Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac Information Center

Homeopathic

Signs of an Emergency
About 15 percent of the 120 million Americans who are allergic to poison oak, poison ivy, and poison sumac are so highly sensitive that they break out in a rash and begin to swell in 4 to 12 hours instead of the normal 24 to 48. Their eyes may swell shut and blisters may erupt on their skin. This is one of the few true emergencies in dermatolgy says William L. Epstein, MD. Get to a hosipital as soon as possible. A shot of corticosteroids will bring the swelling down.

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RHUS TOX

Taking the homeopathic remedy RHUS TOX before poison ivy comes out may help to be a little more immune to getting it. Works for me. I take it all summer.
--(mcherb@NOSPAMptd.net) submitted May/13/1999

Rhus Tox was very effective for me. Within 24 hours of taking the first dose my itching and inflammation was noticeably reduced. I cleared up to the point of being able to conduct life normally after only 3 days, and I had a TERRIBLE case. I had it all around my eyes, eyelids, nose, cheeks, arms, and shoulders. I had to stay home from work 2 days because I was completely unpresentable. Rhus Tox worked so well that it dried up the rash on my face before it ever developed pus. The rash on my face simply stopped itching and dried up. I would recommend Rhus Tox homeopathic treatment to anyone. This is the second serious affliction that homeopathic remedies have cured for me. They work! My dosage: 3 pellets of 30c concentration, every hour or two the first day, then three times daily afterward. I never used half of my package - I was cured before I could use it.
--J. Souza (jsouza@NOSPAMchartermi.net) submitted 28/Jun/2001

People looking for assistance at this site should be very cautious. It appears that there are still people who subscribe to homeopathic treatments for a serious condition. Homeopathic medicine does not work. Never has, never will. The shot for preventing dermatitis reactions to poison oak was withdrawn many years ago due to the potential for toxicity and also, more importantly, because it failed in the FDA post drug release trials. Belive it or not, the FDA does hold all drug makers responsible for producing a product that has an efficacy greater than placebos. If a drug is not proven to be efficacious against the target culprit, it gets pulled.
Regarding soaps and cleansers; TECNU. This product has an excellent rating at removing the oils. I have been hospitalized with severe poison oak (inhaled smoke from buring brush) and they washed my body with TECNU and used Domesboro soaks. The typical antihistamines are apparently ineffective at treating the rask. The diphenhydramine type products (Benadryl) provide for sedation that may assist in getting sleep during major itching episodes. Attarax used to be widely used but has lost marketshare due to dubious efficacy. My experience has indicated that frequent cleaning of the risks areas during exposure is the best method to prevent outbreaks. Knowing that this is impractical, I have opted to try barrier creams and lotion with little success. The toxin, being a phenol based substance, needs to be disolved in either an alcohol or fatty oil type cleanser. This is for initial cleaning only. After the rash has surfaced, it is difficult to treat with OTCs. Corticosteroids administered early in the game reduce the body's reaction to the toxic agents. Oral treatments using another steroidal product such as methylprednisolone has remarkable curative potentials.
The Poison Control guidelines indicate avoiding any product that contains any of the following: alcohol, phenol, camphor, oily substances including aloe vera, metals such as aluminum and zinc and many plant preparations that contain various alkaloids that may worsen the reaction.
Personnel Protection: Use latex gloves under your work gloves. Wear either a Tyvek cleanroom garment which covers the arms, legs and body and is impervious to the oil and Tyvek boot guards or even climbing gaiters. Be sure to clean all tools and equipment after exposure and avoid the routine of cleaning yourself and then attending to your contaminated clothing. Do a quick wash with TECNU, which can be used without water, then proceed to clean clothing and equipment. Finally, perform a serious clean on all body surfaces. Further note: avoid using the restroom facilities prior to cleaning as the consequences can be unbearable.
--Richard Pontius (rhinos1@NOSPAMix.netcom.com) submitted 6/Nov/2000

