“Leaves of three, let it be.”
For decades parents have taught their children the sing-song phrase, “Leaves of three, let it be” as a way of learning to spot the pretty – but toxic— poison ivy plant. Poison ivy contains urushiol, an oily resin that binds to skin on contact and may result in a hypersensitivity reaction characterized by itching, burning skin eruptions.
An ounce of prevention is the best plan, but when you think you might’ve had a brush with the poison ivy oil (from gardening gloves, a pet’s fur, or even the dead vines), here are
3 Simple Treatments You May Not Know About:
- First, wash the exposed area with cold water (hot water will open your pores, allowing the oil in). Follow this by washing the affected area in milk, which gets between the oil and skin. Dry off well and apply Topricin, which will help neutralize the effect of any remaining urushiol oil.
- Herbalists and Native Americans have used jewelweed as a natural remedy for neutralizing the oil that causes the poison ivy rash. Washing the affected area with soaps that contain jewelweed is very effective. Some of the companies that offer poison ivy treatment soaps containing jewelweed and other soothing natural ingredients, such as pine tar, are the Poison Ivy Soap Company and Burt’s Bees. There are other sources you may find by searching online.
- Take homeopathic Rhus Tox 30X tablets to help build immunity to poison ivy.
For a full article on Poison Ivy see our (Fall 2010) Natural Healing, Natural Wellness newsletter