Natural Ways to Treat Poison Ivy or Poison Oak

Home remedies for Poison Ivy and Poison Oak

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! thegardeningcook.com

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. If you don’t have an aloe vera plant, you can also buy aloe vera gel.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.)
  • Oatmeal – Remember treating chicken pox with oatmeal pastes?  It also can treat poison ivy.  Make a paste of cooked oatmealand 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.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  26 comments for “Natural Ways to Treat Poison Ivy or Poison Oak

  1. Renee
    06/27/2013 at 9:02 pm

    I use Dawn with bleach if i know or think I have been in poison ivy or I might already have it. Wash with it head to toe and rinse with luke warm water. If I have broken out in rash bumps I use dawn like a lotion let sit for 20 minutes then rinse and do this a couple times and its gone in two days!!!! Works everytime

    • Crystal
      07/21/2018 at 7:04 pm

      I used dawn dish detergent in a hot shower. Mine was gone in 2 days. Everyone I tell thinks I’m crazy but it works. I’m glad I finally found someone else who’s tried it. Thank You for helping me prove my argument. ☺️👌🏼

  2. carol mccollum
    07/18/2013 at 6:42 pm

    Ban roll on deoderant will cure it an stop the itching very fast..

  3. Nancy Alleshouse
    07/24/2013 at 8:23 pm

    Put liquid soap, dish soup or rub bar soap on the area. Keep reapplying till it goes away. The soap dries it up.

    • admin
      08/01/2013 at 6:42 pm

      Did not know this! Thanks for sharing Nancy!

  4. Sandi
    03/14/2016 at 9:26 am

    Wash with LAVA soap. Works great.

    • Carol
      03/14/2016 at 12:05 pm

      Thanks for the tip Sandi!

  5. Joel
    03/19/2016 at 7:55 pm

    Jewel Weed (Impatiens Capensis) has been very effective. Crush the stems & leaves and rub on affected areas. To find out how it gets its name, hold leaves under water and watch the iridescence!

    • Carol
      03/19/2016 at 10:07 pm

      Thanks for the info Joel. Very much appreciated. Carol

  6. Kathleen
    04/14/2016 at 9:03 pm

    I use homemade lye soap. Gently wash your body in a warm, not hot, shower.

    • Carol
      04/15/2016 at 2:35 pm

      Thanks for the tip Kathleen!

  7. Stephanie Thompson
    04/21/2016 at 8:17 pm

    We like to prevent or minimize the reactions we have to poison ivy. We have a local pharmacy that has RHUS TOX 4x /8x / 12x that is a homeopathic treatment we take in the winter and early spring before we encounter poison ivy in the summer. While it doesn’t prevent us from getting poison ivy completely, it really does minimize our skin’s reaction to it. I would highly recommend this. I think it contains poison ivy oil and you take it in the off season so you build up an immunity to it. Google it…

    • Carol
      04/22/2016 at 2:20 pm

      Thanks for the information Stephanie. Appreciated! Carol

  8. Wolf
    04/24/2016 at 11:17 pm

    I tested vinegar with soap and it works like a charm.

    • Carol
      04/25/2016 at 9:34 am

      Great to hear that Wolf.

  9. Annette
    06/14/2016 at 12:22 pm

    I have been using the bark from a sycamore tree for about 6 years.. The Sycamore tree naturally sheds it bark so I believe you are not hurting the tree. I then boil it, and keep adding water until its a rich golden brown. I usually start in April drinking a couple cups a week, then when I get into the garden I have a head start. I just make a couple of quart jars at a time and refrigerate. It has a very pleasant earthy taste. I have also had tinctures made of the bark, and put drops under my tongue, and on the blisters too, but I prefer the tea. I still get blisters now and then, but they don’t itch, and go away quickly. Mind you, I still stay clear of poison ivy, but I live in a very rural spot, and I like to garden..At least for me, I believe that I am actually being cured. Other great tips though, thanks.

    • Carol
      06/14/2016 at 12:57 pm

      Hi Annette. Very interesting tips. Thanks so much for sharing them! Carol

  10. Yvonne
    09/05/2016 at 2:04 pm

    As a child, my former husband lived in the country, and his family had goats and other animals. The goats took care of eating all of the poison ivy on the farm, and as long as the children drank the goats’ milk, they were immune to it. Once the parents sold the farm (and the goats), that immunity went away!

    • Carol
      09/05/2016 at 6:24 pm

      Hi Yvonne. I saw a video about just that topic the other day. The goats seem to love the stuff! Carol

  11. Kurt Haarmann
    10/23/2016 at 7:56 am

    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.

    • Carol
      10/23/2016 at 10:20 am

      Me too Kurt. Not a pleasant thought! Carol

  12. sunburn itch from hell
    12/25/2016 at 6:48 am

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

  13. Jamie Shavers
    05/10/2019 at 4:38 am

    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.

  14. Sara Smith
    06/09/2019 at 7:32 am

    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?

    • Carol
      06/09/2019 at 11:02 am

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

    • Glo
      06/21/2019 at 9:59 am

      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.

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