Poison ivy and jewel weed

– Posted in: Mailbag, Pests, Plagues, and Varmints

A reader wrote last night

I would very much like to purchase Jewell Weed Seed. I live on 47 beautiful acres, that is infected with poison ivy. I am VERY allergic to poison ivy. Can you help me?

I don’t know of a source for jewel weed seed. If anyone does, please comment. But I think there are better remedies for a poison ivy rash. Please share your best remedies.

There is a lot of information out there on poison ivy. I hope a search on the internet will turn up better solutions.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

If winter is slumber and spring is birth, and summer is life, then autumn rounds out to be reflection. It’s a time of year when the leaves are down and the harvest is in and the perennials are gone. Mother Earth just closed up the drapes on another year and it’s time to reflect on what’s come before.

~Mitchell Burgess in Northern Exposure

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Ayn June 6, 2013, 9:24 pm

My doctor turned me onto homeopathic poison ivy remedy which works better than cortisol! Can be used as a preventative too. Also wash with a detergent in cold water to get rid of oils on skin. Hot water opens up the pores and you get it worse. Don’t know about jewelweed although it takes over my woods and chokes out any other ground plants.

Andrew July 18, 2012, 1:30 am

I used to thwack at this stuff all the time up on the blue ridge, whole mountainsides covered in it, never knew it was good for something… good luck trying to get it to grow anywhere thats not moist cool and shady. only the shadowy bends had jewelweed, and boy did they, tall stalks of 3-5 feet, wet and crisp, like iceberg lettuce, and very fragile

Tim April 29, 2009, 12:35 am

Technu works Great to wash up after you have been exposed to poision Ivy , and Zanfel is a scrub with pumice , I use it once I get the blistering it helps to dry it up fast, although pricey $$$ ! That’s why Im interested in Jewell weed, a friend just testified to me how well it works , he even told me that it can be consumed, and works great as a preventative in a tea form.

Sandra September 28, 2008, 6:27 pm

I work in Hendersonville, NC and would like to know the name of the herb store in Bat Cave.

clint May 21, 2008, 11:12 am

I am in upstate SC about 30 miles from the mountains of western NC and all my buddies say jewelweed it the greatest thing for poison oak/ivy sumack but it does not grow here I guess I need to take a ride to Bat cave to Jennifers store if I knew the name of it

Cely October 27, 2009, 11:10 am

If you need jewelweed seeds…please e-mail me at cmanansala@comcast.net I have some that I just harvested from my backyard.

Jennifer January 21, 2008, 3:02 pm

Hi-I found the wonderful benefits of jewelweed a couple of years ago. We have a ton on our property and I came up with a heal-all concoction that I sell in our little town of Bat Cave/Chimney Rock, NC. I call it “Itch Witch” and I use it on everything, literally (cuts, scrapes, burns, hives, dry skin, bee stings, and of course all the poison ivy/oak/sumac and contact dermatitis). If anyone is interested, let me know. I use it on my 1yr old son-so it’s very safe for infants. Coconut oil is my base and I use a couple of other flowers that are astringents as a tea that mixes with the juice of the jewelweed. My husband and I are very allergic to poison ivy/oak and this stuff works better than a shot of steroids. It seems to help eczema as well…

Marina October 9, 2009, 11:23 pm

Hi Jen,

Can you please tell me what is the stuff that work effectively with poison ivy. I am very sensitive to it and my whole yard grow a lot poison ivy and I do need to know how to kill them.


Jennifer October 10, 2009, 2:20 pm

Hi Marina,
I believe I state above that the plant is jewelweed. It can be found along ditches, in and along creek beds, in wetland areas. We have it everywhere in our gorge, which is considered a hardwood rainforest. You can google to see a picture. It blooms in late Summer, early Fall and the seed pods pop or explode when you touch them. The plant can get very tall with small jewel-like orange or yellow flowers. The medicine is in the juice of the stem and leaves, which you can crush and put on any itch. I use it as a preventative way to keep poison ivy at bay. You can also make a tea with the whole plant (minus the root), or cook in coconut and/or olive oil to make a salve.

As far as killing the plant, we usually allow our goats to forage in the ivy, they will eat it back and it is very nutritional-the berries provide a good food for wildlife. If it creeps into my flower beds, I just pull out. I mainly get from touching the trees that have the vines growing up the sides. You can get a spray or soap oil to spot kill at any gardening store.

Good luck!

