Poison ivy rash occurs when the plant toxin, urushiol (one of the deadliest natural poisons on the planet) comes into contact with human skin. It is a condition characterized by swelling, blisters, pain and an amazing amount of itching.
Besides intense itching and pain, the effects of rubbing up against this poisonous plant may also manifest as red bumps, intense sensations of burning and irritation, as well as fever. The appearance of the symptoms can be between anywhere from a few hours to seven or ten days after the original contact with the plant.
Poison ivy rash can then spread rapidly during the first three days, especially when you scratch the affected area. And while poison ivy is usually a mild condition, it can cause great suffering if left untreated.
Luckily, just as nature has cursed us with this naughty leaf, nature has also provided many natural remedies for poison ivy. The following article will outline a few of my favorite natural remedies for poison ivy.
1. Baking Soda Baths & Pastes
Found in most kitchens, common baking soda is a great natural remedy for the itchiness associated with a poison ivy rash. To help relieve itching, place 1/2 a cup of baking soda in a bath tub filled with warm water. You can also mix 3 teaspoons of baking soda with one teaspoon of water and mix until it forms a paste. Apply this paste to the infected area to relieve itching and irritation that’s associated with a poison ivy rash.
2. Oatmeal Paste
Cook a small amount of oatmeal and apply it directly to the skin as a paste. Make sure to cook it very thick so that the paste will stick to the skin. Some sources recommend putting the oatmeal on the skin while it is very warm, as the heat from the oatmeal will eventually cool, leaving the skin dry and relieved. Make sure not to apply the oatmeal when it is too hot, as this can easily burn the skin. You may also try mixing in a teaspoon of baking soda, for an extra itch-relieving effect.
3. Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
Apply a teaspoon of organic apple cider vinegar directly to the infected skin. Apple Cider Vinegar has a toxin-pulling action that helps suck the poison out of the pores. You can also create a warm vinegar compress using a thin cotton towel. Reapply to the skin as needed.
4. Aloe Vera Gel
An ancient curative remedy for the skin, aloe vera can be used directly on the infected area. You can buy a high-quality organic version at most health-food stores, or even better, buy a plant and use the gel from inner flesh of the leaves. External use of organic aloe vera juice may also help, but is not as effective as the gel.
5. Organic Goldenseal
Mix a small amount of powdered goldenseal root with a small amount of hot water. Rub this paste on the affected skin to help reduce the chances of infection. For quickest results, try drinking goldenseal tea or taking a goldenseal supplement. This remedy can also help with poison oak.
6. Himalayan Crystal Salt
Remember, poison ivy is a condition that causes the skin to become wet and red. Salt is an excellent natural remedy, as it is drying for the skin, and will pull both the excess water and the poison from the body. Make a paste using purified water and Himalayan Salt. You can also take a warm salt bath. I’d recommend putting a cup of Himalayan Crystal Salt into the bath tub and soak in it for at least 20 minutes.
7. Organic Witch Hazel
Dabbing a small amount of witch hazel tonic on the infected area offers both cleansing and itch-relief. Witch hazel can be found at most drugstores.
8. Banana Peel
It may sound strange, but many old-wives tales swear by the power of a banana peal for poison ivy. Simply rub the inside of a banana peel on the affected area. This is possibly related to the cooling effect the banana peel has on the rash.
9. Organic Cucumber
This green veggie is very cooling. Making a cucumber paste and applying it to the skin helps bring soothing relief to heated itching. For easy itch relief, slice a piece of a cucumber off and let it dry on the affected area.
10. Watermelon Rind
Similar to the cooling cucumber, watermelon is also cold on the skin and can help provide itch relief for the poison ivy rash.
- Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM