Remedies abound for poison ivy rash – The Dallas Morning News

I sometimes give myself a case of poison ivy rash — by being careless around it when I know it’s there. Last year, I conducted some quite unscientific research with my listeners and readers asking for their favorite solutions to calm down poison ivy rash.

Here’s a review of the most common suggestions from that huge volume of responses.

Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis juice or soap made from it), Rhus Radicans 30C, Rescue Remedy Cream, Tecnu (contains petroleum-based ingredients), cortisone shot (I’ll pass on that), Burt’s Bees Poison Ivy soap, bentonite clay mixed with coconut oil, baking soda, plain soap and water, Fels Naptha soap, a prescription ointment called Halobetasol.

Also, alcohol, oatmeal paste, oatmeal bath such as Aveeno, heat from a hair dryer, Rhus Tox, Ivy Barrier (a lot of natural ingredients) and Gojo hand cleaner.

Coconut oil by itself, Ivy Guard, homemade lye soap, vinegar, salt, baking soda, Epsom salts, lavender oil, a warm bath with Dr. Bronner’s tea tree soap, husk of a walnut (will leave a brown stain on the skin), bleach, hydrogen peroxide and Benadryl.

Poison ivy takes on a reddish hue in the fall.(Howard Garrett / Special Contributor)

There’s more. Zanfel (mentioned often), vodka, propolis spray from Honey Gardens, comfrey salve, raw comfrey juice, New-Skin Liquid Bandage, goat’s milk soap, tea tree oil and coconut oil salve.

Several reported soaking in Epsom salt baths. Acupuncture relieved some. Also reported was Dawn dish soap, clear calamine lotion, hot water and plantain leaf — chewed up to mush, then applied to the rash. Also plantain mixed with vodka.

The product Ivy-Dry was mentioned with a warning of, “Don’t use too much, or you will burn your skin.” Maalox taken internally and applied topically was also mentioned. Personally, I have had good luck applying apple cider vinegar and comfrey juice to the rash just as it starts to break out.

The main point here is that you shouldn’t be foolish, as I have been at times, working around poison ivy (or poison oak) without protective clothing. But, if you’ve definitely been exposed or have a rash outbreak, immediately shower with one of the soaps mentioned above. Jewelweed was the most recommended as the best rash remedy.

Learn to identify the bad plant. It looks similar to the harmless Virginia creeper, but it has three leaflets instead of five. The best solution is to dig the vines out. Wear plenty of protective clothing, or hire a contractor to do it for you.

Neither the toxic chemicals nor the organic herbicides will kill the big woody plants, but the organic herbicides such as strong vinegar, fatty acid or essential oil sprays will kill the tender leaves trying to re-grow.

Some important warnings: Never chop big poison ivy vines, and never burn any parts of the plants. Splattered sap will get you, and smoke from burning can cause serious internal damage.

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