A Doula’s Guide to Poison Ivy

poison ivy cureI know what you are thinking, this isn’t related to birth or babies, but trust me, if you have ever had a breakout from contact with Poison Ivy (you know, that stuff that the devil wipes his butt with? Yeah, that stuff), then you know that you NEED a doula for that.

I honestly can’t think of anything I detest more than Poison Ivy. I mean, you are just minding your own business, enjoying nature, and the next thing you know you have a gross, blistery, itch-fest from hell that doesn’t go away for weeks! It is miserable to say the least.

image4JPGSo this summer, I spent the majority of my days in the Michigan and Canadian woods, camping, fishing, and all the nature-y stuffs. One day, my husband complains of two giant “spider bites” on his forearm. We slap some ointment on it and call it a day. To make a long story short, it was poison ivy (que shudder) that later decided to SPREAD TO ME. Little ol’ me. The one with all the skin allergies and super sensitivities to everything! Well it spread. And spread… From a small spot on my hip, to my lower back, then my other hip, and various spots all over my body. It was so bad, that I had BRUISES from all the scratching. Ya’ll, I thought I. WAS. GOING. TO. DIE!

After about 4 days of misery and no sleep, I found some very valuable, but limited, information about using Jewel Weed to cure a poison ivy rash. And by an act of God, I found the actual plant growing in abundance near my uncle’s swampy pond. I swear, in that moment, the clouds parted and the heavens opened up! Angels could be heard singing to and fro across the land! image1JPG

You better believe I ripped that weed right out of the ground, smooshed it up, and was vigorously rubbing it all over my body like a mad woman! And ya know what? It stopped itching… for the first time in dayyyyz… the burning was gone. And in 2 days the blisters were GONE. And in a week, the entire rash was GONE. I was now a walking, breathing, itch-free miracle! And I will forever praise the Jewel Weed.

Okay, so now let’s talk about the facts.

poison-ivy-195123_1920POISON IVY is a three-leafed vine that grows in North America:

Even in the winter, when the leaves have fallen off, the vine can still give you a rash.

The poison in the ivy is called urushiol that cannot be seen on your skin, but is as thick and tough as motor oil.

Soap alone cannot get urushiol off your skin; you must use soap AND use an abrasive cloth to scrub it off. (If I have been in the woods, I always shower right after and seriously scrub my whole body to remove any oil I may have come in contact with.)

Urushiol CAN spread. If the oil on one person gets on another person, they can breakout in a rash too. I am a living testament to that.

image2JPGJEWEL WEED is a plant that also grows in North America that boasts a beautiful orange flower and shallow roots.

It is a myth that jewel weed grows near poison ivy.

Jewel Weed loves consistently wet soil, like that of a swamp or river’s edge.

Jewel Weed’s pods POP when touched, shooting seeds in all directions, receiving the nickname, “touch-me-nots.”

Jewel Weed is the only real antidote for poison ivy. Over-the-counter creams only treat the symptoms of poison ivy rashes.

Once you have found copious amounts of Jewel Weed, crumple it up, rolling it between your hands like cookie dough. This will release the aloe-like oil in the stem and leaves. Most of the healing oil is in the stem. You can then rub it on your ivy rash. (I did this whenever I started to feel itchy again)

If you don’t want to go tromping through the swamps and rivers for hours like I did, you can buy a spray at your local health food store or online. Just call ahead and ask if they have any “Jewel Weed spray” for poison ivy. The health food store in Michigan carried this brand: image3JPG

My sister has Jewel Weed growing on her property by a creek in her back yard. She has used it topically for Poison Ivy rash and has always had great results. She claims, if caught early enough, Jewel Weed can clear up the rash in three days!

As a Labor and Postpartum Doula, I love supporting families through tough situations. It gives me so much joy to see families feeling empowered and confident in the choices they make. Whether you choose to use topical creams or you dive head first into Jewel Weed (quite literally), I will doula you through the process, because I support your decisions as an unbiased doula. I believe that’s what makes Foothills Family Doulas truly unique.

Sometimes life throws us curve balls (or balls of flaming, fiery Poison Ivy), and you just need someone to tell you that you are going to make it and give you the tools to make it through.

And remember, leaves of three, let it be!


3 thoughts on “A Doula’s Guide to Poison Ivy

  • August 22, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    Wonderful-if not itch inducing story! I’m sorry for your outbreak but grateful for the cure information. I too have been a recipient of the dreaded poison Ivey rash and it’s the worse.

  • August 23, 2016 at 12:20 am

    Great story of your horrific experience with poison ivy. I felt so sorry for you, as it kept spreading and spreading all over you! And, the 90 degree weather didn’t help much. Sure do miss my poison ivy girl! PS, Congrads on your placenta certification class. mom

  • May 27, 2018 at 11:55 pm

    THANK YOU for this. Going on a hunt for jewelweed tomorrow as my body is exploding in poison ivy rash going on three weeks now. Is jewelweed safe during pregnancy?


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