Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Poison Ivy

What a lovely topic. Well, it is a plant and it does (unfortunately) grow in my garden. The photo above shows the leaves and berries. The berries look sort of like mistletoe berries, just a little smaller and appear in the fall after the flowers. The reason I decided to write about poison ivy is that I have my first bit of it on my arms. I was doing some weeding on Sunday afternoon and pulled out what I at first thought was some Vinca, but once it was out, was pretty sure it was a runner from poison ivy. Guess I was right. I don't think I touched it except with my gloves, but the oil is just amazing in its ability to spread all over. Even a little pull on the runners, even though you don't realize it, can spray a fine mist of the oil onto your skin. Luckily I have just 2 small spots, one on each arm, so it isn't bad this time. When I was younger, I could roll in the stuff and not get it, a lovely thing I inherited from my father who never got it. In my mid 20s, about the time I started having pollen allergies, I also began to be allergic to poison ivy. Hank is not allergic, and so he is is responsible for removing any that is where it shouldn't be (which is just about any place)
The fall color is pretty nice so it's a shame we can't use it as an ornamental. I'm told that there is a variegated form that has been developed in Japan. I'm not sure I'd want it here even though I'm a sucker for any new variegated plant.
I'll skip all of the things you can find about the plant with a web search. I'll just add the best solution to the itch that I've ever found. Forget all of the pink stuff and expensive ointments. The best thing to get rid of the itch is hot water. Hard to believe, but it works. And older woman (well, she seemed older when I was in my 20s) told me this trick. It's best on hands or feet where you can just put the affected part into water that is as hot as you can stand - the hotter the better, even if you can only just dip into the water for a second at a time at first. On other parts of the body, a hot washcloth will work. Just keep the itchy part in the hot water for a little while past when the itch stops. This usually works for me for at least 12 hours. I find that if I just do dishes in really hot water twice a day, I have no problems with the itch. It just dries up and goes away in a couple of days. Really easy, cheap and effective.

1 comment:

Sylvia (England) said...

Jane, I am so glad that we don't have poison ivy in the UK - at least I have never heard of it growing here. Enough to put you off gardening for life!

Best wishes Sylvia (England)