I was so excited to make this Anti-Itch Soap that as soon as my husband walked in the door I declared, “I made Poison Ivy Soap!” He looked at me oddly and said, “I hope you didn’t put poison ivy in soap, Kelly.” That made me laugh. I guess he doesn’t know what I’m going to do next sometimes.
But, no! This soap contains NO poison ivy. Instead, it is made with a wonderful weed called Jewelweed.
Jewelweed, a.k.a. Touch Me Not, Impatiens, Snap Weed, and whatever your grandma calls it, has a number of nicknames because it’s common in most wooded areas of America and Europe. It likes the shade and access to plenty of water. This is because its root system is very shallow. If you try to break off a stem you are likely to pull up the entire plant.
My kids learned quickly that you can eat the seed pods. They are called Snap Weed or Touch Me Nots, because when the pods are ready they will snap open at the slightest touch. These are fine to eat, but it is well known that the rest of the plant is poisonous.
Jewelweed flowers in North Eastern America in mid-July. They almost look like little snap dragons on 3 foot high stalks or small bushes with tear drop leaves. The flowers will either be yellow (Pale Jewelweed) or orange with red spots (Spotted Jewelweed).
Killing the Itch
Jewelweed has a liquid inside of the stem and leaves that neutralizes Urushial (the chemical that makes you itch in poison ivy, sumac, and poison oak). You can get to it by simply breaking and crushing the stem in your fist..or by smashing it with a hammer – whatever makes you feel good.
This liquid can be used right away on a burn or rash. If you’ve been hiking or cutting grass with Poison Ivy. Take a second and crush Jewelweed and rub it on that skin.
The second thing you should do is wash the oils off – just in case you missed any, or it’s not Jewelweed season, or you don’t have any growing in your back yard. Just like you’d get grease off a greasy dish, you want to work to make sure the poison ivy oil is off of your skin. If you do this right after you are exposed, then you probably won’t break out at all!! Awesome, right?
Using Jewelweed Soap
Jewelweed soap is a soap made with Jewelweed infused water and oils. It is packed with Jewelweed! I also recommend using camphor essential oil in your soap. This will help to calm any irritated skin and soothes itching if you are already starting to break out.
Just as I said above, the key is using it immediately after exposure and scrubbing down to make sure you don’t give the poison ivy oils time to penetrate to deeper layers of skin.
How To Make Poison Ivy Soap with Jewelweed
1) Collect Jewelweed – If it’s growing prolifically in your area, just pull up.
2) Infuse Water – Place water in a large pot (a little more than enough because some will evaporate). Fold up and smash some Jewelweed. You can cut it with a knife, or just bend and smash with your hands. Put the Jewelweed in the water and heat on low until the water is a dark golden color. Strain water through fine sieve and discard Jewelweed.
3) Infuse Oils – Weigh and combine your coconut and olive oils into a pot and add crushed Jewelweed. Simmer on very low for an hour or until the oils are a bright green (Yes, bright green and it’s beautiful! **Spoiler – It doesn’t last in the soap though). Strain oil through fine sieve and discard Jewelweed.
You’re ready to go!
Find it in my Shop!
Poison Ivy Soap Recipe
How to Make Poison Ivy Soap with Jewelweed
- Combine Tallow and Jewelweed infused Coconut Oil and Olive Oil (see instructions above). Heat (or cool) to 95 degrees F.
- Go OUTSIDE and add Lye slowly to Jewelweed infused water. This is turn the water a bright orange color if you add it too quickly. Unlike soaps made with milk, this color will disappear in the soap. Cool to 95 degrees F.
- Add lye water to oils and mix with a stick or hand mixer until light trace.
- Add essential oils and mix.
- Pour into mold and incubate for 24 hours before removing.
- Allow to cure for 4-6 weeks.
For More Detailed instructions on how to make cold processed soap, see: 7 Easy Steps to Homemade Lye Soap for Beginners.