Remedies for Poison Ivy and Poison Oak

Spring, summer and fall are the seasons for poison ivy, poison oak and other similar skin irritating plants. If you encounter such plants, here is a collection of home and natural remedies that have been used to stop the itching and clear up the irritation.

* Stop the itch of a poison ivy rash and prevent it from spreading with the following homemade paste:

Mix one tablespoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of peppermint essential oil (Mentha piperita) with 1 to 2 cup green clay, and add enough water to form a paste.

Apply the paste liberally to the rash and leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes.

Store leftover paste in a tightly sealed jar and reapply as needed.

The remedy soothes the itch by absorbing the irritating plant oils and drying the rash. It also works for poison oak.

* Hot water and a banana. Take as hot as shower as you can stand for as long as you can. It will feel good and help relieve the itching. Then take a banana peel and rub it on the infected area. The itch should be gone for eight to twelve hours.

* Watermelon. Take watermelon (the rind and the meat) and glide it over the rash. Let it dry naturally. Within a day, the condition should improve greatly.

* Baking soda and coffee. First put about a half a cup baking soda in a bowl and slowly add cool coffee to make a thick paste. Then apply the paste liberally to the affected area and allow to dry. The poison will flow out of the blisters like water.

* Turmeric and lime or lemon juice. Mix one tablespoon of turmeric spice with roughly equal parts of lime or lemon juice to form a thick paste. Carefully apply to the afflicted skin. This remedy stains, and stings ever so slightly, but works miraculously. For avoiding stains on clothes, furniture or carpet, use it in the bathtub, so the bright yellow stuff doesn't fall down and make a mess. Let it sit on your skin for fifteen minutes, then wipe off excess. Some stain will likely remain. By the next day you will be astonished at how it the ivy has dried up and nearly vanished.

* Vick's Vapor Rub. Clean the infected areas first and then rub Vick's on the areas twice a day to rid infection. Slightly burns at first. Dries up the infection in one to three days.

* Lead fishing sinker. An old country recipe sworn to by many. To prevent getting infected by poison ivy, beat a lead fishing sinker flat. Take a nail and punch a hole in the flat sinker, then put a string through it and wear it around your neck. One person who is very allergic to poison ivy reported that he had never been infected in over 30 years when wearing the sinker. Author's note: due to concerns about lead, it is probably advisable to give the sinker a good coating of epoxy enamel, although it is unknown whether coating the sinker might have an effect on this remedy.

* Poke salad root. Boil the root of a poke salad plant until it turns into a paste form. It will have a strong odor. Then, once it has cooled enough not to scald, rub it on the infected area until you can feel it "burn or sting". It should neutralize the poison ivy overnight.

* Dishwashing liquid. Rub dishwashing liquid onto skin area and within 15 to 20 minutes the itch should disappear. Do not wash off until the next morning and then reapply. Within a couple of days the skin area should clear. This is also good for mosquito bites.

* Burdock roots. Make a strong tea with burdock roots and apply to the skin. Let it dry and re-apply as often as needed. It relieves the itching immediately.

* Hemorrhoid ointment or liquid Blistex. Smear it on the areas affected to relieve itching and clear up within 24 hours or so.

* Potato. Blend a potato in blender until it becomes a rough pasty blob. Put it on some plastic wrap and wrap it around affected area. Plastic wrap works better than towels. If you are treating your face poke two holes for nostrils so you can breathe. Leave it on for an hour or so, and the next day the bubbles should be gone and the skin should turn yellowish and start flaking off. It will probably still itch but should itch much less, and the itching should soon go away. Rub the affected areas to remove excess, but do not rub too hard or pick at the affected areas. Use vitamin E or lotion to help the new skin look and feel better.

* Peachtree leaves. Get some leaves from a peach tree, boil them and then let the water cool. Take a cotton ball and apply the liquid to the affected areas. Works almost overnight and should be almost completely clear within two-three days.

* Oatmeal. Run a warm bath and fill an old sock with oatmeal. While soaking in the tub, take the sock of oatmeal and gently rub it all over the affected areas.

* Clear fingernail polish. Can be used to coat the affected areas to prevent spreading and lessen itching.

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