My Relationship with Poison Ivy
**Some swear words are used in the telling of this story** 🤫
Let's just start out by saying I LOATHE poison ivy!!! Really, does anyone like this malicious plant? Ok, to be fair, it is not intentionally evil. I mean, some lucky people do not have adverse reactions to it. Lucky lucky!!
Just like in my family, 2 out of 5 are not bothered by poison ivy. Three of us are not so fortunate. ☹️ And get it bad.
On Friday, September 7th I awoke with an irritation near my left eye. I thought that maybe I handle my EOs sloppily with my client the day before. I didn't think that could be it as I handle aromatics with care, but what else would give me a red irritation? 🤷🏼♀️
On Saturday, I awoke early for the Renaissance Faire at Hickory Nut Gap I was vending at and discovered it was not just a dermal irritation but POISON IVY around my eye!!! What the f*<#!?!?! 🤬😭
Well, I can't cancel now. So I must persevere. And I did. I wore sunglasses the whole day to hide my "monster eye." Didn't want to scare the children!!
A friend at the Ren Faire reminded me of jewelweed. I know jewelweed is the antidote for poison ivy. I have purchased herbal remedies with jewelweed in it for past poison ivy exposures. But I didn't know what jewelweed looked like. I never looked it up, because I would just buy the already made up remedies. My friend brought me a jewelweed flower at the Faire, my reaction: "WHAT?! This is jewelweed?!?! This grows ALL OVER our mountain property!!"
Not being able to do much of anything after the Ren Faire, I popped into our local health food store on my way home and bought the jewelweed products we have used in the past. It's been a while, so I had forgotten how badly they BURN!!! So incredibly painful, but I endured to try to rid myself of this poison.
The burning was so bad, that I chose to sleep with a chamomile tea bag on my eye to try to draw it out. It did help soothe it a little. Enough to sleep. Kinda. A chamomile tea bag is how I treated my children's pink eye when they were little. So I thought it wouldn't hurt to try it. It didn't hurt, but it didn't really help. At least not to get rid of the poison ivy.
(Chamomile is staining, so be careful not to get it on your fabrics)
My sweet husband harvested jewelweed for me on Sunday. I had researched the best way to harvest it, and fresh is best because the sap in the stalk is the antidote for poison ivy. I asked him to cut small pieces and fill a quart-sized mason jar halfway. I made a jewelweed herbal oil with olive oil. I'm blessed with the best partner in life & love!!!
Sunday, September 8th:
When making an herbal oil out of fresh plant material, you want to gently heat it in a double boiler for about an hour. The jewelweed herbal oil will turn a greenish-deep-yellow. You don't want to "cook" it to retain the potency of the plant, but with fresh material, you do want to heat it thoroughly to help prevent it from molding.
I made a salve with the jewelweed herbal oil, calendula herbal oil (I make this for my skin healing products), beeswax, and an aromatic synergy consisting of antihistamine, anti-inflammatory, skin nourishing, and diuretic (due to the large amount of edema I had) essential oils. I chose to use a 2% dilution ratio. Being it was basically on my eye, I made sure to apply it as far from my inner eye as I could with still covering the poison ivy.
EOs: Grapefruit Citrus x paradisi, Manuka Leptosperum scoparium, Juniper Berry Juniperus communis, Plai Zingiber cassumunar, German Chamomile Matricaria recutita
As I said, I used diuretic EOs due to the amount of swelling I had in my cheek & around my eye. When I go to make this for my clients, I will focus on anti-inflammatory, antihistamine, and skin nourishing EOs.
Damn Monster Eye.
Since the poison ivy was so close to my eye, I had told myself that if the swelling gets worse or the poison ivy erupts more when I wake on Monday, then I will go to an urgent care. The problem with steroids, which is typically the remedy offered at doctor offices, is that it takes several days to work. We've done steroids in the past when it was an all-over-the-body poison ivy invasion. While it lessens the pain, itchiness, and discomfort, steroids don't really heal you, at least that is my experience. However, its my eye. So if it worsens over night, then I will go in.
Monday, September 9th:
Please excuse the oily hair! But LOOK AT THESE RESULTS!!!! I honestly was not expecting such a dramatic reduction! YAY!!!!!!
I mean, LOOK AT THESE RESULTS!!! These photos were taken not even 24 hours after the first application of my jewelweed salve! HOLY SHIT!!! Why haven't I explored making a jewelweed salve before???? So happy to have learned of a new medicine to keep in my holistic toolkit!
I was applying the salve about every 4-6 hours, besides when sleeping. Sometimes it was too much and became painful. I would gently remove the salve, allow my skin to cool off, then apply a thin coat of salve. The lighter I applied it, the better. When I would load it on, it would stir up the poison ivy too much and hurt. Less is ALWAYS more with holistic aromatherapy! Lesson learned 😊
Tuesday, September 10:
I had cleared my schedule for Monday, but I had a client coming in from Madison County who was suffering from grief, and I did not want to cancel on her. Until I excused the condition of my face, she had said that she noticed it was red, but didn't really think anything of it. I am AMAZED at the reduction of swelling around my eye!!
It has been about 48 hours since I began using my jewelweed salve!!! If I would have either let the poison ivy run it's course or gone with the steroids, more than likely I would have had to cancel my whole week from work & social engagements.
Freshly washed face on Wednesday, September 11:
When have you ever healed from POISON IVY in 3 DAYS???
I did have some flaking skin where the poison ivy blisters were. I just saturated my face in my nourishing body butter. Just slathered it on!
My skin had healed so well that I didn't even take any photos on Thursday, the 12th!
Friday, September 13th:
I had a photoshoot for my aromatic products on our mountain property. As you can see, I have a little redness remaining. But this is just 5 DAYS after starting my jewelweed salve!! 5 DAYS!!!!
Writing this blog post for you all makes my heart happy! Me and my sweet family have suffered greatly due to poison ivy. Now we have the medicine we need to end our suffering! I hope this post helps you with your poison ivy relationship! Here's to holistic medicine!
Please reach out if you have any questions. I am always here for you!
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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This post is for educational purposes only & is not meant to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please seek medical care when warranted.*