Poison ivy treatments are abundant and varied throughout man’s recorded history. In fact, poison ivy has very likely caused painful rashes and inspired humankind to search for treatments even before people began to keep written records.

Treatment recommendations sometimes contain mixed messages complicating our search for useful remedies. Some poison ivy treatments suggest washing with hot water and a strong soap; others caution that hot water will open the pores of the skin and bring on a more severe reaction to poison ivy exposure. These practitioners suggest washing immediately, within five minutes, with cold water.

Throughout history there have been treatments for poison ivy using finely ground oats, vinegar treatments, soda treatments and even the use of banana peels.

Cause Of The Rash

Urushiol (oo-roo-shee-ohl) is the culprit. It is the toxic substance that is contained in poison ivy plants in the form of a sap or oil. Urushiol is not water soluble, and is contained in every part of this toxic plant. Practical treatments throughout history have been urgently needed because this substance is as potent as it is insidious in the ways that it comes into our lives.

Poison ivy is difficult to avoid. It is helpful, but it isn’t enough to simply wear long trousers, or learn to recognize the three-part leaf structure of the plant. The urushiol residue can adhere to clothing, or it can be carried home to us on the hair of a pet that has come into contact with the plant. It can be present on the log we carry to the fireplace, or on the leaf you choose for your collection. It is so potent that samples of urushiol that are several centuries old have even been reported to cause skin rash in sensitive people.


Poison ivy treatments recorded throughout history and treatment lore are very interesting, but today we have a new set of concerns regarding poison ivy to further complicate our lives. In May of 2006 the Associated Press reported that scientists from both Duke and Harvard Universities believe that growth of this plant is affected by global warming. These scientists report that when the plant is exposed to high carbon dioxide levels, the greenhouse effect, it can grow several times larger and produce a more toxic form of urushiol than it has produced in the past.

There are now about 350,000 reported cases of exposure each year. Who knows what impact this changing plant will have on the number of exposures and the treatments of the future?

Recommended Product

The editors of Healthy Skin Guide have long sought poison ivy treatments that could bring an end to the painful reaction caused by exposure to the poison ivy plant. We have recently discovered a new product called Burt’s Bees Poison Ivy Soap, and are confident in recommending it. Burt’s Bees Poison Ivy Soap is all-natural, and works quickly to help limit the symptoms of this agonizing rash. Follow the link to learn more about Burt’s Bees Poison Ivy Soap and see if it can help you.

More than Poison Ivy Treatments on our Poison Ivy Symptoms page

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