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August 4, 2011 by wcobserver

Devil's Den Diary

Jewel Weed Relieves Itchy Funk

By Megan Webb

Yes, that itch that is spreading in a rash form is what you think it is. Poison ivy has struck again. Redness, itching, swelling, and blisters, it is all happening to you. All because of that one little three leaflet plant. We know poison ivy can bring your summer to a screeching halt, so here are some tips to avoid the summer time itch.

Poison ivy is a very common plant. It grows in bush or vine form often climbing to the tops of tall trees. The plant’s leaflets are usually toothed, but they can be smooth. In the fall it tends to turn red, orange, or yellow. Do not let it fool you, poison ivy is tricky and sometimes produces a greenish flower and green or off-white berries that look appealing to the eye.

While a food source for deer and birds, one touch of that poisonous beauty can leave you itching for weeks. The ivy contains a substance, an oily resin called urushiol. This urushiol is what transfers to the skin and causes the rash or other irritation. It is sticky so it transfers easily from clothing, to animals, to skin, anything or anyone can be its victim.

Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis.

What can you do to fight against this raging plant that is in a league all its own? You can use jewel weed. Jewel weed is a plant that unlike poison ivy has a soothing quality and is best known for its healing properties. Jewel weed works by counter-reacting with the chemicals in other plants that cause irritation. Folk remedies often include jewel weed for many different skin problems. The leaves and juice from the stem are the used for best results. Jewel weed has smooth leaves and trumpet shaped flowers that hang from the stem, most commonly orange in color with dark red spots.

So, what do you do if poison ivy strikes? Jewel weed is an answer, or if you prefer a more modern method anti-itch creams are available. Do not let poison ivy put you into an itchy funk! Come enjoy the outdoors at Devils Den State Park, where the ivy is just a second thought. Call our visitor center at 479-4761-3325 for any additional information about the park.

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