I must share something that has helped me tremendously. An elderly neighbor told me how to get rid of poison ivy, of which I had known the horrors of. She said to me, the old timers would pick a leaf of the plant each spring and eat it. I now pick a small leaf and eat it each spring, and I can pick wild blackberries with my hands all in the poison ivy and never have a reaction. Most folks are scared of this when I tell them, but blessed be my neighbor, it works for me.
By Rexe from Junction City, Arkansas
Editor's Note: Warning! Eating poison ivy can be very dangerous and can cause shock and severe breathing problems. Advice similar to Rexe's can be found all over the internet and in some cases, this may be an effective way to increase your immunity to poison ivy. But I would strongly recommend against trying this approach.
By Jazzylazzy (Guest Post) 10/23/2008 Flag
Please do not try this. One of my dear friends was on a camping trip and one of the scouts put poison ivy into the food not knowing what it was. 17 people had to be rushed to the hospital with severe breathing problems and shock. Her reaction was so severe that she can no longer be outdoors if there is any poison ivy near her.
Along the same lines, some health food stores carry a brand of teeny sugary pills that have a minuscule amount of poison ivy extract that seems to be safe. All the local landscapers and park service people around here use them to make them immune to poison ivy. A good friend told me about it a few years ago and it's worked for me on the seasons I remember to use it. I think it's about $8.95 a bottle, but the bottle of teensy pills lasts for months. I'm so allergic to poison ivy that I'd be terrified of eating a leaf, but I've never had any problem with the little pills and I'm taking them again this year. Still, if we touch poison ivy and know it, we wash in Dawn Foaming dish liquid and that removes the oil. It seems to work as well as the ivy remover from Walmart. Before I started the pills again, I got blistered from ivy a little higher up than I washed on my arm. Now I tell people to take the Dawn pump bottle into the shower instead of the sink, lol...
By Tooz (Guest Post) 10/24/2008 Flag
Do not even think of doing this! My husband's aunt used to say she was immune to poison ivy, that she could even eat it and it wouldn't bother her. She did it on a dare, and was sick for weeks. She was fortunate to live.
Rexe, I hope you never do this. I know this has already been said but don't try it.
This is an example of homeopathics taken to a dangerous extreme. With a hompathic, the remedy is taken in an extremely dilute form; normally one part of the remedy to around 1,000,000,000,000 parts of water. Chewing on a poison ivy leaf is a recipe for disaster and not a true homeopathic because it's not diluted. This could kill someone who is highly allergic to poison ivy as I am.
My 2 children who are ages 12 and 10 and myself always had bad break outs to poison ivy. Blistering, oozing, all over our arms legs face stomach. I got really tired of this irritating rash year after year after year. So we tried eating it. We started with one young tender leaf picked in the spring. We would eat 1 leaf for 3 days, then eat 2 leafs for 3 days then 3 leafs for 7 days.
I am not telling anyone to eat poison ivy but I will tell you this - we have not had a break out since! We do this yearly as a booster. We use gloves and place it in our mouths without touching lips or skin. Once in the mouth we just chew it like eating a salad and wash it down with some water. Get a toothpick to get the green out of our teeth and that is it. It doesn't taste bad and we don't break out anymore. We work clearing our land and can touch the vines with no problem. Think of other immunizations we get from dr's. It works kinda the same way. And I don't miss the break outs!
I tried eating a small leaf when I was 11. I ended up in the hospital 2 days later. My eyes were swollen shut, I could not eat or drink and I was "swollen" so much from the poison ivy rash over my entire body, no one recognized me for more than a week.I am 64 years old and it is a "nightmare" I will never forget! I am still highly allergic so I am extremely careful.
The tiny pills that crafter Mary speaks of are available in the health food stores and (have also bought them on Amazon.com. They are about $8.00with shipping. They are Hyland's Poison Ivy/Oak tablets.
I have been using them and recommending them for about 30 years now. And in my younger years, I picked and sold Wild Blackberries every summer. I would start taking a couple a day about a week before I went to the woods and then reduce that to one a day. I fell into a bed of poison ivy one summer spread eagle on my back and never got one blister.
My kids who are very allergic have been using them when they go camping since they were little. My son used to take one a day in the winter, because his job was filling the woodbox, and sometimes there would be poison ivy attached to the trees that we cut for firewood.
If you already have the rash, a couple pills a day will dry it up in a couple days. And after a while it reduces your allergy to it. But I would be afraid to eat it. I would be afraid you would end up with the blisters in side your mouth.
Harlean from Arkansas
Thumbs up to everyone who said this is not a good way to deal with poison ivy! I'd like to thank the editors for the cautionary note, especially.