We all know the saying, leaves of three let it be. Even though we are careful, sometimes pesky poison ivy still gets the best of us. If you are experiencing the familiar rash and tiny watery blisters of poison ivy, you may be wondering, is there something you can do at home to relieve the symptoms? Are there any essential oils for poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac that may help?
What Causes Poison Ivy Rash?
First, you may be wondering what causes poison ivy rash. The rash from poison ivy is an allergic reaction to an oil contained in the poison ivy plant called urushiol. This oil is found in all parts of the plants including the stems, leaves, and roots. It is also the same oil found in poison oak and poison sumac.
If you are sensitive to poison ivy, it is important to wash your skin right away if you come into contact with any part of these plants. This reduces your chances of getting the rash.
What are the Symptoms?
Even a mild case of poison ivy can be a nuisance, and it can last for weeks at a time.
The milder symptoms of poison ivy include:
- Swelling at the contact site
- Tiny water filled blisters
Sometimes the rash can look like a straight line because of the way you brush up against the plant. However, if you come in contact with the piece of clothing that has been in contact with it, or pet the fur of an animal that has been in contact with it, the rash may be more widespread.
You can transfer the oil to other parts of your body, or to another person if they come into direct contact with skin that still has the oil on it. The skin rash usually develops between 12 and 48 hours of contact.
Contrary to popular belief, coming into contact with the blisters does not spread the rash. You have to come in contact itself, but they are usually located in the same place.
Should You See A Doctor?
Although most of the time, the rash is mild and can be treated with essential oils for poison ivy at home, there are times when you should see a doctor. These include:
- If the rash is severe or overlarge portion of your body
- Anytime you inhaled smoke from burning poison ivy
- The rash is on your eyes, in your mouth, or near your genitals
- You develop a fever
- If you develop swelling on your face, throat, or have trouble breathing
- The rash does not go away in a few weeks
What are the Best Essential Oils for Poison Ivy?
Although no clinical studies have been conducted regarding the use of essential oils for poison ivy, historically several have been used with reportedly good success. Some of the best ones are:
Peppermint is a very popular essential oil. It has both analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, meaning it relieves pain. Peppermint essential oil also reduces symptoms of itchy skin. It contains menthol, which gives a cooling sensation, calms poison ivy rashes and reduce the itch and pain. It’s one of the best essential oils for poison ivy.
Tea Tree Oil
Derived from the Australian tea tree, this essential oil soothes itchy skin. Applying tea tree oil helps reduce symptoms of poison ivy, such as redness and swelling. This essential oil is among the best essential oils to treat poison ivy rashes.
Lavender is very soothing. This herb also has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. A rash is an inflammation of the skin. So lavender essential oil is another good choice for inflamed, painful rashes from poison ivy.
Calendula is a yellow flower that is used to soothe skin. Studies show that calendula helps relieve symptoms of contact dermatitis. Its soothing properties help with itching, redness, dryness and pain.
Cypress essential oil has strong antiseptic properties. It’s also useful for excessive discharge of fluids. If you have blisters, it can help speed up healing.
Any one of these singly, or in combination should help to relieve the itch, redness and swelling of dermatitis.
A word of caution: You should always check with your physician before using any essential oils especially if you are pregnant. In addition, you may be allergic to the essential oil itself. You should always test by trying a little bit onto a small patch of skin. Do not use the oil if your skin becomes irritated.
Homemade Recipe with Essential Oils to Relieve Symptoms of Poison Ivy
If you are wondering how to use essential oils for poison ivy, the following recipe should help.
In a small bowl that will not be used for food, mix the following:
- 1 tablespoon olive or melted organic coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 drop lavender essential oil
- 1 drop peppermint essential oil
- 1 drop calendula oil
- 1 drop tea tree oil
- 1 drop cypress oil
Place into a glass spray bottle to store. Store out of light. Spritz a little onto the affected area as needed. You may omit any of the ingredients that cause an adverse reaction. This recipe should not be used on young children.
Essential oils can give quick relief to the symptoms of poison ivy. When used as directed, they are generally safe. Nothing is a cure for poison ivy once you have it. The best you can do is to relieve the itch and symptoms and allow it to go away on its own.
If you have used any of these oils, we would love to hear what you have to say and how well they work for you.