Poison Ivy Natural Remedies

Post by Contributing Writer, Holly

Most people have gotten into poison ivy at least once, and suffered the consequences. However, some have been blessed with a natural defense against poison ivy’s urushiol oil. They seem to experience no allergic reaction.

My grandpa is such a person. As a young boy, … I shudder to even say this … he ate poison ivy. I don’t know, or remember, why. Maybe it involved a group of little boys trying to outdo each other in double-dares. Who knows, but he learned he’s not allergic to poison ivy. (Do NOT eat poison ivy. Doing so is EXTREMELY dangerous.)

For those not like my grandpa, the constant itchy and burning sensation can be so intense they’ll go to extreme measures to find relief. I read how one person broke open their blisters, and then poured bleach on them. Someone I know poured gasoline on his poison ivy rash.

In this post, we’re going to stick to natural remedies. ;)

1. Hot, Hot Water


Some sources claim hot water will intensify the itchiness of the rash. Others claim quite the opposite, stating that the hot water gives great and long-lasting (a couple hours) relief.

My mom read an article how hot water would help with poison ivy rashes. As a result, last summer, my dad used hot water on his poison ivy rash. The hot water was extremely effective, but for a longer-lasting effect he also used an over-the-counter spray. The combination provided 4 – 6 hours of relief. I’ve since come  across numerous sites where people claim the same great relief from VERY hot water. (Use hot water AFTER you’ve cleaned the urushiol oil off.)

2. Oatmeal Paste


Mix a little dry oatmeal with just enough water to create a pasty consistency. Apply the oatmeal paste to the rash, and allow it to dry.

3. Aloe Vera


Aloe vera provides a soothing and cooling sensation, and helps prevent or fight off skin infection. Just break off the end of one of the stems, and apply the inner gel to the rash.

4. Baking Soda Paste


Mix a little baking soda and water together until you get a pasty consistency. Apply to the rash, and let it dry.

5. Acupuncture


Okay, this is probably not a true acupuncture treatment, but that’s the thought that comes to mind.

Something my mom, someone HIGHLY allergic to poison ivy, has done is apply pressure to the itchy skin. I tried it one time I had poison ivy, and it worked!!

It involves taking the end of a sterile sewing needle and pricking the skin. This gives your skin the sensation of being scratched without actually scratching it. I tried to prick the surrounding skin without actually pricking the rash. The nerves of the skin with the rash responded to the nearby pricks.

Sterilize the needle with either fire from a match or soak the needle in rubbing alchohol. Alchohol is flamable, so don’t get a flame near alcohol. ;)

My grandma used to tell my mom not to use any other type of metal (e.g., thumbtack, safety pin, etc.) because it might infect the skin. My mom’s guess is that maybe sewing needles are made with fewer impurities. She’s not sure if there’s any truth to it. You might do a little research before using something other than a sewing needle.

6. Jewelweed

I recently learned about a plant called jewelweed. Apparently, the stem juice from fresh picked jewelweed works wonderfully on poison ivy rashes. Come spring, I’ll be on a mission to find this among the plethora of poison ivy vines growing in our woods.

A little side note: If the fluid in the blisters gets on other areas of your skin, the rash will not spread to those areas.

Michele’s Note: I haven’t tried it for this use, but I’m thinking my Herbal Bee Sting Remedy might be helpful in this rash, too!

There are so many other natural remedies out there. Herbs and essential oils are among them. Hopefully your skin will respond to a couple of these treatments. Think of them as your first aid kit for urushiol oil encounters.

Have you tried any of these? Have you found something else helpful?

Holly is a wife to her loving husband, John, and a “mother” of 3 canine “children.” She loves sharing her faith, gardening, and fascination and appreciation of animals (birds, bats, butterflies, and the cute furry ones too) over at Your Gardening Friend.

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17 comments to Poison Ivy Natural Remedies

  • Julie Harding

    This summer my daughter and I had a mild case of poison ivy & putting tea tree oil on the rash helped immensely.

    [Reply]

  • Kathleen K

    I’ll second the Jewel Weed! Last summer our family was visiting grandparents in southern Ohio. While spending the day at a state park, Dad and three sons went hiking in the woods. They came back a short time later with a panicked expression on our oldest son’s face–he’s highly allergic to poison ivy (Rx cortisone is usually needed) and he had walked right through a patch. We had heard that rubbing alcohol helped, so he rubbed alcohol based sanitizer on his legs while I (Mom) and middle son headed back into the woods. Once we got to the prolific poison ivy patch, I stopped and stood still. Yes, growing nearby was an equally prolific patch of jewel weed. I harvested two very large handfuls and headed back. We broke open the stems and rubbed it all over his legs and packed the extra in the cooler to take home. That evening after his shower, we put more jewel weed on his legs, and again the next morning.

    Thankfully, not one blister showed up.

    [Reply]

    Tess Reply:

    @Kathleen K, Wise & wonderful woodsman skills, Mom!!! :)

    [Reply]

    Holly Reply:

    That’s wonderful! I almost want to get poison ivy so I can try out jewelweed. :)

    Glad to hear your son didn’t break out with a horrible case of poison ivy.

    [Reply]

  • Tess

    Jewelweed generally grows near poison ivy… it would be beneficial to become familiar with the plant!!! Aloe, oatmeal (anti-itch bath)… and acute awareness of what poison ivy looks like & avoiding it!! :)

    [Reply]

    Holly Reply:

    Yeah, that’s what I read, too (as long as the poison ivy is growing in the shade/woods). We have poison ivy EVERYWHERE so I need to find this jewelweed on our property.

    [Reply]

  • I haven’t tried it yet, but have heard that rhubarb is also great to use on PI…just rub the juice on the rash!

    [Reply]

    Holly Reply:

    Rhubarb … interesting. Thanks for sharing the tip!

    [Reply]

  • Debra E

    I used doTERRA brand Lavender essential oil for my daughter, applying it every couple hours as I would remember. I didn’t see her scratch it either, which is very hard for a 4 year old! Good to know about other helps though in case I don’t have that on hand next time!

    [Reply]

    Holly Reply:

    Like you said, it must work if a 4-year old doesn’t itch the rash.

    I haven’t tried essential oils (yet), but have heard great things about them.

    [Reply]

  • I wash with baking soda to prevent if I know I’ve been in contact. I treat with baking soda paste if I develop a rash or any itching. Clears it right up. Works faster than jewel weed tinctures, oatmeal and calamine lotion. Baking soda works for bites too.

    [Reply]

  • Monica

    We used lavender essential oil when my daughter got it by her eyes. A friend said to use a hair dryer and get the rash as hot as you can tolerate it. Another said hot showers.

    [Reply]

  • [...] My husband usually gets poison ivy every year so you can bet I will be printing out this list of natural poison ivy remedies from Frugal Granola. [...]

  • Jeanette

    Is jewelweed what we call the trumpet vies?

    [Reply]

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