jewelweed is supposed to be one of the best plants known to treat poison ivy or oak. By simply infusing the jewelweed in oil and then replacing some of the oil in the soap recipe it will give me the same bars of soap that are sold in town for anywhere from 5 bucks to 9 bucks a bar.
For someone like me it is the best solution since I have no insurance to keep running to a doctor, don't want to go to a doctor and I am always playing in the stuff and always have at least a few spots of poison. I get it in my hair I believe and because I can't wash my hair daily nor would I if I had the ability, I tend to spread it about in small patches. I also get it on me from petting the dogs that run through it while guarding us from evil monsters in the woods. Thankfully I don't ever get too bad of a case but just enough of it to make me itchy, scratchy n cuss a bunch. Now I can come in from outside and not worry about using 10 bars of the soap through the summer as it only cost me a few bucks to make enough for a few years and I know exactly what I am using. I can also use it on my hair to get the oils off as needed.
Since I was doing a few things at once today, I made the soap in the crock pot as it just makes things so much easier. I halved the recipe, replaced 1/2 of the oil with infused jewelweed oil and added a bit of ground oat meal just before putting it into the molds. Some folks prefer to make a tea from the jewelweed and use that in place of the water in the soap recipe. I prefer the oils because I use the oil for other things besides the soap, by making the tea I am limiting what I can do. No matter what you use your soap will turn out a light brown color so it isn't the prettiest of soaps.
To make a salve that can be used to dab onto insect bites, rashes, etc take one cup of infused oil and mix with 1 ounce of beeswax that has been melted. Cool and place in air tight container. Jewelweed is good for many skin irritations from acne, to hives, bug bites, stings or just plain sensitive skin. Like wise a simple dab of oil works well too. The salves work great in first aid kits or travel bags because of their light weight.
Another simple use for jewelweed is to make a tea from the leaves and flowers and make ice cubes to rub over an affected area. These work well for littles as they can get all messy while being healed. The plant itself can also be picked fresh and used. Crush the stem and rub it on the poison ivy affected area, just remember that often times jewelweed and poison ivy grow in the same location.
Jewelweed seeds are edible although not something you would want to go and pick for harvesting and making a meal of. They are something fun to show others and for a little trail side snack they are pretty tasty.