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DIY Poison Ivy Remedy

Affiliate Disclosure | in Natural Remedies | by | with 42 Comments

DIY Herbal Poison Ivy Remedy

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!

Gathering Supplies

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.

herbal poison ivy remedy ingredients

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 Vera

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 leaf

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

how to make an herbal poison ivy remedy - part 1

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.

how to make an herbal poison ivy remedy - part 2

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.

herbal poison ivy remedy

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,, 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.

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42 Responses to DIY Poison Ivy Remedy

  1. Kelly Bisciotti says:

    Just this past weekend I had the wonderful chore of tearing out all the poison ivy around our yard (we don’t like to use chemical sprays). Along with covering up, I applied a layer of plantain puree to my arms, legs, face, and neck for prevention. Besides being a source of amusement for the neighbors (who IS that strange green woman??), it worked well as a barrier for any oil that may have gotten through my disposable coverings.

  2. Clara Snell says:

    My grandmother had a remedy for poison ivy also. She used nigthshade and can milk. She chopped up the nightshade and mixed it with can milk to make a paste and applied it to the skin. One time I got it so bad the doctor could not cure it. Dad took me to grandma’s and it was cured by the next morning.

    Clara Snell

    • Gudrun B says:

      Clara, please clarify – just noticed the pun, sorry :)
      what is can milk? and what night shade? (tomato? green pepper? leaves? flowers?)

      i love those folk remedies!!!!

    • Bobbie says:

      My father also taught me to rub nightshade on my poison ivy rash. We just took the leaf and rubbed it right on the rash, no milk involved though.

  3. Tiria says:

    Poison Ivy showing up in our house causes sheer panic. Our son is almost 18, has amazing health and no allergies to anything but poison ivy. The panic comes because when he gets it he has to be hospitalized. He almost died a few years ago when the rash became a secondary infection and spread to his lungs. His body swells 2-3 times it’s normal skinny size. It’s HORRIBLE!!! I’m going to try and find some plantain and make this for him. He just went to the Dr. for poison ivy two weeks ago, and already within 24 hours his arm was huge and throbbing. He is on medications which are definitely no long term solution, just a temporary solution to what ALWAYS turns very very serious for him. Doctors have been baffled and even brought in pediatric skin specialists. He can also get Poison Ivy from our dog’s coat. He doesn’t always aspirate it, if we move quick enough. Each time we think we eliminate that deadly vine, it shows up somewhere else. Like a friend’s house outdoor birthday party. I’m starting him on more ferments to beef up his immune system. This post is GREAT for our son. THANK YOU!!!!

    • Andrea says:

      You might want to look into homeopathy to treat any ivy that he has been exposed to. They can be used immediately and when they work, can relieve the reaction within a day or two. NAET treatments can work on his allergy to the ivy to lessen his reactions and possibly remove the allergy. Less expensive than meds and hospitalization!

    • Gay says:

      Tiria, talk to a homeopathic doctor. The homeopathic remedy Rhus Tox is extremely effective for poison ivy, even if the oils are inhaled. It works quickly as well. You can buy it at most health food stores. For normal reactions I think just picking it up at a health food store is fine but with as sever of a reaction that you son gets it would probably be best to consult a doctor trained in homeopathy. They could probably treat him constitutionally as well so his reactions in the future won’t be so sever.

  4. Sandra Nunes says:

    Very interesting. I appreciate the video. I’m wondering if the paste made from these would also be effective on shingles.

    • Meagan @ Growing Up Herbal says:

      Great question Sandra… I’m sure it would help to dry it up and help with the itching, but I’m not sure if it would make it go away any quicker since shingles is a viral infection and has to run it’s course. I’d think blood purifiers like dandelion root and milk thistle would help with that a bit too.

  5. Carolyn says:

    So timely! I was running a WAPF booth at the North Carolina Master Gardeners Conference earlier this month and accidentally stepped in a bed of fire ants. Twelve bites by the time I had high-stepped out of there! Since I’m allergic to bee stings, fire ant bites swell quickly and cause me a lot of grief. But the local county extension agent rushed out to the garden and came back with some plantain leaves. He proceeded to chew them, making a poultice, and handing me small amounts to spread on my feet and ankles. Needless to say, I was a little taken aback by the thought of his saliva being part of this remedy (ha!) but I dutifully complied … and experienced immediate relief. In fact, I hardly had any residual swelling over the subsequent days. I’m a big fan of plantain now! :-)

    Thanks for sharing, Heather and Meagan!