In response to whoever posted the feedback titled "Rhus Tox" I just wanted the readers to know that contrary to the comment that homeopathic medicines don't work - they actually do, and have been proven. They are included in the British Pharmacopia, are prescribed by British and American allopathic doctors more and more precisely because they often do work fantastically for people. Their efficacy has been shown to be well above placebo.
On a more personal note, I just recently got a bad poison ivy rash, and after 2 days, it was just itching more and getting worse. Benadryl and Calamine weren't helping, so I went out and found Natra-Bio's Poison Oak/Poison Ivy Relief - a homeopathic medicine. After 4 doses - over only 2 hours - my rash was COMPLETELY GONE! The itching subsided after the first dose! Although I have always read that homeopathic remedies worked, I myself was somewhat sceptical about how effective they could really be. But, at least for this particular one - which is primarily composed of Rhus Toxicodendron 6X - I am a believer. Just wanted to present another side to the homeopathic story - one with some real evidence. I personally have never tried building up immunization - but I found this info at the American Association of Dermotologists site:
"Immunization Investigators have found that most people could be immunized against poison ivy through prescription pills. These pills contain gradually increasing amounts of active extract from the plants. However, this procedure can take four months to achieve a reasonable degree of "hyposensitization." In addition, the medication must be continued over a long period of time and it can often cause uncomfortable side effects. This procedure is recommended only if the doses are given before contact with the plant, and only for individuals, such as firefighters, who must live or work in areas where they come into constant contact with poison ivy. Consult your dermatologist for his or her advice on whether you should consider immunization."
Sounds pretty similiar to the idea of boiling the leaves, then taking a few drops a day.... although a prescription pill is obviously going to be standardized and safer...
-- M. Lawell (bluetabby2@NOSPAMaol.com) submitted 25/Jun/2001

I am highly allergic to PI. From initial itch to full healing of the blister scabs, it takes me 6 weeks to recover from an exposure. I have tried At least a dozen over-the-counter treatments, including calamine, caladryl, zyradryl, ivydry, and domebro, with little to no benefit. I have found a very good itch reliever: PrameGel, but it doesn't dry up the blisters. For drying it up, the only product I have found which works appears to be mixed up at a local pharmacy. It is called Rhus-Tox, and is a paste-like suspension. With aggressive treatment, I can shorten my period of suffering from 6 weeks to 2 using the Rhus-Tox, and prevent the blisters from ever weeping. This product has several weaknesses: it is very runny, and difficult to apply; it has only a limited effect on the itching; it irritates the skin when applied more than 3 times a day; and the effectiveness drops off significantly after about 3 months. Despite these problems, the 4 week earlier recovery is worth it. This product appears to be unrelated to the homeopathic pills of the same name. I have not tried either Zanfel or jewelweed, so cannot compare its effectiveness to them.
-- Dave Cleveland (dcleve@NOSPAMqis.net) submitted 20/Jun/2001

Hi, I am currently suffering from the poison ivy. My family swears by the Rhus Toxis homeopathic pills, I am beginning with that today, Day 5 since exposure. Just wanted to send out a warning about bleaching your skin to get rid of the rash. My mom did this as a teenager and caused herself decades of misery and skin problems. Her hands have finally gone back to normal and she is nearing 60. Please be careful with bleach, it may absolutely ruin sensitive skin. 6 weeks of poison ivy discomfort is far better than 30 years of hyper-sensitive skin due to poor treatment. Be warned.
--"emily" (no email provided) submitted 10/Apr/2002

First off, Once the Oils have been washed away physical contact of breakout points puss, etc. can not spread the rash to you or to anyone else!! It is in your body though and can spread through your blood system to other parts of your body for up to three weeks. I'd say go with steriod cream if it's really getting messy or the pills if it's getting really really out of control. One thing I haven't seen here is a homeopathic product called rhustox4x from Washington homeopathic products, inc. I know, you are saying that's not going to work. Well I said the same thing but I used to break out in sections spaning anywhere from 6 to 12 inches on my arms legs and even once my face right next to my eye. Now when I see some break out points I start taking the Rhustox4x and I only have a few mildly ichy blemishes that go away within a week or less. The first time I figured I had just gotten lucky, but every time since I haven't had more then a few blemishes and that w!as it!!!! My last test of the product was on a backpacking trip. I went off for two days(didn't shower on the trip) and when I came back I saw break out points. I washed everything took the Rhustox4x and tada the breaks didn't get worse the itching subsided and it all went away. In short try the stuff!!!!!!! It worked for me
--"Charles Fico" (charlesdfico@NOSPAMhotmail.com) submitted 16/Jun/2002

