Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly (Weeds, That Is)

It's been a while since my last post. Been very busy taking down trees in the yard for landscpaing, which has now been, more or less, completed. So, now I'm back. (Yes, I do realize that, since I post from work, it shouldn't matter what I was doing nor how busy I was when I got home. But that's my excuse & I'm sticking with it)

Anyway, one of the unintended side effects of all that yard work was that I now know how to recognize Poison Ivy when I see it. Yes, I got into a patch in my back yard, and didn't even recognize the blisters when they popped out, so it had time to develop into a full-blown rash that swelled my calf up to the size of Schwarzenegger's. Or there abouts. So, in case you were wondering, the pic at the top shows a couple common varieties. As you may have noticed in that picture, the old adage "leaves of three, don't touch me," doesn't always hold true. Some varieties have clusters of five leaves, so it might be a good idea to do a Google image search to familiarize yourself with all the many varieties.

And this is what the blisters look like. They can vary in size, but if you see a string of them in a line, big or small, it's likely you got into some poison ivy without knowing it. There's a product called Tecnu, that you can pick up in the local pharmacy, that can prevent the blisters and rash if you use it within 2-8 hours after contact (unless you're highly allergic).

So that's the bad & ugly, now for the good. There's another weed that often grows side-by-side (or at least nearby) poison ivy, that is a natural remedy for it. It's called Jewel Weed and it's flowers are really quite pretty, as you can see. Apparently, if you crush up the stems of the plant and apply the sap to the affected area, it can prevent the rash as well as Tecnu. Funny thing is, a couple weeks ago, Donna spotted some of these little orange trumpet flowers growing in a wildflower field near our house, but could not identify them. Now we know.

Finally, if you're suffering from insomnia, or just insufferably curious, here's a technical page that describes how poison ivy affects the human body. Actually, I found this very interesting, and it got me wondering whether the over-the-top immune response is a result of changes in the human species or the plant species, since the fall of man. Either way, it's yet another painful side-effect of living in a fallen, sin-cursed world.


Dan Boelman said...


I hope you continue to heal from your case of poison ivy. The picture on the left looks like poison ivy, while the picture on the right actually looks like a poison ivy imposter called Virginia Creeper.

If you're still itching, you may want to try Zanfel Poison Ivy Wash. Zanfel is the only product clinically shown to remove the plants' toxin, urushiol, from the skin ANYTIME after you break out with the rash. After you remove the plants' toxin with Zanfel, itching stops, and the body is put into position to begin the healing process. Check out

Dan Boelman RN, BSN
Zanfel Laboratories, Inc.

Anonymous said...

The folks that make Tecnu, the poison ivy soap you mention, has also come out with Tecnu Extreme Medicated Poison Ivy Scrub. You can use it anytime after exposure before or after a rash has started to remove the poison oil. Unlike Zanfel, it has an active ingredient that relieves itching and calms the fiery rash and it costs less than half the price.