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Natural Home Remedies for Poison Ivy

Updated on February 7, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

What are the Symptoms of Poison Ivy

Most of us have experienced the burning and itching of a poison ivy rash.

Even if you have never been allergic to it before you can suddenly develop and allergy to this tenacious plant. The poisonous propertied of the plant come from a yellow, slightly volatile oil which is found in the resin ducts of the leaves, flowers, fruit, and even the bark of the poison ivy plant. If you are sensitive to this oil even just brushing up against the plant, or breathing in the smoke if someone burns the plant can result in a nasty rash that lasts and lasts. It can, in some cases, be life threatening.

Contact causes inflammation and swelling of the skin at the point of contact within just a few hours. Soon irritating blisters begin to form. Any part of the skin that rubs against clothing or utensils that have come in contact with the oil from the poison ivy can break out as well. The blisters break and exude a liquid that scabs or crusts over. During the whole time intense itching is experienced.

Depending on the severity of the allergy the rash may spread to the whole body.

Poison Ivy: Image
Poison Ivy: Image

Poison Ivy Identification

Leaves of three-don't touch me, the old saying goes.

The poison ivy plan varies in habit from vining and climbing types to erect bush forms. The plant is found in rich, acid soil woodlands but also thrives almost everywhere else; fields, wilderness places, your back yard.

The leaves alternate on the stem and are divided into three leaflets. Each leaflet is oval shaped and pointed on the end, tapering to the base. The surface is often glassy but not always.

Poison Oak

Home Remedies for Poison Ivy

There are many things that you can do to help prevent, or at least lesson, the allergic reaction.

Immediately after coming in contact with poison ivy wash with a laundry soap like Fels Naptha to get the oil off. Laundry soap is an old fashioned bar of soap, do not use laundry detergent.

If you have all ready gotten the rash try these home remedies:

  • Green bean leaves
  • Wood ash
  • Plantain juice or puree
  • Linseed oil
  • Jewel weed is one of the best natural remedies
  • High doses of vitamin C by mouth
  • Rhus Tox is a homeopathic remedy that works very well for some people
  • Tea tree oil
  • A paste of aloe vera gel and goldenseal root powder
  • Rub the cut end of rhubarb on the poison ivy
  • Blend 3 c honeysuckle leaves with 1 c water, strain and use topically
  • A past made of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water and rubbed on the rash
  • The inside of a banana peel rubbed on the rash...yes seriously.
  • If you are near the beach take a day and go swimming in the ocean.
  • Epsom salts bath
  • Rub with a cut lemon
  • Equal parts buttermilk, vinegar and salt. Rub onto the rash
  • Chamomile tea will sooth the itching
  • Oatmeal bath- Just add oatmeal to bath water, or for easy clean up add the dry oatmeal to a sock, tie closed, and hang it from the faucet so the water runs through it.

Essential Oils For Poison Ivy

Using essential oils is a great way to combat the poison ivy. Do ot use them with a massage oil, but only in a water base,whether in a bath, or spray.

Soothing Oatmeal Lavender Bath

  • 3 drops lavender essential oil
  • 1 drop geranium essential oil
  • 1 drop chamomile essential oil
  • 1 drop peppermint oil
  • 4 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup Epsom salts

Put ingredients in a muslin cloth and tie up, or in a sock and tie up. Allow to float in a warm bath, releasing the soothing ingredients.

If you have intense symptoms, or symptoms that seem to be unusual be sure to check with your health care provider. This is especially true if you are experiencing breathing difficulties.

Any of these remedies will also help with poison sumac, or poison oak.

Poison ivy just seems to be part of summer. These remedies will make it a manageable part.


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    • profile image

      starbug5052 6 years ago

      Well I have poison sumac all over my body so I been irritable and it is the itching that is driving me bazzark and having it on my hands. I am glad I came across your post, I am going to dry some of these. Thank you for the information.

    • profile image

      Garry Fuller 7 years ago

      Best poison ivy soap on the market. Made with fresh Jewelweed oil.

    • Carrie DeSha profile image

      Carrie DeSha 7 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Finally, some useful tips! I have been using calamine gel, aloe and honey, but still itching and starting to worry about scarring. There's a lot more info out there about preventing poison ivy than dealing with the reaction. I am excited to try some of these remedies. Thanks!

    • hot dorkage profile image

      hot dorkage 9 years ago from Oregon, USA

      Green Bean leaves? Well that's a new one! Damn I forgot to be careful and I got the oak. Probably off the dog.

    • profile image

      Lina 9 years ago

      Mom of four kids... this is really helpful, thanks!

    • donnaleemason profile image

      donnaleemason 9 years ago from North Dakota, USA

      Sounds painful. Thanks for the info. I will have to remember this is here just in case.


    • gspyda profile image

      gspyda 9 years ago

      oddly enough i was more allergic to poison ivy as a child than i am to it now.  it seems to stay contained when i get it.

      very informative though!