Hi. I was just looking around the site (http://poisonivy.aesir.com/cures.html) and down to the comments on Rhus tox. The first comment is by someone who is saying that the homeopathic dose of Rhus tox. Does not work "never has, never will". Then he goes on to talk about the shot. The two are totally different and it's misleading to the reader to have the two topics in one paragraph. Also, his reference to the FDA pulling products that are not proven is true - and perhaps that is why the pulled the shot, I don't know. But something he doesn't mention (probably because he didn't know it) was that Rhus toxicodendron and all homeopathic medicines are registered with the FDA and regulated under the Food and Drug Act (of 1938). All remedies must be manufactured to strict guidelines which are layed out in the Homeopathic Pharmacopoea of the United States which is the officially recognized (by the FDA) compendium to homeopathic manufacture in the US. All homeopathic pharmacies are inspected to the same standards as other "conventional" pharmacies, so, again, these comments of his were very misleading. Per fda law, homeopathic manufacturers are permitted to claim "No Known Side-Effects" on all homeopathic OTC medicines (of which Rhus tox 3x & up is one) because there are no know side-effects. Death may result from someone eating a leaf of posion ivy, but no death has ever resulted from someone taking a OTC Rhus toxicodendron homeopathic dilution. Also, I work for one of the homeopathic manufacturers in the US. We have been making our Poison Ivy Pills since 1920 (at least) and have never had a claim by a customer that the poison ivy pills caused them any harm that was cause to pursue. Anyway, its a bit dishearening to see uneducated people trying to scare people away from something that has helped thousands and thousands of people (our company alone has over 25,000 satisfied customers since 1995). I hope the information has been useful, and perhaps you can post it above, below or in place of my comrad's uneducated remarks. Many Thanks, Catherine Clark
--Homeopathy Works (homeopathysales@NOSPAMstargate.net) submitted 14/Nov/2002
Editor: The organization is my fault. I just do not understand enough about this stuff. Thanks for you information!

Great web site! I've gotten poison ivy all my life but usually not that bad. However, I picked up some pi oil on my husband's clothes (he was cleaning up some brush) and I ended up with it. Before I even realized I had it, I had scratched an open sore on my arm. The sore didn't get infected but within a couple of days I was very sick. I was nauseated all the time, my sugar level kept dropping (my husband is diabetic so he checked my glucose with his machine, it was 49),my palms were even sweating. I'd get a rapid heartbeat and I felt like I had a fever. The itching was so bad my husband drove to town (20 miles away) at 6 a.m. to get me some medicine. He talked to the pharmacist and she told him to have me take a warm shower washing with antibacterial soap, dry off with a hair dryer, use Calagel (a Tecnu product) and dry the gel with a hair dryer. That stopped the itching in its tracks for a minimum of 8-12 hours. She also recommended Benadryl which really knocked me for a loop. The itching stopped but the internal sickness continued so I ended up going to our doctor. She prescribed Arnica Montana 30x, to help with the internal swelling and some other blood cleaners and things to calm my stomach. While I was at the health food store getting these items I talked to the owner who also suggested that I get some Poison Ivy/Oak tablets. This is a homeopathic remedy that includes Rhus Tox (abbrev.). I took both the Arnica and the Rhus Tox as soon as I paid for them. Within 4 hours I felt like a brand new person, and I was really sick prior to that. I took this for about 10 days before I ran out of the Rhus Tox, and the following day I started feeling poorly again, nothing like I did at first but that told me I still have the pi in my system so i'm getting more pills tomorrow. This isn't an overnight cure but it sure helped me! I am wondering though, has anyone else had symptoms like this or could it be the pi in combination with something else? I was feeling! Great before I got the pi. The doctor ordered a cbc but I haven't gotten the results back yet. I am rarely ill with anything so i'm not used to feeling this bad and am not dealing with it well. Nadine
--"nadine" (dnc@NOSPAMnetpluscom.com) submitted 3/Feb/2003

