Jim Casada
    http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com

  • Reply
    Gary
    May 25, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Oh, Tipper. How many times did I get poison ivy when I was a kid??? Too many to count. The last time I did, I actually found quick relief, but it was a bit of a fluke (probably unrepeatable). I was playing in a soccer tournament, and had to chase a ball over a fence into a patch of poison ivy, which I rapidly figured out when I came hopped back onto the field. Since I had to play, I wasn’t able to do much scratching! Fortunately, by the end of the game, I had sweated the reaction away–not a bit of itchiness after the game. So, if you get poison ivy, run like a madman for 90 minutes and that should do ya!!
    (sorry it’s been so long since I’ve written in, Tipper-I’ve been reading, just not writing-hope your Spring has been good!)

  • Reply
    Pinnaclecreek
    May 25, 2011 at 10:37 am

    I had bad case as a child, and the ole timey Doc said use clorox. It did not work very well, but later found it to be very effective for ringworm. I work a lot in vegetable and flower garden, and have found the most effective help is a good soapy bath as soon as I finish. If I feel I have been exposed to poison oak, poison ivy, or those terrible chiggers, I even use dish detergent on hands and arms. The dish detergent washes the oil from the plant off. Do not scratch! The worst summer I had one time was getting into yellow jackets, and before these healed got into chiggers. As a child an elderly neighbor bought my warts and they left.

  • Reply
    Sherie Rowe
    May 25, 2011 at 9:50 am

    I don’t know if it will work on Poison Ivy, but when my little one had chicken pox long ago the pharmacist said to skip the calamine and use milk of magnesia. Little Nick would come to me when itchy carrying the MOM and cotton balls asking me to “put milk on him.” I belive it will work well for the itching, after the dish soap bath!

  • Reply
    Chuckles
    May 25, 2011 at 9:44 am

    I’ve always had my daddy’s imunity to poison ivy, but got into a patch of it last year – took me a while to figure out what it was – although I have both poison ivy and poison oak on my property. Since then I take a “damp” bath with homemade (with lye) soap (I’m damp, the soap is dry). After drying completely, I take a regular bath or shower – has worked every time to prevent another outbreak.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    May 25, 2011 at 9:24 am

    We called it all poison oak, too. My nephew gets it so bad that I have seen blisters so big on his feet that they spread his toes apart.
    We had a tree down in one of the recent storms & it is covered in it. We can’t think of any way to get rid of it without getting in the poison oak.

  • Reply
    Joe Mode
    May 25, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Well, I’m not allergic to it. I have waded through what we call poison ivy while metal detecting. A friend with me got it bad though. I have pulled poison ivy up by the stem and not had any problems. However, if I am ever aware of the stuff being burned I stay away. Inhaling the stuff is really bad for you.
    I recall hearing about a kid who bought what he thought was weed or dope. It was poison ivy and it killed him.
    As for poison oak, I thought it climbed, or clumb, and is usually found in vine form. And then there’s poison sumac. Yeesh!

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    May 25, 2011 at 8:47 am

    The worst case I ever had was when I helped a friend break new ground for a garden near some woods behind his house. This was in early March, so nothing was leafing yet.
    He didn’t have a tiller, so I took mine over to his place. Before I even started the tiller, we pulled up a lot of honeysuckle, getting as many of the roots as we could. But still, when I went to tilling, I was running into some roots. They obviously weren’t the thin roots of honeysuckle, but I assumed they were roots shot out from some of the trees near the clearing.
    It was pretty warm that day, and I got to working without a shirt on, pulling up those roots and taking them to a pile in the woods.
    Along about the middle of the night, I woke up in intense itching and pain. My stomach – all the way down to the privates – was solid rash. That came from me rubbing my contaminated forearms against my stomach. Susan took me to the emergency room where they gave me pain killer shot and cortisone. It was a week before I could wear a belt.
    Two good things came out of that:
    1) I had a good excuse to wear overalls to work in a time and place (early 70’s) where the custom was to wear a coat and tie. I always hated wearing a tie. After that week, I decided to H – E – double L with conventions – I proved that I could do engineering work just fine in overalls. So I just quit wearing a tie except on days when there was a big meeting.
    2) One of the fellows on the line crew (I was workig with an electric utility) gave me a bottle of some stuff that really helped keep it from developing in subsequent exposures. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what it is since I’m in Bryson City and the bottle is in Knoxville. I’ll see if I can get Susan to locate it and give you the name. It’s probably been outlawed by do-gooders, though.
    Now, I not only look for the leaves (which I knew since early childhood) – when I get to pulling up roots, I look for the tell-tale hairy fibers – like those you see on poison ivy vines when they’re climbing up the side of trees.
    While I still get poison ivy, that one strong dose seemed to make me a little more tolerant of it.

  • Reply
    kat
    May 25, 2011 at 8:46 am

    Oh how i hate that awful stuff! Am so alergic to it that i’ve had to go to the Dr. cause of it. Don’t think i ever thought of which one it was, just knew it was poison and tried to stay far from it.

