Homemade Medicine Made Simple: Jewelweed {The Anti-Itch Plant}

| Natural Health and Beauty

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4 Ways To Preserve Jewelweed (The Anti-Itch Plant)

Some of my earliest memories in nature are of the jewelweed plant.

I didn’t know then what it’s real name was and it was many, many years before I learned it. It’s how it got the nickname, “Touch-Me-Not” that made an impression on me.

Forget the beautiful, unique flowers. They only served as a beacon, drawing me in to find the most plump seed pods so I could delicately brush the point with the tip of my finger and watch it burst open, coil up, and shoot out it’s seeds. It was delightful. And it’s still such fun for me every couple of years to be able to introduce this little wonder to a new child.

Jewelweed holds a new fascination for me now. I’m caring for the health of an entire clan of little people who spend half the year daily bringing to my attention every small patch of raised skin they own. And if it happens to itch as well? Well, bring on the waterworks, for you’ve been bitten by a Skeeto!

You see, jewelweed contains anti-itch properties that are renowned for their ability to help treat skin irritations such as dermetitis, mosquito bites,  the rash caused by poison ivy and poison oak, and more. Really it will remedy any itchy skin troubles!

My husband has a recurring case of dermatitis that has been plaguing him for years. The intensity of the rash will come and go. Mainly it’s contained to his hands, though at first it was also affecting his face. We’re not certain exactly what triggers it, but we do know the livestock have something to do with it. If he handles the animals without gloves, he’s miserable the next few days. If he doesn’t keep it under control then other things like even water, sweat, sunshine, or handling garden plants or hay will exacerbate the painful itching. After trying several natural remedies, the only thing that works to control the issue is jewelweed.

4 Ways To Preserve Jewelweed (The Anti-Itch Plant)

During summer, if the need arises and you have access to the plant, it’s simplest to rub the plant on the affected skin or to make poultice of the fresh leaves, flowers, and stems. But what about if you need the benefits in the dead of winter?

So this time of the year when jewelweed is abundant, I’m harvesting it and preserving it for use throughout the rest of the year.

(And having a little fun popping out the seeds so more will grow for next year!)

Here are 4 ways that I’m preserving jewelweed:

 

{Jewelweed Herbal Oil}

An herbal oil is the most versatile way to prepare jewelweed. I prefer to make a warm herbal oil by stuffing a jar full of the plant- cleaned roots, stem, leaves, and flowers and covering it with olive oil. Then I’ll place the closed jar in a pot of very warm water and leaving it on the “Keep Warm” burner of my stove for about a day. (Learn more about making herbal oils from Learning & Yearning.)  I made a cold, solar herbal oil last year and found that the plant tends to break down in the oil pretty quickly. I use extra virgin olive oil, but my husband has found it to be much, much more effective of his scaly dermatitis when I mixed Tamanu oil in his salve.

(I buy cold pressed, unrefined Tamanu oil HERE.)

I had simply mixed the plain Tamanu with the herbal infused olive oil, but this year, I’ve infusing the Tamanu oil with Jewelweed as well.

You can create your own salves, lotions, balms or even itch sticks with the herbal oil. Versatile, see?

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{Jewelweed Extract}

Infuse some witch hazel or alcohol with jewelweed (maybe even some plantain too) much like you would when making a tincture and funnel it into cute little spray bottles to spritz on the itchy skin whenever it begins to bother you. Better yet, take it with you in the woods and use it as a poison ivy preventative. The active ingredient in jewelweed is faster acting than that in poison ivy so beat it to the punch!

jewelweed-2

{Dehydrated Jewelweed}

I use powdered dehydrated jewelweed as an effective, gentle exfoliator in my soaps. Doing so will scratch the itch now while you’re washing and prevent it from coming back later.

Jewelweed Juice

{Jewelweed Juice}

Decoct all parts of the jewelweed plant in a pot of water to draw out the benefits and make a lovely orange juice. Jewelweed juice can also be used as a substitute for water in your lotions or balms. I use Jewelweed juice as a substitute for water in my herbal farmstead soaps. 

Or you could freeze little ice cubes and rub the cooling frozen juice on your skin when needed. Trays like these would work best and give a modest “dosage” rather than soaking you once it’s all melted and would help the juice to last longer. I

4 Ways To Preserve Jewelweed (The Anti-Itch Plant)

Have you ever tried using Jewelweed for taking away your itch? 

Quinn

 

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7 Comments
  • Kifflette

    Great article, thank you! I will definitely be trying to find some jewelweed over here for our medicinal herb patch. That ice cubes idea sounds great. You’re so resourceful; I’m always quite in awe of how full your days must be. Slight tangent: does your husband’s dermatitis have tiny little water-blisterish bumps that then dry out and flake off? If so, it could be something like the itchy rash I had a while back on my hands. A friend said it was pompholyx, but I’m not sure, I never went to the doc; it cleared it up after a few dousings with athlete’s foot (which I think in the US is charmingly termed ‘jock itch’ 😛 ) cream. Just mentioning it in case it’s any help 🙂

    • I don’t think he stops rubbing & scratching on it long enough for it to form blisters. It always looks open & raw to me. He tried steroids once but they didn’t work any better than the natural stuff. I’ll ask him and pass this info along- thank so much for sharing!!

  • Melodie Gabel

    I have an abundance of this beautiful “weed” growing around our small pond. So glad to finally learn its name and medicinal use. Thank you for all your great articles and informative information. I’m a great fan and follower on your pinterest page as well. Heading out this weekend to harvest me some jewelweed 🙂

    • You’re very welcome Melodie! I’m so very glad you found this helpful!!