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Oral Ivy

Oral Ivy, listed in your "Products" section, is a very safe and effective homeopathic remedy for both prevention and treatment of poison ivy and its nasty relations. Our property has so much poison ivy that it would be impractical to spray it all, so I've taken Oral Ivy for years to protect me not only from direct contact, but also from the resin adherring to pets, clothing, and equipment.
-- Judy Feller (judyf@NOSPAMcsrlink.net) submitted Jul/13/1999

I am a soil scientist, with regular exposure to dense thickets of poison ivy, and poison ivy roots severed in backhoe pits that I must climb into. My best remedy is Oral Ivy, which replaces my childhood prevention of two other product that were discontinued (ImmunOak, and IvyTox).
-- Laurel in Pennsylvania (SOILSERV@NOSPAMaol.com) submitted May/17/2000

It's funny, I've had a problem with ivy for a while but refuse to move cause it is all over this area. i've been using oral ivy for about 7 months and want to say that for me it works. without changing my lifestyle, I can say that I have not had a case of the ivy during this period. In '99 I had it three times even had to go to the doctor once. miserable! I haven't dove into any or rolled in it just to see if this product works, but the places I got it the year before, I have been. This past week my wife had a patch on her leg. which I doctored for her (she won't take oral ivy) and slept with, but no rash for me. Can't say it works for everybody but I'm fixing to find a patch and roll in it!
--Mike Brunnemann (majsb@NOSPAMwcnet.net) submitted 9/Nov/2000

I read all your articles and was surprised to see that no one recommend Oral Ivy. Oral Ivy is a natural homeopathic liquid that you drink to both prevent and cure poison oak. I get poison oak all the time...mostly from my dogs and by taking Oral Ivy I have gained and immunity to it. And when you do get it you just place 10 drops in water every two hours and it takes the swelling and itch away!
--Bruce & Connie Filben (filben@NOSPAMpacific.net submitted 01/Aug/2003

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Hylands

I have suffered in major ways from poison ivy over the years. The product that has helped the most, amazingly so, and seems to have help me build up an immunity is, is one from the homeopathic line of Hylands. It's simply called "Poison Ivy/Oak." I have taken the pills upon exposure, but never the recommended dose as I am sensitive to medicine and think smaller doses have worked for me. Homeopathy may not work for everyone, but it has made my life much less miserable. I also know that bathing with octagon soap right after working in the yard is a local folk remedy that seems to help as well for when you touch it. (I used to get it without even touching it :) )
--Ruth (mitlov@NOSPAMnaxs.net) submitted 30/Oct/2000

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Shot to Prevent Poison Ivy

Have you heard of shot for poison ivy. It is supposed to prevent poison ivy, from ever happening! I thought I heard something about it but I don't what it is. It could be experimental! Well just write back to me if you know anything new on this subject. Thank you!
--(EliteReb1@NOSPAMaol.com) submitted Aug/07/1999

I have experiemented with natural healing for at least 30 years. i started getting poison ivy regularly about 10 years ago when i joined a cross country running club. i tried my old remedy that i have used for anything that is open or can be and has poison that needs to be drawn from it. it is cream of tarter. it you watch the area and wait for it to open and ooze or you can usually open it with something abrasive like rubbing it with a washcloth, then mix a paste ( not too firm and not too watery) with the tarter and apply it to the oozing area. it will cling to it as long as there is poison to draw but it helps to put a bandage/bandaid on if possible.tarter paste can be used for so many things-treated my daughter for scorpion sting(no pain!)-treated blood poisoning from cut in foot(red line up to knee!)and tarter drew it down with no dr. visit.put on fresh wounds so they will not get infected and they heal well. i have many tarter stories. the treatment for ivy probably needs to be repeated each morning and each evening by washing the area and reapplying fresh tarter. i also rub the area with a washcloth each time to bring up the oils. cream of tarter is derived from grapes. it is scraped from wine containers after wine is made. hope this helps someone.let me know if you have any info on prevention-besides not going in the woods! i could not live without the woods! i have heard there is a new preventive shot. please get back if you know anything. thanks, studwitch
--(STUDWITCH@NOSPAMaol.com) submitted Sep/01/1999
Editor note: Since both questions are similar, I will try and answer what I know currently about prevention. Any other answers are appreciated.

