What is Poison Ivy?
Many people have memories of playing in the woods when they were kids, accidentally brushing against a poison ivy plant, and spending the next several days trying not to scratch the itchy rash on their skin. Poison ivy, along with poison oak and poison sumac, is a species of plant known for its ability to create redness, itching, and oozing of the skin when one comes into contact with it. The poisonous quality of these plants is a chemical known as urushiol, which some people have a severe allergic reaction to. An allergic reaction can involve all of the above symptoms, as well as a severe burning pain where the plant has been in contact with the skin. The more severe conditions take up to two weeks to be resolved, and scratching the rash can lead to secondary infections.
How can I treat Poison Ivy?
Traditional Chinese medicine considers poison ivy to be a toxic fire that invades the skin and treatment focuses on clearing away the toxins. This can happen through a diet of foods with cooling and cleansing properties, including cucumber, kale, celery, dandelion, watermelon, grapes, pearl barley, oats, mung beans, and adzuki beans. Additionally, the skin can be nourished by fish rich in omega fatty acids, and the body can be cleansed by drinking at least 8 glasses of water per day. Other remedies include washing the suspected contact area with soap and water, applying calamine lotion to sooth itching, applying aloe gel directly from the aloe leaf to the affected area, and applying a poultice for relief; to make the poultice, mix dandelion greens, aloe gel, and honey in a blender, and then apply to the affected area. It is also recommended to practice tai chi or qi gong to help reduce stress and promote the healing of the skin.
What should I avoid in my lifestyle for Poison Ivy?
It is best to avoid foods that aggravate the skin, including processed foods, spicy and hot foods, oily and fried foods, white flour and sugar, dairy products, soft drinks, shellfish, wheat, tomatoes, eggplants, peanuts, and certain soy products. Other things to avoid include alcohol, scratching the infection, stress, and anxiety.
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