Ahhhh, summer. Warm weather. Long days. Poison ivy.
While you can get poison ivy (or oak, or sumac) any time of year, summertime in South County is when you're more apt to get it. Whether you're a kid in the woods at camp or a mom or dad doing some landscaping out in the yard, chances are higher that you'll catch a case of this itchy rash during the dog days of summer. You can even get poison ivy when you've previously not been sensitive to the plant before--this is just what happened to me. In all my time as a southern RI children's photographer, never once have I caught it at outdoor shoots, but one day of landscaping and I'm covered in it! And once you get it, you will do anything to make it stop.
Though my recent bout of poison ivy did earn me a course of steroids, I ended up getting the most relief from a few natural remedies shared with me by some really, really awesome friends. If you or your kids have a case of the itchies or could possibly get poison ivy at any time, read on to find out how to make it stop!
1. THE SPRAY
First, there is this locally-made poison ivy itch relief spray. It is made locally (with love!) in South Kingstown with local ingredients. I received the small spray bottle from a dear friend and immediately fell in love (and stopped being itchy!) My poison ivy also started visibly improving. I went through it fast but was able to get a large bottle. (If you'd like info on where you can get this magical spray, please email me!) This spray is truly a godsend and is fantastic if you have littles who won't stop scratching...or if you're like me and won't stop scratching. I'm not kidding when I say I would do commercials for it. It's that good.
Jewelweed is the main ingredient in the spray above. It is a plant that has long been known to provide relief from poison ivy. Another friend mentioned that she used juiced jewelweed for her daughter's severe poison ivy in the past. Well, I knew where there was some jewelweed.
I went for a walk with my scissors and my bag and went to where I know there to be a pretty large patch of jewelweed. My trip was to the South County Bike Path where I know there's a big supply of it, but it grows in lots of places. It's easily recognizable by its small yellow-orange flowers.
Success!!! Bag is filled!
Once at home, I got to work. I don't have a juicer, so I needed another approach. Some internet reading let me know that I could boil the leaves and stems and make a sort of "tea". I put some water in a pot, chopped up my plants so they fit in, and then brought to a boil. Then I turned the heat off and let the concoction steep for about 30 minutes.
Once the steeping was finished, I poured the liquid through a strainer into a bowl. After that, you can do several things with the liquid. I made a paste with baking soda to apply to the poison ivy. I also used it to help wash off after doing further yard work; jewelweed will help to get rid of the oil that causes poison ivy especially if used not long after contact. I'm not taking any more chances!
Poison ivy is not fun stuff, but the two above remedies are a huge help. Do you have any other remedies that have helped your family? Let me know in the comments!