  • www.ivyblock.com ... works if you remember to put it on prior to exposure. Not really valid for me because I am in the woods and know what it looks like but get most of mine from my dog's fur. Others are listed on this page that are similar.
  • www.poison-ivy-protection.com Oral Ivy which I havn't used but apparently makes you less sensitive the longer you use it. I have heard good things from others that used it. My research turned up some gov papers that Rhus Tox treatment works for most people but the side effect is death! ... very very rare but I was too chicken to try it given that.
  • www.Zanfel.com ... this will remove the oil from the skin even after it has bonded. I used it 8 days after my rash was getting worse and had almost immediate relief. So I now just keep a jar around and when I notice a rash... I just put it on and wash it off and there goes the problem.

Comments: thanks jim! i just got off the phone with the creator of zanfel. he tells me it is likened to shampoo so i think i will try it. he also tells me that the shot has been on market for about 2 years and was removed because people were dying! i believe it was kidney related. he also informed me that his products will soon be on the shelf at your local drugstore. i am very happy to hear about this. not even the blair witch could keep me out of the woods! thanks again and keep in touch with new stuff - --(STUDWITCH@NOSPAMaol.com) submitted Sep/03/1999

As I was reading the remedies I came across an article asking about the shot for poison ivy etc. The shot's that they give is very risky. It can cause serious liver damage. They dont even like to give it anymore. I also read about a couple who used a hair dryer to stop itching. it does stop the itching but it can also make it seep. Finaly, someone mentioned using chlorine or clorox. this does make it dry up qui cker but it also make you more prone to it.(get it easier)
--(r. wilson) submitted May/5/2000

My mother heard about a way to prevent poison ivy that I found quite unbelievable (as did she). One of her friends told her about an "alternative Indian doctor" she visited. The man said when poison ivey plant begin sprouting in the spring (February to March) collect a small very young green leaf from the plant, mash it against your front teeth, then swallow it. This act should be performed for five days in a row, no more, no less. If you forget a day, wait until next year and try again - it must be performed for five consecutive days only one time during the early spring. Have you ever heard of this? My mother is extremely reactive to poison ivey and would love to be immune, but this sounds totally nuts - we're doing some research. By the way, her friend has been performing this ritual for the past 10 years and hasn't had a problem since. She said she had horrible problems with the vine before beginning the "treatments". What do you think?
--(Ontheporch@aol.com) submitted Jun/5/2000
Comments: I also think it sounds nuts and from what I have determined from others on the web, this is how some people that are extremely sensitive to urushiol have died.

As for building up an immunity to poison plants by eating one leaf a year, I do NOT suggest that. My younger sister ate poison ivy to prove that she was not allergic to it and had a massive reaction. (And truthfully I'm still laughing ten years later.) One person had asked about a five-leaved poison plant, and that is what I have always been told is poison oak. It has overrun my yard, climbed up my pecan trees with vines as thick as my wrists, and no matter how much I do to get rid of it, it comes back over and over again. I am highly allergic to it, I don't even have to touch it to have a reaction, but I get out there and pull it up anyway, since if I leave it alone, I'll still catch it, I might as well catch it while I am killing it. I have noticed that it seems to change somewhat, sometimes the vines and leaves are a gorgeous red, sometimes the leaevs round out a bit from their normally pointed state. The best way I can describe this is that the leaves look much like marijuana leaves, only there are always only five leaves in a cluster. It's actually very pretty climbing up my trees, but, alas, it has to go. In my case, the vines have actually attached themselves to the bark of the pecan trees, and pulling them off ! is nearly impossible, so what I do is cut the vine in half toward the bottom of the tree and try to dig up the roots (which spread underground and sprout new plants yards away), but be warned that all of the leaves in the treetop will turn brown and fall off after you sever the vine, and the dead leaves littering the ground can still give you a rash. I can promise you that these five leaved plants DO cause a skin reaction.
--Barb Smith (barbieblue@NOSPAMivillage.com) submitted 9/Aug/2000