  • Reply
    Canned Quilter
    May 25, 2011 at 8:39 am

    When I was a kid when we came out of the woods mama would put bleach in our bathwater. Like you I never had poison ivy until a couple years ago when I actually got it off the seat of the 4 wheeler. Hubby had been in the woods in it and sat on the seat. When I sat on the seat it transfered to my skin.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    May 25, 2011 at 8:36 am

    I am one of the lucky ones, never any reaction when I was still living in Tennessee in spite of many exposures. I have been in south Florida for 33 years and have never even seen poison ivy or oak here. I was in East Tennessee last year at age 62 looking in the woods for an old grave when I saw that I was going to have to go thru a patch of poison ivy to get to the marker. I was concerned that my immunity might have gone away over the years, but my desire to find this gravestone overcame my concern.
    No reaction – great news.

  • Reply
    Juana
    May 25, 2011 at 8:33 am

    I thank God, that I have never had to deal with poison oak itch!! To read CLOROX on the list of remedies shows how desperate a person must be to get rid of it!! WOW!!
    Your stories are fabulous!

  • Reply
    Bradley
    May 25, 2011 at 8:26 am

    First let me say that I offer no medical proof but, in my area there is people that still believe in conjuring poison oak. Yes, they believe you can “talk it away”. Once years ago my brother had one of the most severe cases of poison oak I can ever remember seeing. There was this older lady in the neighborhood that was said to have the power to conjure poison oak. My Dad said that we should see if she could do it, he’s probably gonna die anyway. My Dad had a wicked sense of humor (he didn’t really mean it). We went over to her place and I remember seeing her start that MUMBO JUMBO with her mumbling something that I couldn’t hear. When we returned home, about fifteen minutes later, I remember my brother’s skin in the affected area began to ooze this clear liquid (probably plasma)and this lasted for about half an hour. He had recovered in about two days! As I said, I make no claims but, I saw that happen! Incidentally, my brother had this in winter.
    My daughter would get poison oak many times when she was little and Granny finally came up with this treatment and it worked quickly each time. She would make a warm paste of Epsom salts and pat it on the affected area and a couple of days and things were better (until the next time).
    If all else fails make a bee-line to the dermatologist!
    Bradley

  • Reply
    barbara gantt
    May 25, 2011 at 7:39 am

    My son says jewelweed is the best. Son n law is very allergic to it. He always ends up at the Dr. A lot of people here say go swiming in the pool, that all the clorine in the water helps dry it up. I dont get it but my husband usually has poison oak at least one time a year. People here call it poison ivy, doesnt matter whick it is. I grew up saying poison oak too. Barbara

  • Reply
    Ed Myers
    May 25, 2011 at 7:33 am

    Actually (don’t you always love to hate sentences that begin thus), it’s pretty easy to tell poison oak from Ivy. PO has lobed leaves. PI has only three pointed leaves, some with ridges, some without.
    The active ingredient in both is urushiol, an oil that irritates the skin of almost everyone at one time or another. It’s not unusual to be immune then become not through repeated exposure.
    Urushiol, by the way, is present in several plants, including a bush/tree in Japan, where the oil is collected and distilled for use in making the finest furniture lacquers.
    The best way to control is is 1) don’t touch the affected skin (scratching spreads the oil) and 2) immediately wash the area with dish soap. As an oil, it is immediately broken down by the soap.
    The other “cures” you mentioned are, to put it politely, BS. Jewel Weed has been tested repeatedly to no effect, other than, perhaps, wish fulfillment. The others, like many purported natural remedies, but not all, serve a similar purpose.
    The fingernail polish thing does work to some extent for chigger bites, as it smothers the critters.
    Truly, the smoke of these plants spreads the oil in the air and is quite toxic (just ask formerly ignorant campers). In fact, every part of the plant is toxic, so don’t even touch the vine.
    My blessed, highly susceptible Aunt once ate some on a dare and almost died. Lesson learned.

  • Reply
    Becky
    May 25, 2011 at 7:30 am

    We’ve always called it poison ivy, no matter which plant it came from. LOL
    My Dad swore by wild touch me not. The same plant in your picture. He said it’ll cure it overnight.
    I was always allergic to it, until I got the worse case I’d ever had while pregnant with my daughter. I haven’t had it since, but she is very allergic to it. Strange that it’s just the opposite of you and Granny.
    I don’t have any wild touch me not growing on the farm, but I sure wish I did. If I ever find some that I can dig up, I will transplant it on the farm.

  • Reply
    Vera Guthrie
    May 25, 2011 at 7:21 am

    Just a day or so ago my husband came to me and ask “is that poison oak in the flower garden”? I recited to myself “leaves of three let it be” as I looked at it. “Yep” that’s what it is. He gloved up and stared pulling I high tailed it back inside as I am very allergic to it.

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