Hey y’all! I am so excited to share this guest post from Meagan of Growing Up Herbal. After watching her video tutorial on it took all of three minutes to find plantain growing next to the driveway. A master herbalist once told me that if you can only recognize **one** plant in the wild it should be plantain so I’m pretty excited. However, I’m thinking it’s probably a good idea to learn to identify poison ivy, too 🙂
Thank you for sharing this time-tested remedy, Meagan!
Summer is all about . . .
Having fun outdoors, and with adventuresome kids (and husbands) it can keep you as mom quite busy… especially when itchy rashes like poison ivy are a part of it.
Where I live, poison ivy is just a part of growing up. Every kid gets it, usually more than once, and it’s no fun for the kid or for their mama!
So if you, your husband, your kid, or a friend winds up with poison ivy this summer, what are you going to do? You’re going to put on you super-smart, natural mama thinking cap and go make a DIY herbal poison ivy remedy that’s sure to impress everyone… oh yeah, and help calm that poison ivy down too!
Today I’m gonna show you how!
If you’re familiar with using herbs, then you’ve probably heard the term “wildcrafting.” If not, let me explain.
Wildcrafting is when you go out and gather fresh herbs yourself. It’s pretty simple. You just have to know what herbs you need, where to find them, and how to gather and use them.
Today, I’m going to introduce you to 3 different herbs that you’ll need to have on hand for this herbal poison ivy remedy, and I’ll explain all of the above.
For this easy poison ivy remedy, you’ll need a bunch of plantain, a bunch of jewelweed, and some aloe vera. 3 things. That’s it.
Aloe is a great plant! Not only is it easy to grow (it’s seriously the only plant I’ve never killed) because it needs very little water, but it can be used for so many things!
When it comes to poison ivy rashes, aloe is a must. All you need to do is cut off a fat piece, slice it down the center, grab a spoon and scrap the gel out of it. You’re good to go!
If you don’t happen to have an aloe plant sitting on your kitchen counter, no worries, you can buy organic aloe vera gel that will do the trick. Be sure to get organic though! Aloe is a catalyst meaning that it helps other things to work better and faster. I think of it like this. Aloe absorbs into the skin really well, and it will take other chemical properties into the skin with it. If you have aloe gel that isn’t organic, chances are your taking in chemicals or pesticides with it.
Plantain is an herb that literally grows everywhere… except maybe in very cold regions. It’s one of the top 25 most commonly used herbs, and it’s great for itchy rashes like poison ivy… among other things.
Plantain comes in two varieties… broad leaf (as seen in the photo) and narrow leaf. They both work the same, they just look slightly different. Identifying plantain is fairly easy. Not only are the leaves shaped like ovals and grouped together in groups of 8-15, but they have 6-7 large veins that run vertically up the back of the leaf and very stringy-like roots that come out of the ends of the leaves. They’re bright green, and as you get closer to the base of the plant where it meets the ground, it turns a deep reddish-purple. In the fall, they produce long, skinny shoots that are covered in seeds.
The big advantage of using plantain, especially for poison ivy, is that it’s very drying and it helps to reduce the inflammation caused by poison ivy. These properties will help sooth the skin, reduce the rash, and dry the weeping up quickly. Plus… because it’s mixed with our catalyst, aloe, the properties of plantain will be able to get to work much faster!
Jewelweed is a beautiful, yet mysterious plant. It’s part of the impatient family, and it grows anywhere from 1-5 feet tall. It grows in moist, shady areas, and typically in pairs. It’s a very delicate plant, with thin leaves that look silver under water, a juicy stem, and shallow roots. In late summer, bright orange flowers appear and even later, each plant is covered in tiny seed pods that pop open, throwing their seeds everywhere when touched, which gives it it’s nickname – touch-me-nots. You can find it growing rampantly along creek banks and moist hillsides.
The mysterious thing about jewelweed is that it’s well-known for it’s use with itchy rashes such as poison ivy and stinging nettle reactions, but no one really knows how it works. The magic is in the juice of the jewelweed plant, and it’s speculated that it has a cortisone-like effect that helps relieve the inflammation that goes along with itchy rashes.
Really, You Can Do This In Your Own Backyard!
If you’re still not confident that you can find these two herbs outside on your own, watch this video where I’ll take you for a walk in my own backyard and show you exactly where each of these herbs grow and how to identify them.
Now that you’ve seen these two herbs in the wild, it’s time to put them to use and make a little something to help relieve those irritating summer poison ivy rashes.
How To Make Your Poison Ivy Remedy
First things first. After you’ve gathered your herbs, you’ll need to wash them off to remove any dirt, bug poo, or… you know… anything a dog may have left behind before you got there. 😉
Next up, trim off any brown spots, rotten pieces, or roots.
Finally, chop all the herbs up and put them in something you can blend them together in. You can use a mortar and pestle if you only need to make a small amount, but you can use a blender or food processor if you need to make a lot.
Now you’re ready to blend everything together. It doesn’t take much to mash it all up. What you’re looking for is to press the juices out of the plants. As you blend the herbs together, you’ll need to add a small amount of aloe juice to your mix to liquify it a bit more. If you’re using a blender or food processor, all you need are some short, quick bursts to get the job done.
Once it’s finished, you can start using it. Spread a thin layer of your green juice over any areas of poison ivy and allow it to dry. As more as need, and store your leftovers in an air-tight container (half-pint canning jars work perfectly) in the refrigerator. It will keep for a week before you need to make more.
Here’s to you and helping your kiddos get over nasty poison ivy rashes quickly and naturally?
Have you found a natural remedy that works great on poison ivy rashes? If so, what was it?
Meagan Visser is the owner of Growing Up Herbal on Etsy where she offers natural, herbal skin care products for children. She also teaches parents how to take charge of their children’s health naturally on her blog, GrowingUpHerbal.com, and she’s enjoys living a simple and healthy life with her husband and 3 little boys in the southern Appalachian Mountains of East Tennessee. Connect with her on her Blog, Facebook, and Pinterest.