  6. Julie Harding says:

    My daughter and I must not be allergic because we had a very mild case last summer. We discovered that tea tree oil takes the itch out immediately. For my daughter, I applied the oil & covered it with a bandaid so that she wouldn’t absent-mindedly scratch & spread it further.

  7. Sam says:

    Do you have any advice on the quantities or ratios of plantain, jewelweed, and aloe to use?

    • Meagan @ Growing Up Herbal says:

      There aren’t really exact ratios. I start with 3-5 small plantain leaves or 2-3 big ones along with 2 small jewelweed plants or 1 large one. I break those up, put them in my blender, add in about 2 TBSP of aloe gel and blend. If it looks too runny, I add more herbs. If it’s too dry, I add a touch more aloe. Hope that helps you!

      • Sam says:

        Haha. My batch was a bit light on the aloe and quite heavy on the plantain relative to yours. In the absence of information I used an entire shirt breast pocket stuffed full of narrow-leaf plantain, 6-7 medium jewelweed plants, and 6-7 aloe blades ~1″ wide and 6″ long pre-chopped and thoroughly blended. That made a 1 cup batch. I used it as a wet poultice loosely tied on with gauze, changing it several times per day. It took the better part of a week, but it cleared up my poison ivy-infected popped lawn mowing blister. Was it necessary to refrigerate? As I have at least 1/2 a cup left, how long will it keep at room temperature, refrigerated, frozen? Is there something better for insect bites?

        • Meagan @ Growing Up Herbal says:

          Hi Sam! You definitely did make a potent batch! LOL! There’s nothing wrong with the way you did it. I just use that much aloe so it ends up as an herbal gel that you can run on and leave… that way you don’t have to hold the poultice on all the time. Either way is fine. Everyone just does what’s best for them at the time, and I’m glad that worked for you! That’s what matters.

          Anyway, if you want to save what you have left over, yes it needs to be refrigerated since being left out at room temp will cause bacteria or mold to grow in it. Refrigerated it should last about a month, but frozen is your best option although you should freeze it as soon as you make it. You can freeze it in ice cube trays and then get however many out that you need next time poison ivy shows up.

          As far as using something for bug bites, you can use this it works great. We use the Herbal Drawing Clay I make and sell in my Etsy shop here at our house since it tends to be less work, less mess, and it helps!

  8. Annette says:

    The video was super helpful!!

  9. Shannon says:

    Is it okay to use the narrow-leaf plantain? We have it all over our yard, but I don’t think we have broad-leaf. Also, where all does the jewel weed grow? I do not recognize it.
    Thanks so much! My hubby is often getting into poison ivy and this would be so helpful!

    • Sam says:

      I used Narrow-leaf plantain in my batch because that was what was available to me. Jewelweed grows in damp areas of partial sun or partial shade like the base of a hillside.

    • Meagan @ Growing Up Herbal says:

      Yes! Narrow leaf will work too, and like Sam said, Jewelweed grows in moist, shady spots. You can find it abundantly near creeks.

  10. Renee says:

    I just thought I’d add that, after you gave the other name of jewelweed (touch me not), I remembered that it often grows near poison ivy. I think it’s called touch me not because you most likely will touch poison ivy in order to get to it, if that makes sense. It’s like the bright orange flowers (beautiful) are a warning sign! To think that it also happens to be a part of the remedy of poison ivy is a great sign of God’s wisdom, I think.

    • Meagan @ Growing Up Herbal says:

      I’ve never thought of it’s name meaning that Renee, but that makes total sense. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Thea Harvey-Barratt says:

    Coconut oil also works very well for deadening itch, drying blisters, and nourishing the skin. I basically have poison ivy all summer long from my animals walking through it and then rubbing on me. I slather on the coconut oil and it’s gone in a couple of days.

