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Impatiens capensis 

The Jewelweed plant has been used for centuries in North America by Native Americans and Herbalists, as a natural preventative and treatment for poison ivy and poison oak; and is a folk remedy for many other skin disorders. Learn to find and use Jewelweed here.

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Jewelweed herb plant picture close-up of leaves

Jewelweed is best known for its skin healing properties. The leaves and the juice from the stem of Jewelweed are used by herbalists as a treatment for poison ivy, oak and other plant induced rashes, as well as many other types of dermatitis. Jewelweed works by counter-reacting with the chemicals in other plants that cause irritation. Poultices and salves from Jewelweed are a folk remedy for bruises, burns, cuts, eczema, insect bites, sores, sprains, warts, and ringworm. Read on to learn to make your own poison ivy treatment ice cubes with Jewelweed. 

Jewelweed is a smooth annual; 3-5 ft. Leaves oval, round- toothed; lower ones opposite, upper ones alternate. A bit trumpet shaped, the flowers hang from the plant much as a jewel from a necklace, Pale Jewelweed has yellow flowers, Spotted Touch-Me-Nots have orange flowers with dark red dots. The seeds will 'pop' when touched , that is where the name Touch-Me-Nots came from. The Spotted Jewelweed variety is most commonly used for treating poison ivy rashes although the Pale Jewelweed may also have medicinal properties .

  Jewelweed blooms May through October in the eastern part of North America from Southern Canada to the northern part of Florida. It is found most often in moist woods, usually near poison ivy or stinging nettle. It is commonly said that wherever you find poison ivy, you will find Jewelweed - however this is not true as Jewelweed will not grow in dry places for long, and does not thrive in direct sunlight. Poison Ivy will grow in sun or shade.

Jewelweed plants growing in the wild

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Jewelweed often grows on the edge of creek beds. There is plenty of jewelweed in the wild, and it is not hard to find once you learn to identify it.

  I read on a newsgroup that the garden variety of impatiens has the same properties, though not as concentrated. However, the garden variety is much more suitable for cultivation as its growth is easier to contain.

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Ways to Use Jewelweed

    When you are out in the field and find you have been exposed to poison ivy, oak, or stinging nettle you can reach for the jewelweed plant and slice the stem, then rub its juicy inside on exposed parts. This will promptly ease irritation and usually prevents breakout for most people. Jewelweed or an infusion made from boiling leaves of Impatiens capensis may be frozen for later use. Brew chopped jewelweed in boiling water until you get a dark orange liquid. Yellow Jewelweed will not yield orange color and may not be effective. Strain the liquid and pour into ice cube trays. When you have a skin rash, rub it with a jewelweed cube and you will be amazed with its healing properties. It will keep in freezer up to a year. You can also preserve the infusion by canning it in a pressure cooker.

Jewelweed does not dry well due to its high moisture and oil content. Do not make alcoholic tinctures from Jewelweed because some people have had a bad reaction using jewelweed with alcohol. Use my Amazing Jewelweed soap, salve and spray products made from jewelweed that is always fresh, never dried! And they do not contain alcohol which may spread the oils. If they don't work great for you, and clear up rash within a few days; send them back for full refund.

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Clinical Study on Jewelweed

"The Results of a Clinical Study,  in which a 1:4 jewelweed preparation was compared for its effectiveness with other standard poison ivy dermatitis treatments was published in 1958 (Annals of Allerty 1958;16:526-527). Of 115 patients treated with jewelweed, 108 responded ‘most dramatically to the topical application of this medication and were entirely relieved of their symptoms within 2 or 3 days after the institution of treatment.' It was concluded that jewelweed is an excellent substitute for ACTH and the corticosteroids in the treatment of poison ivy dermatitis. The active principle in the plant responsible for this activity remains unidentified."   by Varro Tyler, PhD in his book HERBS OF CHOICE

Author, Photographer: Karen Bergeron Copyright 1999 - 2018

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Disclaimer - The herbal information on this web site is intended for educational purposes only. It is not the intention of the editor to advise on health care. Please see a medical professional about any health concerns you have. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The information on this web site is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.