Herbal Medicine Kit – The Terrible Three!

Leaves of three I did not see
and now I have Poison Ivy…

~ Beverly R. Titus

Welcome Back…

…to another posting of the Herbal Medicine Kit.  Today we are learning about and discussing Poison Ivy, Poison Oak and Sumac.  We will discuss in more depth the herbs Grindelia & Comfrey.  We will also be making several herbal remedies; Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac Remedy, Paste & Bath!

Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac – The Terrible 3!

The Terrible 3!

Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac are famous for the itching and oozing rashes they can cause.  Despite their names, these plants are not really poisonous at all…NO, Really!!  The danger lies in an allergen called urushiolir.

These plants are all related; so if you are one of the unlucky people to be allergic to one…you will be allergic most likely, to all three.

 The itching, blistering  and oozing rash usually associated with these Terrible Three plants appears anytime from a few hours of exposure to several days after exposure.

Other possible symptoms also may include nausea, tiredness, mental disorientation and fever.  Very bad cases can also cause breathing difficulties and kidney damage, requiring medical intervention.

And some people….don’t react AT ALL to these plants!

Poison Ivy Arm Rash

John and I had personal experience with our friends…the Leaves of Three when we went back to our Homestead in May.  Our acre of land was covered with beautiful green vegetation growing beneath our towering black oak trees.  Never having seen Poison Ivy as a kid we weren’t aware that we were traipsing through this wicked stuff for over 4 days, cutting and trimming and weeding and raking…well, you get the picture!

 Low and behold about 3 days later when we arrived back home we both broke out in odd rashes.  John’s was quite severe and lasted almost 2 months, mine was very mild and had the same duration.  We opted to NOT go to the Doctors because it seems the medicine of choice for them is steroids and we didn’t believe that would be beneficial to us…only a band-aid and side affects on top of that!

Oozing Poison Ivy Rash

The best way to protect yourself from Poison ivy, Oak and Sumac is to stay away from them…of course!  But if you aren’t aware of what they look like that is hard.  Become knowledgeable…you never know when you will run into them!

Be able to identify the Terrible 3!

Some Precautions to take:

Wear protective clothing, on arms and legs.  Wear gloves and heavy shoes.  Be prepared to throw these clothes away as the oils from the plants can stay imbedded into the fibers even after multiple, multiple washings.

If you do get the oils on your skin, wash immediately in COLD water and soap.  DO NOT use hot water as we automatically think of doing.  The heat from the water will open up your pores and push the oils in and even cause them to spread.

Herbs to the Rescue!

I find it interesting that one of the herbs used to alleviate the pain and itching from the Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac grows near it…Grindelia.  I took pictures of it on our property not knowing at the time what it was.  Just that it was gorgeous.


Several Herbs are very helpful and beneficial for treating Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac; Grindelia, Plantain, Comfrey, Jewelweed.


More Helpful Tips:

 Plantain poultices help to immediately reduce swelling and itching.  Jewelweed helps to effectively fight reactions.

Comfrey and Aloe Vera promote healing and help soothe the skin irritated by the allergic reactions.

A lukewarm bath of oatmeal, herbs and Epsom salts can soothe and give relief.

For oozing rashes, mix herbal paste with ground oatmeal and cover the rash.

Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac Remedy

Click HERE to print


 Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac Paste

Click HERE to print



 Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac Bath

Click HERE to print




 Recap:  Today we looked a various herbs that help with allergic reactions to Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac.  We made several herbal remedies.

 Looking ahead:  Next week we will be looking at, and discussing Shock.  We will be making a Rescue Remedy and also a Lavender Compress.

Reminder:  Gather your herbs and in this case some flowers; rock rose, impatiens, clematis, star of bethlehem and cherry plum, and your lavender!!

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Modern Homesteaders

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