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Botanical Poison Ivy Antidote?

aphrk at Msu.oscs.montana.edu aphrk at Msu.oscs.montana.edu
Wed Jul 8 14:56:15 EST 1992

In article <robison1.710571215 at husc9>, robison1 at husc9.harvard.edu (Keith Robison) writes:
>Any help on this would be appreciated.  It is long-standing lore
>in the camping world that the juice of jewelweed* (a wild impatiens)
>is an antidote for poison ivy.  Does anyone know of _any_ 
>scientific study which has attempted to prove/disprove this claim
>or (if true) determine the mechanism.
>	* called such because of the silvery appearance of the
>	  leaves.  Also known as touch-me-not, for the exploding
>	  seedpods characteristic of impatiens.  
>Thanks, (and apologies for the common names -- don't have a
>	 Peterson's guide here).
>Keith Robison
>Harvard University
>Program in Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
>robison at ribo.harvard.edu

     I do not know of any scientific studies, but folklore has a fifty-fifty or
better chance of being right.  All the Impatiens species could be used
similarly.  I suggest that the constituent involved in just a simple tannin
and some mucilages which act to constrict the skin tissues and provide a
light covering to exclude the poison ivy oils.  Many other plants would also
help to deter the continuous allergic response to the oils.  
     My Dad can swim through the stuff and it doesn't affect him.  Then again,
he doesn't have much of an immune system, having suffered from psoriasis all
his life.  

Robyn Klein

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