A conversation between the farmwives…Cher 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?
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.
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.