Jewelweed is best known for it's skin-healing properties; and it's especially known to be a poison ivy deterrent if you know you've come in contact with it. You can, ironically, often find jewelweed growing in proximity to poison ivy, and all you need do is cut open the stem and rub the juice on the area that came in contact with the poison ivy. It should lessen the effects, if you break out at all.
And if you didn't realize you came in contact with the dastardly plant, you can also use the juice/oils from jewelweed on the rash.
I wish I'd known about this remedy from nature the last time I encountered poison ivy. I have a tendency to recklessly attack weeds... though, less so after my last bout of itchy, poison ivy rash.
This is the tender side of my forearm. Oof, that was a doozy. I was up twice a night popping Benedryl and coating my arm in cortisone cream. It barely offered any relief and I would have been much happier if I could have remedied my ailment with a natural method, and one that actually worked well.
So, with this growing all over our property, I decided to make a jewelweed salve so that I'm prepared for any future, dreadful bouts of itchiness.
Like I said, it's primarily associated with countering the effects of poison ivy (and other plant induced rashes), but it's also been known to heal other types of skin irritations such as bug bites, stinging nettle, ringworm, and even soothes and heals scrapes, cuts, bruises, eczema, and burns. Pretty amazing stuff growing wild right out my back door!
While I can't yet testify to the success of deterring or alleviating the symptoms of poison ivy, as I haven't encountered it since I learned of this remedy (thankfully), I can tell you that it relieves the itchiness from mosquito bites.
Here's how I made the salve:
I went out into the yard and pulled 4 or 5 long stems. They were about 3 feet tall - and they come out so easy - root ball, and all.
I cut off the root balls and mangled those delicate stems and leaves, twisting them to fit into a small pot. Then, I nearly covered them with about a cup (maybe a cup and a half) of coconut oil. No need to fully submerge them. They'll be fully covered once the stems soften and the leaves wilt.
Let them heat (barely) on the lowest setting your stove will go. I covered the pot and let them warm/simmer for about an hour - till they turned this orange/brown color and the oil became dark.
I strained them into a jar...
...really smashing them down so as much of the oil is released as possible.
Then I grated about 5 tablespoons of beeswax and added that to the jar to dissolve in the coconut/jewelweed oil. I put the jar in a pot of simmering water to keep the oil warm enough to dissolve the beeswax.
And once the beeswax was fully incorporated, I carefully spooned it into these twist up containers. This should last for up to a year and I'm storing the unused portion in the refrigerator.
(More on Jewelweed)
Now that's handy. And I'm armed the next time I get a skin irritation - poison ivy - or otherwise!
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