Donica February 6, 2011, 11:30 am

Do you have a store online or a way to purchase your itch witch. I am so sick of getting poison oak from my husband who works in the woods and it always stays longer on me than him.

Nancy Zeigler April 5, 2010, 12:52 pm

I make soap and balms. I have a lot of request for Jewelweed soap. How can I find the right J. stuff to put in it ?

Kathy Purdy April 5, 2010, 6:46 pm

A good field guide would enable you to identify jewelweed, but how you would extract the essence of it to put in soap, I have no idea.

Kathy Purdy June 30, 2007, 3:07 pm

David, thanks for clarifying how Tecnu works. Craig, thanks for the seed source info and the coping hints.

Craig Levy June 30, 2007, 7:22 am

This is a post after my heart. I am highly sensitized to Poison Ivy’s west coast relative Poison Oak and easily break out with casual exposure. I stopped buying fresh-cut Christmas trees because I would always break out after bringing them in and setting them up, speculating the growing fields had it or browsing deer were rubbing the oils from another location against the foliage.

Tecnu works effectively and should be used for washing clothing, tools, and gloves as the oils remain on them too. I take an oral steroid during my worse out breaks and have a prescription strength cortisone cream for topical use. The cream works great for bug bites too! There used to be systemic drug that acted as a preventative but the FDA removed it from the market. The company is trying to reformulate it or reapply for its use but so far it’s just a rumor.

Our former house had ample amounts of poison oak, especially along the driveway. We left it alone because of its usefulness of stabilizing a steep hill and for being a wildlife sanctuary, especially for birds feasting on white berries during the winter.

What that meant for us, and I would suggest this to your writer, is a constant awareness of its presence whenever we were outside. Not wandering without forethought and recognizing the plants in all seasons was imperative and eventually became instinctive. We became quite good at spotting and removing the seedlings and always followed up by promptly washing the exposed areas. The thicker skin on finger pads was mostly resistant to the oils but why take a chance and inadvertently spread it to the more sensitive skin on inner arms or face.

I can’t verify if these companies are reliable but here are a few sources for Impatiens capensis (Jewelweed) seed: Sandy Mountain Herbs, Easyliving Wildflowers (seed available in fall), and Prairie Moon Nursery (the least expensive).

nickie June 28, 2007, 10:23 pm

Jewel weed works wonders!!

At least with stinging nettles it does…

I use it when I am out hiking. Jewel weed conviently likes to grow with poison Ivy and Stinging Nettles near by. It sooths the sting right away when you rub the sap on.

David June 28, 2007, 9:56 am

I’ve used Tecnu for years–it’s the best thing I’ve found. BUT–it doesn’t help much after you’ve broken out. The thing to do is, if you think you MIGHT have touched poison ive, wash up with Tecnu as soon as possible, prefereably within a couple of hours after exposure. It draws the poison to the surface of your skin and out. I think it contains mineral spirits, so if you can’t find Tecnu, plain old mineral spirits might work also.

Kathy Purdy June 27, 2007, 9:05 pm

Ki, I have heard of Tecnu, but I haven’t had any personal experience with it, so I’m glad you spoke up.

Ellis Hollow, she is in Kansas, otherwise I could let her harvest seed from my place, too. She actually commented on this post, which features a patch of jewel weed thriving in my back yard.

Ellis Hollow June 27, 2007, 8:53 pm

It’s a relative of impatiens, if I recall correctly. If your reader wants to swing by my place when the seed is ripe, they are welcome to all they can gather. But it’s got to be a huge challenge to gather, what with the seed pods spraying the seed all over the place when you touch them. Our kids had a ball with them when they were young. They called them poppers, as probably generations of kids have called them in the past.

Ki June 27, 2007, 8:52 pm

Our daughter is very allergic to poison ivy. She would break out in weeping lesions if the cat happened to brush up against poison ivy and she petted the cat. We found a product called Tecnu Poison Oak-n-Poison Ivy. It’s the only product that worked for her. It works by washing out the urushiol oil that’s the irritant in the poison ivy. Since the oil is the irritant, I thought we could use alcohol, detergents, paint thinner but nothing worked but Tecnu. BTW, animal are not affected by poison ivy – only humans.

Here’s more information about Tecnu.

Tracy June 27, 2007, 1:06 pm

Wow, it’s expensive ($140 for one ounce!), but I found it at this Minnesota nursery with a good selection of MN natives.

I love this plant just as a nice flowering ornamental for shade, so even if it’s not the best poison ivy cure, it sure is pretty.