Recently, I was talking with a guy who was raised out in the country where poison ivy is VERY PLENTIFUL. He told of his grandmother's home remedy for it. She would take poison ivy leaves and boil them in water, then bottle what she brewed. Every day she would put a couple of drops of this stuff in everyone's coffee, water, etc. He said this gave the family a level of immunity from catching poison ivy... or if they did catch it, it was always a very mild case. This was the first time I had ever heard of this sort of thing. Has anyone else ever heard of it... or anything like it?
--Bill Sebastian (bsebast@NOSPAMairmail.net) submitted 28/Jul/2000
Editor: Do not do this! ... Read Barb Smith's comment above.

I have been told by a trustworthy authority, that if you drink the milk of goats which have eaten poison ivy, you will become immune.
--Dean Brunel (Slaveng@NOSPAMthecia.net) submitted 15/Oct/2000

In the early 1980's, I was able to get a vaccination against poison ivy, oak, etc. It was called ivy-all, and it was a series of three shots. I would go get it in February before I was exposed, and it would last all year, sometimes 2 years. It worked great. Now I am unable to find this vaccine and a nurse told me they took it off the market because it did not work. It did so work!! Any suggestions on where this vaccine might be available?
--"gbrodie@NOSPAMtarrantcounty.com" (no email provided) submitted 25/Sep/2001

Just a comment on the Poison Ivy shots. I had them when I was a kid. One a week for 9 weeks, then the next year one a week for 8, etc. etc. I still get it just as badly as before. Recently I asked my doctor and to corroborate others' comments the shot(I don't know the medicinal name) was taken off the market for a couple of reasons. First, in extremely rare cases, kidney problems developed, but it was mostly as in my case, it just didn't work effectively in most cases. Currently the only thing medicinal product I am aware of that can be prescribed is the steroid Pregnizone(sp?).
--"Jeff S" (no email provided) submitted 19/Jun/2002

I have been allergic to poison oak, ivy & sumac for as long as I can remember, and we always lived in the country (I live in Texas). Pure lye soap is a great drying agent for the horrible itchy bubbles. Although not a drastic as bleach or chlorine, it does help w/ itching and dries out the rash pretty well. Aloe vera plant is good just cut the stem in half and rub, rub, rub. Other than that-I've taken so many Cortisone shots, Medrol Dose-paks, Prednisone, etc. I should be a man by now. (All of which are fairly effective) Now my horror story... One summer when I was 15, I took the preventative shot to avoid getting the rash as I always managed to do each summer. My father always took the shots and they worked for him, so why not? Turns out I had already gotten into some poison oak or ivy when I got the shot, of course I didn't know it, but it caused the shot to have an adverse affect on me. I swelled up like a hot air balloon, eyes swelled shut, ear canals shut, I had it in the roof of my mouth, on my scalp, the palms of my hands, bottoms of my feet and other unmentionable places... Ouch!!! It was awful, I wanted to die. After the initial horrible part of it that lasted about 3 weeks, I ended up having it for about 6 months somewhere on my body, mostly on my legs. It finally worked it's way out of my system. Needles to say I've never tried getting the shots again. I'm itching just typing this up! Also, if it's in your yard and you want to rid yourself of this stuff and clearly don't want to touch it to pull it up or cut it up, pour salt on the base of it and it will kill it pretty quickly, and it's a safe remedy for kids or pets if they get into it.
--"Lisa" (lisa_mathews@NOSPAMhotmail.com) submitted 4/Oct/2002
Editor: Thanks. Great information!

