This is the plant that you do not want to have a run in with...poison ivy!!
A few weeks ago, I took a walk down our dirt road breathing in all that the morning had to offer...fresh cut hay, mist on the river and a beautiful sunrise. I had my camera with me and saw a magnificent spider's web glistening with dew against golden beams of sunlight...I climbed down through the long grass of the ditch and caught that web just at the perfect angle!
Content with my morning photos, I skipped home to get ready for work...a few days later, the unmistakable itch of poison ivy began...then came the spread of an oozing rash. I was in agony...again...for the third time! I was "soothed" by my husband's response of "well, if you didn't go galavanting around the countryside wearing three quarter length yoga pants, you wouldn't have this problem!!"...he's sympathetic that way...wait until he get's another man-cold!
Let me tell you, it's awful...I contemplated using a palm sander to scratch my legs...I heard people mention javax as relief but wasn't comfortable with my skin melting off...I needed jewel weed...and fast!
Jewel weed is a wildflower known for it's skin healing properties and you will find it growing along streams and boggy areas...this plant is about 3-5 feet tall and blooms in early summer to late fall. Jewel weed is used to treat poison ivy, poison oak and rashes caused by various other plants as well as a soothing treatment for bug bites. This has been a saviour to many when they are in the grips of a poison ivy, itching frenzy. Some people will cut off a fresh piece of the plant, slice it open and rub the juice on affected skin...or boil the chopped up plant in water, to release the juices, strain the plant bits and freeze in ice cube trays for soothing relief as needed.
I chop the plant up and gently boil it in olive oil, then pour it all into jars...these old remedies seem to relieve the itch and helps clear up the affected skin. I did not get a photo of my rash as I wasn't sure that most people would be thrilled to see the weeping sores on my cankles! Let's put it this way, I'm not about to land many leg modelling gigs any time soon!
Jewel weed is easy to recognize due to it's silvery green stem and the whole plant may be used...
...the stem, which is hollow and contains most of the juice...
...and the flower.
So, if you choose to "galavant" around the countryside, make sure that you are wearing long pants and preferably boots to avoid coming into contact with the oils on the leaves...the oil is the rash causing culprit...you never know where that three leafed demon is lurking!
On a lighter note...this is the photo that I snapped on that fateful day...I think it was worth the pain...don't ya think?!