Jewelweed, Impatiens aurea
As many of you know, it is that time of year when the dreaded Poison Ivy rears its itchy head at gardeners and outdoorswomen alike. One of the most common requests we at Una get at this time of year is for Poison Ivy relief. Well friends, today is your lucky day - as we are going to let you in on the traditional solution for homemade reprieve from the itching.
Jewelweed. Yes, the common Jewelweed has been one of the most effective solutions used for centuries. Part of the impatiens family, this plant grows abundantly throughout the eastern United States. It is said that where you find Poison Ivy, you will find Jewelweed. Though finding a poison and its antidote growing together is a common occurrence, it is not a hard and fast rule, as Poison Ivy will grow in more varied environments and Jewelweed prefers moist, rich soils. However, it is easily found along roadsides, in woods, and near stream beds.
Jewelweed itself is easily identified by its succulent-looking stem as well as the lovely orange flower. Typically the plant grows two feet high, but in the right conditions it can grow up to 7 feet tall (one only needs to see our garden for proof of this). The plant possesses a tall slender stem that appears slightly translucent. The leaves are ovate and thin, growing larger and more dense toward the top of the plant. Most easily identified by its flower, Jewelweed produces slip flowers in orange and yellow from July – September.
Few modern studies have been done on Jewelweed. Some that were completed report no useable results and have created question about Jewelweed's effectiveness. The leaves, however, appear to contain tannins which accounts for its effectiveness when applied to the skin to sooth piles and ivy rashes. Despite these studies, mothers and home healers have turned to this plant for centuries for its soothing relief. Commonly used, you will likely know someone with a Jewelweed story if you start asking about it.
What to do: Jewelweed is most effective when applied directly to the infected area. The leaves and stem should be crushed to release the plant juices. Traditionally the plants would be freshly gathered, lightly crushed and boiled with enough water to cover the plants. Cook the water down until it is darker in color. Apply with a clean cloth to poison ivy rash. This traditional remedy will keep in a covered jar in a lid for up to a week. The liquid can also be frozen in ice cube trays to save for later use.
All information is shared for educational purposes only. Una Biologicals does not offer medical advice or purport to treat, cure, diagnose or assist with any illness. Always consult your physician before using herbs.
FDA has not approved these statements.