Natural Remedies for Poison Ivy Rash

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Poison Ivy and I have a long-standing relationship.

When I was 13 my family and I were camping at one of our favorite state parks.

On one of the last days there, I was riding my bike down a steep hill and my breaks gave out! I was gaining speed fast and lost control. I ended up laying in the ditch by the side of the road, with only minor cuts and scrapes, then I realized I had crashed into a patch of poison ivy…

About a week later I was covered in poison ivy rash! It got to the point where I had to visit the doctor to get medication, even then it took a long time to get rid of and it scared the underside of my left arm.

Ever since that experience, I get it extremely easily. In fact, I am suffering from it right now as I type this post…

What is poison ivy?

Poison ivy is a plant common in Mexico, North America, and Canada, that has 3 leaves like the photo below. It grows in wooded and marshy areas.
It secretes urushiol which is an oil that causes a rash or a cluster of blisters on the affected skin also called contact dermatitis, which itches like crazy.
When you scratch the blisters, they break open and release oils which cause the rash to spread on your body and to others you come in contact with.
It’s difficult but so important not to scratch it.
Other symptoms include aches, low-grade fever, and a hot or burning sensation on the affected area.

I am not one to run to the doctor, I prefer using natural methods to help my body heal, so over the years, I’ve tested many natural remedies to get rid of poison ivy rashes.
That being said, if you have trouble breathing, swallowing, or have poison ivy in your eyes (been there) don’t hesitate to see a doctor.

Common Remedies for poison ivy rash

We’ve all heard about making a paste with baking soda and water and placing it on the poison ivy rash to stop the itch. It doesn’t work, at least not for me.

Other common remedies include Creams, gels, and ointments. This might work in the short term, but the problem is that they keep the poison ivy moist which causes it to grow and spread…

So what works?

Also read: Natural remedies for a head cold

Tried and tested remedies

First off, if you realize that you’ve touched poison ivy, wash the affected area right away to prevent the rash.
The best wash I’ve used is Tecnu Extreme.
It’s not completely natural, but it does work.
Use it when you think you came in contact with poison ivy and after blisters have started.
Sometimes this works right away to prevent the rash, but not always. Poison ivy seems to have a mind of its own…

Bentonite clay

I always have a jar of bentonite clay in my house.

This stuff is amazing. Mix it with water, apply it to your poison ivy rash and let it sit until it dries.

It draws out toxins from the affected area and dries the poison ivy rash and blisters. It also works on spider bites!

Hyland’s poison ivy tablets

These homeopathic tablets are taken orally. They help relieve the symptoms of poison ivy. My husband swears by these. He doesn’t get poison ivy as bad as I do, but when he does get it, he’ll take these and it’s gone within a few days.

Take magnesium pills

Magnesium helps your body get rid of toxins and it works for getting rid of poison ivy! This is my favorite method.

You can use any or all of these methods in conjunction with each other.

What not to do

Don’t wash the affected area with hot water. Yes, it feels good on the blisters, but the hot water opens the blisters and the oil spreads to other parts of the body…Not fun.

Don’t use bleach to get rid of your rash! I cringe whenever I hear that people try this!
Bleach can cause further damage to your skin. I can’t think of a reason to use bleach for anything ever, especially on your body…

Do not inhale smoke from burning weeds or poison ivy. You can get poison ivy internally, in your mouth and throat. The smoke can cause your eyes to swell up with blisters as well.

How to prevent getting poison ivy rash

Wear long sleeves and pants when working outside or walking through the woods.

Wipe down your dogs or cats before touching them after walking through tall weeds or in the woods. They can’t get the rash, but they can carry the oil and pass it on to you.

Wear gloves when pulling weeds and dig the poison ivy plant out by the roots to get rid of it.

This content is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. I am not a medical professional and the information contained on this blog should not be used to diagnose, treat or prevent any disease or health illness. Read my full disclaimer to learn more.

Which remedies do you use to ease poison ivy symptoms?

Whitney Stokes

Whitney is a naturalist who started in 2018 to encourage natural and sustainable living.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Kristin

    This post is very helpful. I’ve never heard of these remedies and we get poison ivy so bad in my family. I will need to try that clay. Thanks

  2. Laura

    I used to get poison ivy all the time as a kid. Now it seems like it doesn’t bother me. Even if I pull it out of the ground with my bare hand while gardening. My mom used to wipe us down with a vinegar solution to dry it up. It burned so bad that she would tell us to start running once she applied it to try to air it out. But it worked. I’ll keep your tips in mind if I ever end up with it again.

  3. Emily Adams

    Thank you for these tips! We just moved to a house with a lot of poison ivy around, so I need to be much more aware of how to prevent exposure!

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