tea time

A conversation between the farmwives…IMG_2443Cher says… Well, the itchy scratchy season is upon us once more. Ticks, mosquitoes, and my bane, poison ivy. I’ve already had one round this spring which I got after clearing some brush and brambles from behind our greenhouse. This was before the leaves had even emerged, so I’m pretty sensitive to the stuff! Over the years I’ve tried countless remedies, some with more success than others. (Avoidance being the best!) I’m wondering what tricks you ladies have up your sleeves for dealing with outbreaks of poison ivy in your households?

robin replies

well, i am blessed with non allergic babes, can you imagine a better gift than that?? the main victim around here is dad, he is highly allergic and constantly exposed. so, let’s focus a bit on him. he is basically a long pant long shirt man limiting exposure as best he can. next is always washing with soap and water immediately after getting near the wretched vine. other than that, there is a lot of suffering and eye rolling at all of the  remedies: have you met folks that eat the leaves? that just scares me! but they claim it works. we haven’t ever used the many remedies offered out there, although grandma uses those with mixed results, sometimes  it seems you should just act and that makes you feel like progress is being made towards healing.

Coree says…

What’s that old song?  “Mares eat oats and goats eat oats and little lambs eat ivy.”  Maybe we can graze our ivy cares away.

Prevention is the best cure, for sure.  Lots of long sleeves and pants around here.  We’ve found that just changing clothes and washing with soap and water does a lot to head off the impact of an exposure.

But, when it’s itching, that’s a different story.  We’ve got a bottle of some of that chemically stuff, but I am loathe to use it.  One pretty good remedy we’ve used is jewelweed soap.  A local friend used to make it.  She has moved away now, so it may be a skill one of us should cultivate.  We make a thick lather of the soap, rub it on the itchy spot, then leave it there, not rinsing it off until it bothers us to be soapy.  That seems to help. Fresh jewelweed juice is good – IF you can find it right at the time of contact.  Aloe is nice too.

In the bigger picture, it’s been our experience that having a well-functioning liver helps with skin irritations in general.  Dandelion and Yellow Dock are two common herbal liver tonics that are easy to come by here.  A seasonal tincture may help your body fend off the itchies from the inside.

3 thoughts on “tea time

  1. Jewelweed soap is so easy to make. I just buy a cheap, unscented, pure Castile soap, usually you can get some at Dollar General. Pick the jewelweed before it flowers, stem and leaves both. (I am carfeull to leave some to flower and reseed each year. It grows in moist places, often near poison ivy. ) Crush the plant, cover with boiling water and let it steep for a few hours. Meanwhile grate the soap bars fine. Grate the same amount of soap bars as you want to make into jewelweed soap. Strain the jewelweed tea and stir into the grated soap, stiring until it has melted into a sticky mess. You might need to make more tea until it is right, I never measure so I can’t tell you the proportions. Spread into a wax paper lined lasagna pan and let it it air dry (takes a couple of weeks) When it is dry enough to handle you can form it into balls to finish drying, or you can wait and cut it into squares. You might want to turn the squares over to finish drying. Use it when you have been exposed to poison ivy or to hasten the healing if you break out.

  2. Paul just reminded me that Burdock is the number one ingredient in the liver/skin formula. Whatever else is in there – there’s always Burdock root.

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