Jewelweed .. not bleach

I know that for folks reading this in many parts of the US, poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) isn’t something they are necessarily thinking about, as the leaves have fallen and the gardening work has trickled to a minimum. But in my part of the country (gulf coast Texas), the growing season is still going strong, so its on my mind. Also, don’t let Autumn and Winter lull you into a sense of security when it comes to poison ivy. The presence of urushiol (a chemical irritant present in the sap) is not limited to fresh ivy leaves. It is found in the dried leaves, and throughout the plant, even during the dormant season. It also sticks to clothes and pet fut, so a romp in the woods, or late season clean ups of the yard can end with a rash.

Jewelweed (Impatiens capensisis) is Mama Nature’s soothing answer to Poison Ivy’s vicious wrath. Chlorine bleach is NOT! I bring this up because apparently the “home remedy” of dousing one’s already ivy irritated skin with a toxic chemical and known dermal irritant is very common, and not just limited to experimentation by total dumbasses either. Even one of the smartest cookies I know was masochistic enough to do that to his poor skin (names have been removed to protect the goofy ;). Words to the wise .. never put salt in your eyes (or was it always put salt in your eyes? 😉 and never put chlorine bleach on your skin, especially irritated and/or broken skin {grinz}. (Yeah, I’m going to give him a bit of grief here and there about that one for the rest of this lifetime – tee hee)

Easy Wildflowers sells jewelweed transplants in springtime to grow in the garden.

The Wildman Steve Brill has a great site for information on wild foraging for jewelweed (and other plants).

Herbs Etc of New Mexico carries a great spray called Ivy Releaf. Do a Google search to find other resources for already made jewelweed soaps, salves and sprays.

It is really something worth having in the home if there is any chance of exposure to poison ivy, any time of the year.

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