Homeopathy Delaware, with Chris Mercante, presented a March 2021 Zoom program about how to use homeopathic remedies for self care of non – serious rhus poisoning, or poison ivy and poison oak.
Chris discussed a few of the most common symptoms of poison ivy rash and the remedies which heal, in addition to showing pictures of the appearance of the eruption associated with each remedy.
Urushiol is the component in both Ivy and Oak which causes dermatitis. Not everyone is susceptible. But if you are, herbalist Jacob Bigelow says that a state of increased perspiration at the time of exposure favors the eruption.
The general symptoms are redness and swelling of the affected part. But beyond that the symptoms produced by Ivy and Oak are diverse. Here, homeopathy comes into brilliancy with its ability to address the variety of specifics.
Be aware that when symptoms are moderated by cortisone or antihistamines it becomes impossible to know the true condition and makes treating with homeopathy difficult.
Non professional consumers of homeopathy are more likely to have heard about the 5 remedies, or ‘rhus polycrests’, which cover most Ivy/Oak cases. To make a selection based on the person’s individualized presentation of symptoms pay attention to the following.
- Appearance – Vesicles or pustules? Raised? In a row? Is the texture granular, scaly or crusty? Skin inflamed (swollen, red , hot) ?
2. Severity – Rash over entire body? Extensive swelling? Fever? Breathing affected? A severe rash needs medical treatment by a professional.
3. Discharge – Dry or weepy? If weepy, color of discharge? Quality of discharge? Does crust form?
4. Sensation – Numb, sting, burn, ache, tingle?
5. Scratch/itch – Is eruption better or worse scratching? Does rash appear along line of scratch?
6. Mentals – Irritability, tiredness, dullness, confusion?
7. Modalities (what makes person better or worse) – Hot/cold, motion/stillness, day/night?
8. Generals – how is the person affected in general?
Anacardium – Swelling, red areola around pustules; yellow discharge; intense itching is worse warmth bed, night, scratching; better rubbing; worse hot applications but better Very Hot Water. Tendency to swear.
Croton tiglium – Pustules ooze yellow serum which dries to thick scabs. Skin feels tight and tense all over (hide-bound), person and skin feel better after sleep. Tense, irritable, cannot bear it.
Graphites – Dry, crusty, rough cracked skin. Sticky honey- like discharge. Worse warmth but better wrapping up.
Rhus toxicodenron – Vesicles in line of scratch. Angry looking skin. Better warm applications, itching is better scalding hot water. Eyes swollen shut. Unable to void urine due to swelling of genitals. Restless, stiff, irritable. Worse resting, better warm dry air.
Sulphur – Dry crusty pustules. Person scratches until bleeding which betters the itch. Worse warmth bed, scratching, washing, bathing. Irritable.
A lesser known remedy is Grindelia robusta. It is best used externally. Technu Extreme, a topical treatment for poison ivy /oak dermatitis containing Grindelia 3x, can be very helpful in putting off development of the rash or helping the person with the rash feel better. It can be found at local department stores and Amazon.
Administration of the remedy: For non-practitioners, potency should be 30c and under – 12c, 6c. If using a potency lower than 30c, give the remedy every two hours if 12c or every hour if 6c until improvement on any level is noticed. If using 30c, repeat the dose one to five times a day depending on severity.
With the use of any potency, stop when the person feels better repeating only if needed.
A pellet can be placed in a glass with 4-6 ounces of water, stirring gently after the pellet dissolves. About one teaspoon can be administered. The water can be refrigerated and stirred slightly before subsequent administrations. Hahnemann found water dosing to be most helpful and effective.
In all, there about 30 remedies listed in various repertories under the rubric ‘Rhus poisoning’. The most helpful book I have used for choosing among those remedies is HOMEOPATHIC HANDBOOK for Poison Ivy and Poison Oak by Joel Kreisberg. This book may be out of print but you may find a free download at his web site. drkreisberg.com
In addition to homeopathic remedies a home remedy, Fels Naptha, was discussed at the end of Chris’ presentation. Fels Naptha Soap is available on Amazon and at Walmart. People report that washing the affected area with Fels Naptha as soon as possible after exposure to poison ivy or oak, using cold water, can eliminate the poison ivy oil.
May your outdoor adventures be less tricky now that you know your options for dealing with sensitivity to this creeping warrior plant, poison ivy, and to poison oak. By the way, poison ivy berries are a nutritional boon for birds!