Poison Ivy and Poison Oak

Skin contact with poison ivy and poison oak resulting in an allergic reaction with skin swelling.

Herbal Aids:

Sassafras: Give the infusion internally and use it often externally as a wash. [SNH p.79]

Infusion of Sassafras: Apply the infusion on saturated cotton to the affected area, cover with plastic and bandage, or use as a wash; also drink the infusion internally. See formula using sassafras bark, glycerine and distilled water. [SNH p.80]

Poison Ivy: Apply the "Respiratory Syrup: Dr. Christopher's Asthma Formula" as a fomentation locally to the affected parts and allow to remain 1 hour. Wash off with biodegradable soapy water and rinse. Reapply until all itch and symptoms disappear. [SNH p.336] Asthma remedy: See formula using slippery elm, horehound, garden thyme, red clover, yerba santa, lobelia, resin weed, cayenne, blackstrap molasses, and glycerine.[SNH p.339]

Virginia Snake Root: Nettle rash or poison ivy. Apply a wash of fluid extract. [SNH p.417]

Virginia Snake Root: Nettle rash or poison ivy. Give infusions as freely as the patient can take it for a few hours, then stop: keep patient off of any mucus-forming foods. [SNH p.417]

Wheat Grass: Poison oak. Place a poultice of freshly crushed wheat grass pulp on the afflicted area and cover with thin gauze. [SNH p.545]

Rash Ointment: Dr. Christopher's Healing Ointment: Made of comfrey, marshmallow, marigold, bee's wax, and oils, this is an antiseptic to be helpful with lesions, eczema (dry), poison ivy, inflamed surfaces, abrasions, burns, hemorrhoids, for bruises and swellings. Good to have on hand at all times. [HHH p.196]

General Instructions for both Poison Ivy and Poison Oak: Dr. Christopher used to say that the remedies for these plants grow right near the site of infestation. Burdock leaves and plantain leaves, as well as jewel weed where it grows, can help neutralize the poison. Mullein, houndstongue and lilac leaves will counter the irritation. A poultice of comfrey root, marshmallow root, slippery elm, aloe vera, and witch hazel, as many as you have available and in equal parts, can help heal the rash once it starts. Immersion in cold water is very effective. Internally, you can take blood-cleansing and -building herbs, such as chaparral, yellow dock, and echinacea, to help stop the reaction. Internally, lobelia and valerian or catnip or camomile can stop the pain. [EWH p.162]

Aloe Vera: It has been used to reduce the itch of insect bites, the itching and burning of poison ivy. [UW-Aloe Vera]

Mullein: It is also an excellent remedy for poison ivy or poison oak, etc. Dr. Christopher said that if you run into a patch of these plants, or perhaps stinging nettle, if you will look around the area, within view will be Mullein, plantain, or hound's tongue. Take only one of these leaves, bruise it, and rub it over the area. You will get immediate relief from the plant "sting" and not have to suffer for weeks with it. [UW-Mullein]

Itch Ointment: Dr. Christopher's Itch Ointment:  Use Itch Ointment, plantain ointment, or mullein ointment to help promote the relief of the itching and help aid in neutralizing the poisons. [NL 3-1]

Rash Ointment: Dr. Christopher's Healing Ointment: Comfrey, Marigold, and Marshmallow Root ointment: Another soothing and healing ointment for poison ivy, oak, etc. [NL 3-2]

Burdock: The newly crushed leaves of burdock help alleviate the pain and swelling and itching of poison oak or poison ivy or stinging nettle (Herbalist: April, 1977:125). Interestingly, Burdock usually grows nearby wherever these poisonous plants grow, as do Mullein and Plantain, both also specifics to relieve poison oak or ivy. The old rhyme goes Nettle in, dock out, dock rub nettle out. [NL 5-12]


1. Eraser on the Pencil: One man said that his little six-year-old was helping him in the garden and all of a sudden he ran into a stinging nettle. He let out a yip as he started to dig. He said, "I'll take care of it, Dad". He walked over to where some Mullein was, bruised it in his hand, rubbed it over the affected area, and smiled. "There it is," he said. "How did you know that?" his dad asked. "Well, you know, you told me when I was five last year about that. I remembered. I know what Mullein is and I know what stinging nettle is." Dr. Christopher said that the herbs will automatically neutralize the poison; the Lord has put an "eraser on the pencil." [UW-Mullein]

2. I Have Had a Long History of Poison Oak. I would get it from my children's clothing, our dog, or sitting on a couch the dog managed to get on for a short time. Once it went internal and I was in bed six weeks because I could not take cortisone, being in first six weeks of pregnancy. Once I got it, it just got worse and worse until I took cortisone. The doses became larger and larger. Large doses of Vitamin C and Niacin help a few times, then no longer helped, as did other things I tried. Twice I got blood poisoning in my arm from poison oak. I was desperately searching for a cure when someone led me to herbs and Naturalife. It took me about three years to find the cure but I did. As soon as I realize I have poison oak, I start taking licorice root, which is a natural cortisone and use Dr. Christopher's Rash Ointment. This dries it up in just a few days. I usually take rose hips for good measure. As for the blood poisoning, the first time my poison oak went into blood poisoning, I took penicillin. The second time, my arm was swollen, big red swollen, full of fever and painful. I put chickweed ointment [Itch Ointment] on a bandage, taped it on my arm over the affected area and went to bed. In the morning the swelling was gone, the pain was gone, the fever was gone, and the large red area was gone. This has really been exciting to me to find natural cures. [NL 1-8]

See Also:

Complete Tissue & Bone: Dr. Christopher's Bone, Flesh and Cartilage Formula
Itch Ointment: Dr. Christopher's Itch Ointment
Rash Ointment: Dr. Christopher's Healing Ointment

"Natural Healing with Herbs for a Healthier You"