Tuesday, April 27, 2010

poison ivy and jewel weed - oil-soap-salve and ice cubes

Since I tend to have an on going case of poison ivy from spring  until fall each year I decided   this year instead of running out and buying enough poison soap for an army I would just make my own.  Lye soap in itself is supposed to be good for washing the oil from the poisons off but 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.


  1. Im gonna try this soon! Thanx for the recipe.

  2. Jewelweed seems to grow in the same area as poison ivy, at least it did when I was in CT. So, as I get it easily, I always picked some jewelweed and rubbed it on me if I had to be in the area.

    Jewelweed seeds taste like Black Walnuts so a little goes a long way. I used them in a chocolate chip cookie at October birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas - a real treat as people thought it was Black Walnuts.

  3. that is way cool Bellen.. i may have to try them in a recipe :)

  4. Great post, dilli! I didn't know that the jewelweed seeds are edible. I spent a lot of time walking creeks when I was a kid & jewelweed was one of the first plants I knew. I introduced it to lots of kids when I showed them the 'poppers'. It's surprising that with all the time I spent in the wild that I never had poison ivy til later in life.
    Would you be interested in selling some of your soap & salve or perhaps a trade for some organic sunflower butter?

  5. oh heck michelle absolutely ! sunflower butter eh,,, that was on my list last year to learn n make etc but the weather had other ideas

  6. Great idea for a specialty soap! I think I will make some. Thank you for the idea!

  7. Can I use this recipe in my writing to share with others if I tell them about your link?
    Rachel Weaver