|In and around my Ohio farm, poison Ivy thrives...with some vines in the woods 5" in diameter and reaching to the tops of 70' oak trees. I catch poison Ivy if I even look at it and have done so as far back as I can remember. This will sound crazy, but it worked for me as well as a number of other people. Years ago, a friend of my now deceased father worked for the gas company and ran a crew of 11 men. Their assignments in the field always resulted in them being exposed to a lot of poison ivy. My fathers friend heard of an old wives tale that in the spring, when the leaves are just beginning to emerge on poison ivy plants, if one takes a leaf "NO BIGGER than a squirrel's ear" and eats it, one will not get poison ivy that year. Having more courage than most, my fathers friend tried it. Although he had previously gotten poison ivy repeatedly every year, after eating the leaf, he did not develop a poison ivy rash that year..maybe a bump or two, but not the miserable rash that always comes with exposure. Much to their skepticism and dismay, my fathers friend proceeded to make his crew of 11 men, all of whom repeatedly got poison ivy rash every summer, eat the leaf in the early spring the following year. Subsequently, NONE of his crew, came down with the rash other than an occasional bump or two that year. They all performed this ritual year after year, and were to the man, ivy rash free. One day my father, who at the time had a bad poison ivy rash, saw his friend and the conversation of the 11 man crew came up. My father decided to try it the following year and much to his surprise and disbelief, it worked. His allergic reactions to the plant were gone. My father told me all of this when I was in my 30's and I was horrified. "What if you contracted poison ivy rash internally?", I asked. He said he didn't know about that, but it had not happened to him, his friend, or any of the 11 man crew. "Just make sure it's early spring with the leaves just emerging and to eat one no bigger than a squirrels ear...about the size of an average fingernail".
There was no way I was going to try that, but that year I had an exceptionally bad case of the rash and vowed I would try it the next year. I did so, and to my shock and glee, other than the few occasional bumps, my poison ivy rashes are a thing of the past. That was in my 30's...I'm now 67 and have been doing it every year since. I eat the leaf every year in the spring and am able to pick wild blackberries and black raspberries now (all of which on the farm are in TONS of poison ivy) without fear of the rash. I'm not a doctor, so I don't know if it works for everyone, but it worked for me, my father, his friend and his friends 11 man crew. I have told my story to other poison ivy sufferers, but they all think I'm crazy and are too afraid to try it. For those who suffer badly like I did, it's just food for thought.