A Natural Poison Ivy Remedy

Having a simple poison ivy or poison oak remedy on hand before you come into contact with either of these plants is essential: being prepared allows you to care for your body more quickly after coming into contact with poison ivy or poison oak instead of having to run to the grocery store after a poison ivy rash has already started.

There are many poison ivy and poison oak remedies. The purpose of this poison ivy remedy page is to tell you the ONE herb you really should know when it comes to poison oak or poison ivy natural remedies. I will also follow it up with a few extra simple poison ivy rash remedy ideas.

My History of Poison Ivy Exposures

I spent my childhood covered with poison ivy! I may now live in a part of the country where there is no poison ivy, but when I was a kid I lived in New Jersey where the poison ivy plant is abundant. I don’t think I remember a single summer where my arms and legs weren’t covered with poison ivy. Once I had such inflamed skin from a poison ivy rash that my entire face puffed up, and I was out of school for two weeks. It was horrible! I wish I had a good poison ivy treatment then.

When I started working for Wilderness Awareness School in 1991, I finally learned the an effective remedy for poison ivy.

Well, actually, there are TWO remedies for poison ivy and poison oak.

The Number #1 Remedy for a Poison Ivy Rash

Know what poison ivy and poison oak lookalike in all their forms. Did you know that poison ivy can look like a big hairy vine growing up a tree, a bush, leaves in a tree, or a small plant in a field?

Poison ivy is the herbal trickster. To stop the spread of poison ivy, get to know it the poison ivy plant. Awareness is your ULTIMATE poison ivy remedy.

A closeup photograph of jewelweed in bloom.
Jewelweed is a common plant that can help support the body after coming into contact with poison ivy.

The Other Natural Poison Ivy Remedy is an Herb: Jewelweed

If you have come into contact with poison ivy or poison oak, the first thing to do is wash the area with cold soap and water. Once you’ve done this, now you can call on jewelweed.

Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) is a plant that grows in wetter conditions, such as near a stream.

Pick a bunch, crush it, and rub it on exposed parts of your body that might come in contact or have already come in contact with poison ivy. It is a juicy plant. It is more effective before the urushiol oils (the poison ivy oils) set into your skin that cause the skin rash.

Knowledge of jewelweed coupled with awareness is the true poison ivy remedy.

Preparing for Poison Ivy Season: Jewelweed Ideas

  • Collect a bunch of jewelweed and make a tea. That is, bring a pot of water to a boil (4 cups or so), put the jewelweed in (chop a large handful), and let it sit for 20 minutes. Then strain it out.
  • You can bathe in this tea, just treat the affected area, or freeze it into ice cubes.
  • You can apply the ice to exposed areas or areas that are already suffering from the rash.

Want to Learn More About Jewelweed From Beloved Herbalist Rosemary Gladstar?

Jewelweed is so much more than just “that remedy for poison ivy.” Jewelweed is a complex herb with many healing gifts. If you want to learn more about jewelweed, check out Rosemary Gladstar’s garden tour with jewelweed on HerbMentor.

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A closeup photograph of a single jewelweed flower.
There are several ways to apply jewelweed as a home remedy for poison ivy.

“The Results of a Clinical Study, in which a 1:4 jewelweed preparation was compared for its effectiveness with other standard poison ivy dermatitis treatments was published in 1958 (Annals of Allerty 1958;16:526-527). Of 115 patients treated with jewelweed, 108 responded ‘most dramatically to the topical application of this medication and were entirely relieved of their symptoms within 2 or 3 days after the institution of treatment.’ It was concluded that jewelweed is an excellent substitute for ACTH and the corticosteroids in the treatment of poison ivy dermatitis. The active principle in the plant responsible for this activity remains unidentified.”
– Varro Tyler, PhD, Herbs of Choice

More DIY Poison Ivy Remedies to Help with Skin Irritation

  • Using baking soda: Apply the paste of baking soda and water to the affected area liberally. This stops the itching as well as calamine lotion.
  • Using buttermilk, salt,  and vinegar: Mix equal parts of buttermilk, salt and vinegar. Rub on affected area. Use it AFTER the rash from poison ivy has appeared. It helps stop itching and soothes irritated skin. This poison ivy remedy works well.
  • A green tomato? Squeeze the juice of a green tomato. After you come in contact with the poison ivy plant, wash with cold water and strong soap immediately, and then apply the tomato juice.
Here are some frequently asked questions about poison ivy…
How Do You Get Rid of Poison Ivy Overnight?

Unfortunately, there’s no miracle cure for poison ivy and it can take several weeks for the rash to subside. However, there are some common home remedies that can support the healing process and reduce itching and irritation. One such remedy is jewelweed, which I’ve talked about above.

What is a Good Home Remedy for Poison Ivy?

Jewelweed is a great home remedy for poison ivy because it’s very soothing for the skin. Plus, it’s easily accessible as it can be found growing in many areas of North America. Other helpful home remedies include topical applications of baking soda, buttermilk, and green tomato juice, which I’ve detailed above.

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