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Natural Ways to Treat Poison Ivy or Poison Oak

If you garden a lot, you will likely have a run in with poison ivy at some point. These natural ways to treat poison ivy will help you beat the itch.

Leaves of three, leave them be.  That is the old saying for dealing with poison ivy. 

If you garden a lot, you will most likely, at some point or other, come into contact with poison ivy or poison oak.  The intense itching and pain is horrible, and it can also give you a fever.

The rash occurs when the plant toxin (urushiol) comes into contact with the human skin.  It is virtually harmless to animals. 

In fact, they can actually carry it around the garden.  without a problem to anyone other than the humans that come in contact to it.

Natural Remedies for Poison Ivy, Poison Oak and Poison Sumac. Leaves of three, let them be!

Home remedies for Poison Ivy and Poison Oak

When it is possible, I like to treat problems like this with natural remedies. Natural remedies, are also known as home remedies because they are made with natural ingredients such as herbs, fruits and veggies and other ingredients that are commonly found in the home.

They don’t use harsh chemicals and are very inexpensive. An added benefit is that they do not normally produce side effects.  Plus, they are fun (and satisfying) to do yourself.

There are many creams and ointment that will deal with the problem but there are also some home remedies that are effective.  Here are a few of them:

Aloe Vera Gel

I have a large aloe vera plant growing on my deck. It is great for treating sunburn and other burns, and also works on a poison ivy rash.  Just split open the leaves and place the gel on the area that is infected.

It will relieve the pain and itching.

Aloe vera gel is great for treating poison ivy

Baking Soda

Add 1/2 cup of baking soda in bath water and soak.  You can also make a paste with water or apple cider vinegar and apply it to the rash.

(For more ways to use baking soda in the garden, check out this post.)


Remember treating chicken pox with oatmeal pastes?  It also can treat poison ivy.

Make a paste of cooked oatmeal and apply it to the rash. This works because it helps draw out the toxins and so it relieves the itching.

Add a paste of cooked oatmeal to soothe poison ivy rash

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apply a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar directly to the infected skin.  It has as toxin pulling action that helps to suck the poison out of your spores. 

You can also soak a cotton towel with warm apple cider vinegar. Reapply to the skin as needed until the rash subsides.

Fruit or vegetable treatments

Many fruits and vegetables can be used to treat poison ivy rashes.  The inside of banana peels will help soothe the skin.

Cucumber pastes or slices will also help soothe the rash and cool the skin, as will watermelon rind.

Banana peels can soothe poison ivy itch

Himalayan Crystal Salt

This is used because poison ivy causes the skin to become wet and inflamed, and salt dries the skin.

Make a paste of purified water and Himalayan crystal salt and place it on the rash.  You can also soak in a bath of warm water and a cup of salt and soak for 1/2 hour.

Bay leaves

Boil bay leaves in water and make a poultice. Apply this to areas of poison ivy for relief from itching.

Boil bay leaves and use it as a poultice for relief from poison ivy.

Have you tried other methods of treating poison ivy or poison oak?  Please let us know what you have found successful in the comments below.

For natural ways to kill poison ivy in your garden, please see this article.

Be sure to visit The Gardening Cook on Facebook for more gardening tips.

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Max Mandelis

Monday 21st of June 2021

Thank you! I'm going to try several of these suggestions as I'm desperate.

Sara Smith

Sunday 9th of June 2019

We have learned from living in CentralAmerica that the antidote plant usually grows close to the offending plant...what is the antidote plant to these "poison plants"? Someone along the way mentioned plantain, any confirmation?


Friday 21st of June 2019

I have tried crushed plantain leaves on my rash in the earlier stages of it and it worked well together rid of the itch and to keep the rash from becoming infected. I've also soaked chopped plantain leaves in alcohol and that works well to dry up the rash and prevent infection as well but like I said only if the rash hasn't gotten real bad. I have a bad case now and what I'm doing at the moment is washing the area with ultra dish washing liquid to try and dry up the rash and then mouthwash with eucalyptus to moisturize the area and alleviate the itching. So far its helping to stop the rash from spreading but if the rash spreads to my stomach or other sensitive parts of my body I'm going to the doctors for a high dose of steroids. I also take large doses of vit c, oil of oregano caplets, and super b vitamins. Someone once suggested trying panthenoic acid in high doses but that didn't work for me. I don't like taking steroids so I'll keep doing the dishwashing liquid and mouthwash until the rash is gone however long that takes. BTW I'm severely allergic to PI and get it just about every year, a few times a year. I hope this method will prevent me from making a trip to the doctors. I'll update in a couple of weeks.


Sunday 9th of June 2019

I have read that Jewel weed is an antidote plant for poison ivy.

Jamie Shavers

Friday 10th of May 2019

These comments were and have been very helpful as well as very much appreciated. I haven't tried all of the home remedies that are mentioned but several of them were very helpful for the itching/painful discomfort that occurs after contact. They in my experience are not cures for the Poison Ivy/Oak plant. I am not any where close to a medical expert. So I am of course only adding this from my own experience from coming in contact with the Oak/Ivy Plant but in the past 20 plus years I've stuck with one method and it not only relieves the pain and itching that occurs but it also cures it completely.. This one method hasn't failed me yet and it's been over 20 years and that's Eating oatmeal. Everything that I've read and everyone I've spoken with about poison ivy/oak only talks about bathing or making a paste out oatmeal and using it that way. The only way to use it is eating it though. I have trusted this method for over 20 years and wouldn't ever was my time or money doing anything else. So trust and believe when I say that eating oatmeal is the only true method for relieving itchy painful poison oak or ivy.

sunburn itch from hell

Sunday 25th of December 2016

Very helpful and Great information, we appreciate advise especially coming from a professional. Thanks again and keep up the great work!

Kurt Haarmann

Sunday 23rd of October 2016

just the thought of eating poison ivy gives me the heebi jeevis.i could just imagine what would happen to me iof i ate some,sure death.


Sunday 23rd of October 2016

Me too Kurt. Not a pleasant thought! Carol

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