  12. Alisha says:

    We so needed this remedy a week ago. We tried everything we knew to try with our little girl. We tried oatmeal bathes, baking soda, aloe, and calamine lotion. Nothing kept it from spreading or soothed her. We then had to take her to the physician because it spread to her eyes. They had to give her a steroid shot (which I despise) but her swelling was gone within two hours and she was not itching as bad. I am definitely going to try this if we have another encounter with poison ivy. Hopefully cleaning the fence row eliminated the source.

    Off topic……Does anyone have any idea what could be used to promote energy from having an underactive thyroid? Is there an herbal option to help with underactive thyroid? I have no energy by the time noon hits. Thanks!

    • Meagan @ Growing Up Herbal says:

      Oh bummer! Well hopefully you got rid of it, and if she does get into it again, you have something you can try out!

      As far as the thyroid goes… I’ve not studied it too much (since I mostly focus on children), but look into kelp and other sea vegetables. They’re high in iodine, and that’s supposed to help the thyroid.

  13. Carly says:

    Breast milk is awesome for fixing poison ivy/oak/sumac!

  14. Joanne says:

    I take oralivy i purchased off amazon a couple drops a day in water and haven’t had an infection since.

  15. Vivian says:

    I had a terrible case last year and tried EVERYTHING. Jewel weed, and tea tree oil did nothing. If I ever get it again I will try this!! I have scars everywhere from my first (and hopefully last) case of PI!

  16. Crystal says:

    When I was pregnant i got poison so bad my eyes were swollen and it covered most of my body. A friend took jewel weed and boiled it into a tea and as soon as I put it on the itching stopped and the redness died down. I had to reapply it a few times but it was amazing. She said to boil the leaves in a little water though I never knew what jewel weed was or where to find it. (The tincture she gave me was brown like tea though it didn’t really stain my skin that I remember). I will have to do some experimenting. Thanks for the information!

  17. patty says:

    To kill the poison ivy plant mix vinegar with salt put on plant and watch it die forever.

  18. How To Make An Herbal Poison Ivy Remedy | Natural DIY Ideas says:

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    […] ivy/poison oak/sumac (this remedy using plantain and jewelweed is […]

  20. Shannon says:

    I just recently made up a batch of poison ivy relief for my hubby, who is terribly allergic to it. We don’t have any jewelweed (or waterweed, as it’s called locally), but I do have a lot of plantain and spearmint. I took enough spearmint and plantain to make a about 1/14 cup when coarsely chopped up. I then melted some coconut oil on low and threw in the plantain and spearmint and simmered on super low for about 1/2 hour. I strained out the leaves and poured the oil into a couple of small containers about the size of 2 ice cubes. I put them in the fridge, where they solidified nicely…my hubby now takes them out and rubs them on his rash…it takes the itch away all day, and is clearing the rash up quickly…over 2 days, it’s almost gone.

  21. Bekah says:

    Can this be made into a salve like the plantain salve so I can have it on hand all the time?

    • Meagan @ Growing Up Herbal says:

      It can Bekah, but I’m not a fan of using salves on poison ivy as the wax creates a seal over the rash. I feel that it needs to breathe more to dry out. You can use coconut oil or lard though as they don’t need wax (for the most part) and will stay solid in a cool area. Plus coconut oil can help with itching! Hope that helps! Thanks for your comment!

  22. Michelle says:

    Great information! And I enjoyed the video.
    But the “plantain” leaf in the photos above doesn’t look like plantain. The leaf pictured has interconnected veins – plantago only has parallel veins. Might want to clarify.

    • Meagan @ Growing Up Herbal says:

      Thanks Michelle. It is plantain… it’s broad leaf plantain and the veins do run parallel down the leaf, but they connect at the bottom towards the stem. I think narrow leaf plantain has much more parallel veins as that leaf is longer. Maybe it’s more noticeable in a larger leaf as the one I used for the photo was smaller. If you Google “plantain leaf” and check out the images, you’ll see they’re similar. No matter, you’re right to question something that looks off to you. It’s important to know that you’re using the right plant! Thanks for your comment!

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