Natural Remedies for Poison Ivy |

Natural Remedies for Poison Ivy

beth November 13, 2012

The weather is getting warmer and that means more time outside! If your family is headed to the woods, you are likely to encounter all sorts of things – one of the most common being poison ivy.

As a child I was told Leaves of three, let it be but sometimes you still come into contact with it. Not everyone who comes into contact will actually react to it — only about 7 out of 10 people will. For those unlucky one’s who react to poison ivy, you want relief and you want it fast.

What is Poison Ivy?

Poison ivy comes from a weed looking plant that secrets a toxin called urushoil. When your skin comes into contact with this it causes contact dermatitis. Usually, you get poison ivy by coming into contact with any part of the plant itself. However, you can also get it from coming in contact with something else that has come into contact with the plant – such as a dog that has rolled in it.

Poison Ivy Symptoms

  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Blisters
  • Peeling
  • Swollen
  • Itching

Can You Treat Poison Ivy Naturally?

Yes! Here are some ways to soothe the itch of poison ivy:

Oatmeal and Baking Soda

Oatmeal and baking soda work wonders on the itch. Make a paste or add to a bath to sooth the itching. For a bath, add about 3/4 a cup to warm bath water.


Jewelweed can often be found near poison ivy and can be crushed and applied to the affected area. You also might be able to find salves or lotions that already contain it.

Aloe Vera

I simply love aloe vera. This plant can help heal the irritated skin – it is very anti-inflammatory and soothing. If you keep a plant like I do (they are really low maintenance and you will always have some on hand) you simply cut off a piece of it and apply to the affected area.

Tea Tree Oil

Make sure you have washed the area and then apply tea tree oil. The antiseptic oil helps to dry up the rash quickly — especially if it is wanting to blister. It also helps with the itching. You will likely need to reapply every few hours.  (In order to not irritate your already irritated skin you might want to use a carrier oil)

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apply to the rash as need to reduce the itching.

Witch hazel

Reduces the itching and swelling and can help to stop blisters.

Things to Keep In Mind…

  • Don’t scratch! Scratching just irritates the rash and you are likely to make it much worse. You also run the risk of ending up with a scar from scratching. Use one of the remedies above to soothe the itch.
  • Try to keep it dry. Keeping it dry will help it heal faster!
  • Clean up. Make sure to wash whatever you came into contact to get it — clothes, shoes, the dog.

How do you treat poison ivy?

**Please keep in mind that while the majority of the population that contracts poison ivy can be treated at home few people DO have a severe reaction to it. If that happens seek medical attention.

This is the writings of:

  1. I had 12 weeks of full-blown, housebound poison oak this winter/spring, and I found some awesome remedies to get me through. After the initial bout or two with poison oak, my skin kept reacting to a dry mold issue in our new rental. But here’s the remedies: tea tree oil is great for the purse to relieve itch while out and about, banana peel is great tied on to the inflammations, Marie’s Original Bar is wonderful for healing and relieving the itch (around $4 in my local pharmacy), and the best one of all to have in your cupboard after any exposure, even up to a day or more later: Mean Green Hand Scrub. It’s sold under a different name at the pharmacy for $40/oz by someone who left the company, but at the website, you can order 64 oz for $20, plus a reasonable amount of shipping. Anytime you are exposed to ivy, oak, sumac, wash with this scrub. Its particles (safe for our skin) go down to the 7 layers of skin and BREAK THE PROTEIN BOND that the oil makes with your skin molecules. In other words, unlike Technu which must be used within 15 minutes before the bond is formed, Mean Green Hand Scrub can be used at any point when you realize you may have been exposed. I now carry this in my car as well as in our bathroom for every time I handle wood for our stove. 🙂


  2. I’m learning about Bentonite clay, and I’d definitely give that a try if I ever get poison oak again!


  3. These are great suggestions, but the first thing you should do if you suspect you have come in contact with poison ivy/oak/sumac is wash the affected area immediately with a dish detergent (Dawn works best, but any will do )… even on the dog 🙂 The plants leave an oil on the skin that will irritate it and develop into that yucky itchy rash. Detergent breaks up and lifts away oil (it is used it to clean wildlife after an oil spill). A good laundry detergent will get it out of clothing, however, a friend of mine said her homemade laundry soap did not work and the “clean” clothes spread the rash to other areas of the body. I used to be a camp nurse and I PREVENTED lots of poison ivy rashes this way! I keep dish soap in first aid kits too.


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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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