POISON OAK/IVY: History & Case Study
AromaHerbal Treatments for Poison Oak Rash, and other Itches
(part of a Series)

by Jeanne Rose

AromaHerbal treatments for Poison Oak rash (and any other itching skin problems) include continual application of soothing, anti-inflammatory hydrosols, essential oils, and herbal preparations as well as plenty of herbal baths or soaks, depending on the extent to which the rash has spread. These treatments are outlined in many places including our books and Herbal Studies Course, Herbal Classes and Courses. Immediately after suspected infection, the skin should be washed with essential oil of Thuja plicata diluted in oil. Thuja plicata is a skin irritant and so should definitely be diluted. Use only 5 drops per ounce of oil.

Hydrosol of Artemisia arborescens or Owyhee is anti-inflammatory and soothing to irritated skin. Spray with this hydrosol on the affected area regularly. A hydrosol is a result of the distillation process and has the properties of both the water soluble parts of the plant and the essential oil. Misters, which are simply essential oil in water, do not have the same therapeutic properties as a hydrosol.

The soothing and healing effects of Aloe Vera gel can be boosted with the addition of pure essential oils. Essential oils recommended for irritated, itching skin include Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary), Salvia officinalis (Sage), Mentha x piperita (Peppermint), Pelargonium graveolens (Geranium), Lavandula angustifolia (Lavender), Chamaemelum nobile (Roman Chamomile), Commiphora molmol (Myrrh), and Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree). Use only one oil or make a blend to be added to the gel. Use 10 drops of essential oil per ounce of Aloe Vera gel. Apply a bit to affected areas regularly and then spray with lightly with Artemisia arborescens or Owyhee (Artemisia ludoviciana) hydrosol. (Available at our Aromatherapy Products store.)

Essential oils and herbs can be used together in baths or soaks to ease the irritation of Poison Oak rash. 10 drops of any of the anti-itch essential oils can be added to bath water, or, to increase the soothing affects of essential oils, add them to bath oils. Natural Bath oils relieve itchiness. Oil-water compress can reduce inflammation, itching, irritation and other skin discomforts. Floating or dispersible bath oils are easily made at home. Floating oils will sit on top of the water, while dispersible oils incorporate into the bath. Both are effective in relieving the itch.

—  The following recipes are by Jeanne Rose  — 

Basic Floating Oil Recipe
1/4 cup each Sesame oil, Safflower oil, Soy oil, Peanut oil, Almond oil
1/4 oz essential oil of Lavender or Tea Tree
Pour 1/2 cup of the Floating Bath Oil under full force of hot tub water, soak at least 20 minutes. Pat dry.  
   —  From Jeanne Rose's Herbal Body Book by Jeanne Rose


Water Dispersible Bath Oil Basic Recipe
1. Melt 1/4 cup hydrous lanolin and add 1/2 cup mixed vegetable oils, stirring all the time.
2. Slowly add 1/2 cup unscented rubbing alcohol in which 1 oz essential oil has been dissolved.
3. Shake together and add to the bath.
   —  From Jeanne Rose's Herbal Body Book by Jeanne Rose


AromaHerbal baths that combine healing herbs with essential oils are also effective. To use AromaHerbal Baths, first make your mixture of herbs, then add essential oils. Store in a covered jar. When you are ready for your AromaHerbal bath, stuff a muslin bag with the herbs and toss it in the tub. Use the wet, herb stuffed bag as a compress for itchy parts. … from Spa/Skin Booklet


Field & Flower Bath
Mix together 1 cup Lavender flowers, 1/2 cup bitter orange peel, 1/4 cup each of Thyme, Raspberry leaf, Wild Rose leaf, White Willow bark, Borage, Mint, Woodruff, Rosemary, and Sage. Add a few crushed cloves and Calamus. Add 20 drops Lavender and 5 drops Geranium oil. This is enough for 4-5 Baths.     
   —  From Herbs & Things by Jeanne Rose


Seawater Bath
To warm bath add 1/2 cup sea salt and 1/2 cup combination of kelps or powdered kelp bought at health food store. 1-2 drops of Seaweed absolute could also be added, or used in place of the Seaweed.
   —  From Herbs & Things by Jeanne Rose


by Walt Franklin, Rexville, NY

Moist & shady ground stem
succulent ruby-throat probing
nectar of Touch-Me-Nots
orange blossoms drooping with weight
of poetry and science.
Cool liquid soothing an ivy rash
seedpods patient for a touch
to burst their progeny
on the world past raindrops
light-jewels clinging
to glaucous leaves
into glades where Puck & Bottom play
Titania & Oberon rule.
   —from The Wild Foods Forum, Sept/Oct. 1995


Travel & First Aid Kit

5) 1-dram vials filled with the finest quality pure essential oils for all your travel and simple first-aid needs. Contains all-use Lavender, digestive Peppermint,  healing Tea Tree, respiratory Eucalyptus and stimulating Rosemary and a laminated card that details the use of the oils for
35 conditions.

Give help to friends, buy one for you!

.... $33 includes S&H from the APP


Products, books and aromatherapy kits available at www.jeannerose.net
or by special order. Please call 415-564-6785
Poison Oak formula – 2 oz $25.00
Floating Bath Oil for Poison Oak - 4 oz $25.00
Bruise Juice© - 8 oz $32


Poison Oak Case Study
by B.B.

     My knitter came to work and had a terrible case of Poison Ivy. I suggested that she use a Jewelweed infusion to wash the Poison Ivy as that has been a historical cure taught to the settlers by the American Indian. My son, who lives in the area, knows Poison Ivy, but in any case, I carefully described what Poison Ivy looks like, telling him that Jewelweed lives always in close connection to the Poison Ivy. My son didn't hear the part of the story that I was describing Poison Ivy, he only heard the description. Even though he knew better, he and my knitter went out and picked three large bags of plants.   
     When I opened the bags, each was filled with the most beautiful cuttings of Poison Ivy with absolutely no Jewelweed. So we had to not only treat the knitter and my son, but also the entire house. The treatment consisted of scrubbing all surfaces of the car, the doorknobs, and the door jams with alcohol. We used rubbing alcohol that is stronger than green soap and water. Then we washed all the skin surfaces with soap and water and a strong solution of Jewelweed. The Jewelweed solution was also frozen in an ice cube tray, labeled, and used for subsequent treatment externally on the irritated skin.

Source: Herbal and aromatherapy books, course, some products and informative articles are available at Jeanne Rose Aromatherapy, jeannerose.net at 415-564-6785. Copper stills can be found at www.copperstills.com and distillation knowledge, plant and essential oil and hydrosol information can be found at the Aromatic Plant Project and the Aromatic News and articles located on the site.

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Jeanne Rose has been teaching and researching natural remedies for 33 years, beginning with her first book, Herbs & Things, now in its second edition.  To get in touch, to purchase the books, to understand aromatherapy, herbalism, hydrosols and essential oils, to sign up for the in-person Seminars with Jeanne Rose, visit her website at www.jeannerose.net or e-mail for information at info@jeannerose.net.  Jeanne Rose also teaches a distance learning program, home-study courses both in Herbalism and Aromatherapy. She is Executive Director of the Aromatic Plant Project and can be reached at info@hydrosols.net.  You may also call 415/564-6785.

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