I am 41 years old and have had severe reactions to poison ivy since childhood. I started taking the poison ivy shots manufactured by Parke Davis when I was 20 or so. They were the miracle cure/prevention. 10 years ago or so, the FDA decided Parke Davis did not have the proper testing/paperwork and ordered extensive research before they could extend their product's manufacture. The cost was astronomical, and they decided to drop the vaccine from their line. All the vaccine was, was the urushoil in a deadened state. I had researched all of this years ago, and even went to other states to get the "last" of their vaccine. At the time, someone was working on a new prototype of vaccine. Is this the vaccine I just read about causing deaths? I am currently broke out from head to toe again. I know all of the home cures, and have tried them all. What I have not tried is the oral homeopathic preventative treatment. My husband works as a lineman for a power company and they use!d to supply their workers with this years ago, but dropped that about the same time Parke Davis dropped their vaccine. If you know of a new vaccine let me know asap. In the meantime, I'll stick with the old treatments that are not miracles & also order the oral stuff. Thanks for the site.
--"L Webb" (lwebb@NOSPAMsocket.net) submitted 5/Dec/2002

[Top]

Poison Oak

For a living I do manual weed control by root extraction mostly on blackberries, bamboo, and poison oak. Talk about job security! When I came to the Pacific Northwest 23 years ago I had some reaction to it but lived on a small sheep ranch which had some milking goats. First of all, for those of you who may be allergic to milk it may be cow's milk. Goat milk has smaller fat globules, "naturally pasteurized", and is far more easily digested. It seems the goats ate poison oak and produced antibodies for their kids and I got immunized from drinking the milk. It does not work for everyone. We each have a different body chemistry and it did not work for a neighbor. I must renew my immunity each spring by handling it and eating it. (It is said that Native Americans ate it.) Obviously, I can not recommend this to anyone. Immunity is not always for life: some immune people suddenly start reacting very badly. Since I do not get it I am more concerned with contaminating others. Cold water spray will congeal the oil and flush it off. I use hot soapy water to wash my hands and tools. If the growth is thick, disposable (or separately washable) coveralls are usefull. Happy humus !! (organic matter not chickpea food)
--"David G. Hoffman" (fixit@NOSPAMefn.org) submitted 27/Aug/2001
Editor: As David said! NOT recommended!

My experience with contracting poison ivy, oak or sumac; and even stuff some people call cow-itch. I'm allergic to all four types. I used to be severely allergic to the rash.But now only mild. Heres what I did. I started working in the woods Pulpwooding. That's only part of the cure. See working in the woods daily and always handling the weed I would break out with the rash. But gradually as I continued to handle weeds day by day the rash was no longer a severe problem. So my cure: is handle the poison weed every day.It will cause one to have allergic reactions in the beginning but soon, some day, one will be immune to it.
--"david wilson" (gopherpyle@NOSPAMhotmail.com) submitted 25/May/2002

What information can you give me on immunity to Poison Oak? I've been talking with climbers from another town where the whole town seems to be convinced everyone becomes more sensitive with exposure. They've become poison oak phobics. I've found the opposite to be true. I have been immune to poison oak ever since junior high at which time I was reexposed so many times I had it from head-to-toe for a year. I am now 46 an my immunity is to the extent that last summer to demonstrate to a phobic, I crushed a leaf into the underside of my wrist for about a minute. My reaction was a mild quarter size rash that lasted a week. My son and climbing partner are also immune to the point that we walk through it wearing shorts and can pull it out by hand without getting a rash, or if we do it usually in the early spring; minor, isolated, does not spread, and is gone in three days. Greg
--gorton (borton@NOSPAMwizzards.net) submitted 21/Jun/2002
Editor: In my own case I have become more sensitive with exposure. Others have also stated on this site that they were once immune and then got it very bad while showing their immunity. I agree there is nothing to be phobic about... just wash off with soap and water if you think you may have come in contact within the first 15 mins for best results. I am always in the stuff and the majority of the time I don't get it because I am careful around the plants when killing/removing them. In my case I am very alergic to urushiol.

