Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)
I just read an article that ridicules the claim that jewelweed is effective against the intense itching of poison ivy. Supposedly research has proven that jewelweed has no anti-itch properties at all. Maybe so… but the stuff really works!
I remember one time in particular when my oldest son had somehow gotten himself plastered with poison ivy. He was in absolute agony from the itching and burning, and none of the commercial remedies we tried helped for more than just a few minutes. Eventually I remembered reading about jewelweed being used for just this purpose, and since we still had quantities of jewelweed growing around the property… despite years of pulling it out of the gardens and paths… the jewelweed idea seemed worth a try.
That first time I just squeezed some of the juice out of the stem onto the blistery areas. The relief from the itching was immediate. Later I tried another method I had read about. I cut up some of the stems, boiled them in water until the water was a reddish-orange color, and then froze the liquid in an ice cube tray. Whenever the itching got bad again, my son would just take a jewelweed ice cube and rub it over the itchy area. Relief was immediate with the ice cubes, too… although it seemed to last longer with the juice straight from the plant.
I think the jewelweed might have even helped with healing the blisters too, because I have never seen poison ivy dry up so fast. I guess it’s a good thing we hadn’t seen the research conclusions that jewelweed has no anti-itch properties!
P.S.: For my family at least, this ineffective anti-itch reliever works for insect bites too!