But nature has given us the perfect antagonist for poison ivy. It is often called the "touch me not" impatient, botanically known as Impatiens Capensis, and commonly known as Jewel Weed.
Jewel weed produces near water or in shallow ponds. It's been said that jewel weed grows wherever Poison Ivy is found, but that isn't true. Poison ivy can grow well under most any condition (just like a pest, aye?), be it sunny or shady. However, jewel weed is a shade loving plant, that prefers valleys with rich soil and moist bottom lands. It may sprout in a sunny area, but it will not survive for long in the light.
There are many ways to utilize jewel weed, but drying it is not practical, as it has a very high moisture content. For this reason, the soaps, salves and sprays that are made from this herbal, are made from fresh or frozen jewel weed.
One of the simplest ways to benefit from this flower is simply to take the stem, slice it, and slather the juice onto skin that has come into contact with poison ivy. If you get it applied before a rash appears, it generally will prevent any from developing. If you already have a rash, it will help to ease the irritation. In fact, many people use the stem juice as a preventative treatment for poison ivy reactions, and it seems to work well.
When foraging, make sure that you are looking for the orange flowering jewel weed, not the yellow, as the yellow is less concentrated and will probably not offer you the relief you are looking for.
You can make an infusion by boiling the leaves of the plant, and can even freeze it for later use.
Just brew chopped jewel weed leaves in boiling water, until you get a dark orange liquid in your pot. Then strain the liquid, and pour it into ice cube trays. Then, when you have a skin rash, just grab out a cube and rub the affected area with your "jewel cube". It will keep in the freezer for up to one year.
You can also preserve the infusion by canning it in a pressure cooker.
If you want to make soap with the jewel weed, either make an infusion to incorporate as your liquid, or
Whatever you do, do NOT make alcoholic tinctures from Jewel weed. Some people have had very bad reactions when mixing and using jewel weed with alcohol.
While most people use jewel weed to neutralize the poison Ivy's oily antigen, urushiol, it is also an effective remedy for poison oak, okra spines, stinging nettle, bug bites, heat rash, and other irritating plant reactions and other skin disorders. For more than a hundred years, a poultice made from this plant was used to treat burns, cuts, sores, sprains, warts, eczema, and even ringworm.