Well, I had, and I say I had an incredible allergy in my very much younger years to poison oak. Eyes swollen shut and blood poisoning threatening my leg. I was in the 5th grade, no biggy. I got married and we were planning to move to a mountain property that was landscaped with poison oak. Our labradeor retreavor loved it there. Lots of bushes (poison oak) for the frisbee to get tangled up in. Not only was I was in danger but I immediately got the very familiar rash. Don't remember my info source, but I purchased, over the counter what was called poison oak extract. I took something like one drop a day in water for so many days, two drops in water for so many days and so forth. I believe that the was in 1970 I have not had poison oak since. I lived on the same property, with the same dog, for six years. I tried to find some of the same poison oak extract for a friend who's 21 year old son works in the woods and is very allergic to poison oak. Is the ext ract available anywhere? Please let me know. Thank you, Lynne
--"Lynne" (molasses27@NOSPAMhotmail.com) submitted 28/Apr/2003

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St Johns Wort Extract

St. John's wort extract, liquid suspension, mixed with liquid or under the tongue. I believe in the hot shower method to relieve itching, and calamine lotion for weeping. I get my rashes from my labrador, now I walk him, instead of letting him chase bunnies.
--"Beverly Propst" (luckylabrador@NOSPAMlycos.com) submitted 7/Sep/2002

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Herbalist Information

About 6 years ago I move to CT. The first spring I went about my gardening as usual and you guessed it "Came in touch with poison ivy" I tried the usual over counter products and honestly they didn't help which is why I developed my own product. Thankfully, I'm an herbalist so putting a formula together was not a problem. More importantly it provided me with immediate relief and within a few days the blistering itchy rash was gone. No lie - I now supply it to local health food stores and you can reach me at the site below for more info.
--"Ruth Abbott" (ruth@NOSPAMrabbottsremedies.com) submitted 24/Feb/2003
Editor: Send email to address above is what I believe Ruth ment as there was no URL or address provided.

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NAET

I am a mother of 5 and love to garden. We have lived in our home for 7 years and I have had poison oak every summer.It is such a hopeless feeling when you see you have it again and you are unsure of where you got it from. I am so tired of being on prednisone. I know it is so terrible on your body. But supposedly it goes systemic on me every time. Last month (still winter) I got it again. I called my mother in law in tears. She persuaded me to go see someone who was trained in naet. I got on the internet and found who looked the most qualified. He got me in the next morning and as I was in his office I thought it was so bizarre and I was being taken advantage of. I was so desperate though. I asked him how long until it would leave my body and he did muscle testing on me and told me after the third try. I was extremely doubtful but decided to go through with it. It worked. Naet eliminates your allergies. Rather than me explaining it to you just look it up and study it for yourself and make your own decision. I had never heard of this treatment before. Good luck ...I feel for you.
--"mother of 5" (no email provided) submitted 2/Apr/2003
Editor: I have not hear of this before. NAET stands for Nambudripadís Allergy Elimination Techniques I gather.

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Rabbott Remedy

I know of nothing better than a remedy I purchased from a website Rabbott Remedies. They make a natural formula consisting of all the top ingredients. All I know is that it works great and I am very happy I found this product.
--"Tom" (Tniessen@NOSPAMbaxgroup.com) submitted 29/Apr/2003

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Natra-Bio

My 4 year old son gets a very bad case of poison ivy if he goes near it, he breaks out from head to toe.The first two times he's gotten it we've had to get a prescription from the doctor for prelone. The prelone works good but he hates the taste and he has to take it for three weeks to be weaned off slowly. He got poison ivy last week again, a friend told me about a homeopathic medicine she used( natra-bio poison oak/poison ivy relief.) on her son's poison oak and he hasn't had it since! I started the natra-bio on saturday afternoon, gave him 7 drops under the toungue every 30 minutes for 2 hours. Sunday morning it was better! He took three doses sunday, and today (monday) it is almost gone!!! This stuff works, I will never use anything else.
--"sherry" (leallen@NOSPAMmicrocore.net) submitted 13/May/2003
Editor: The product from www.natrabio.com can be here.

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