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Rhus Tox, sometimes known as Poison Ivy, with the smooth leaves. Leaves of three, let it be.

Now that the snow seems to be past us, we can expect to see Poison Ivy sprouting up soon.

Did you know that Poison Ivy is considered nature’s Band-Aid?  The reason for that is it tends to grow where the earth has been scraped.  Behind my house is a paved trail, and on the other side of that trail is park land.  Along the edge of the park land is Poison Ivy.   A couple years ago, the city came and dug it up.  Guess what? Two years later, it was worse than ever.  Nature’s Band-aid indeed.  Keeping us out of the forested Park Land. Preventing people from trampling on the cuts caused by the scrapers which moved the earth.

The best way to prevent an allergic reaction to Poison Ivy is to recognize it.  The picture to the right or above (depending on where you are reading this) is the poison ivy which grows on the path behind my house.  Specifically, pay attention to the plants with three leaves which have smooth edges.

But sometimes, it is unavoidable.  For example, if your pet rolls in it and rubs up against you, you may then respond to the urushiol oils in the leaves, especially if you are particularly sensitive to Poison Ivy or Poison Oak.  If you think you are having a systemic reaction which has gotten into the blood stream, that is not how it spreads.  It spreads by scratching and getting the oils on the skin.  If you keep getting new breakouts, you are probably getting it from your pet.

One of the worst reactions to Poison Ivy is when someone digs it up, lets it dry and then burns it.  It can be serious at least and fatal at worst for highly sensitive individuals.  Interestingly, homeopathic poison oak, or Rhus Tox, is an asthma remedy.

Poison Ivy on a finger. Yikes!

To be sure to get the oils off your skin, washing with Fels Naphtha soap in the shower is the best solution.  Do not take a baking soda or oatmeal bath until you are certain all the oils have been washed off! 

But poison ivy and poison oak reactions can be helped by homeopathy.  Before you run out and purchase Rhus Tox, please note the following:

  • Wait until symptoms have developed clearly to start taking a homeopathic remedy.  Like any acute dis-ease, giving a remedy too quickly can obscure the picture and make it difficult to find the correct remedy to move the dis-ease along in a rapid fashion.
  • You may still have to go through all the phases of poison ivy, but you should experience less discomfort and it should take less time than normal (normal is 10 days to 2 weeks).
  • If you find you are super sensitive to Poison Ivy, please contact us at Lotus Homeopathy to get some homeoprophylaxis for Poison Ivy, to help prevent the allergic reaction.
  • Where your breakouts are located can help determine which remedy is effective

Important Remedies for Poison Ivy:


Anacardium Orientale:  This remedy is poison sumac and is a close relative of Rhus Tox and they have similar symptoms.

  • Itching is so intense that the person who needs Anacardium digs the nails deep into the skin. Then after scratching the skin is burning and stinging.  (Apis)
  • The lesions start out as pinhead sized blisters which then grow and get bigger to become large lesions. The vesicles (blisters) become yellow (Graphites) and develop a red ring around them.  Eventually there are raised crusts which heal from underneath.  (Graphites)
  • Worse:  From becoming Warm, or warm air.  Heat of the bed (Sulphur).  Scratching
  • Better:  Scalding hot water.  (Rhus Tox) Rubbing (not scratching)  Eating (which tends to be true with Anacardium in general).
  • Location:  Anacardium is a left sided remedy (Sulphur) so the outbreaks will tend to be on the left side but do not have to be.  Neck, torso, underarms, scrotum, inner thigh.

Rhus Toxicodendron (Rhus Tox):  This is homeopathic poison oak or poison ivy (There is some dispute which it is).  But not everyone needs it when they get Poison Ivy.  In fact, over the years, I have only recommended it a couple of times.

  • Restless and nervous from the itching.
  • Better: from heat, such as hot baths or showers or heat of the bed.
  • Worse:  Cold air, in the morning in bed, Getting wet, scratching, being touched
  • Location:  Along fingers, Hands, face, groin, folds of skin

Apis mellifica:  Homeopathic bees.  This remedy is quite the opposite of Rhus Tox.

  • As with all Apis breakouts, there is burning, itching and stinging, as from a bee sting.
  • Reddish bumps but not many blisters or vesicles (They may appear later.  See Graphites.)
  • Worse from Heat (Sulphur), with a great deal of swelling and heat in the location of the breakout.
  • Better from Cold or ice.  A cold shower, or an ice pack provides relief.
  • Location:  Face, around the eyes (yikes) forearms, hands.


  • Intensely itchy and burning, as with all things Sulphur.  Also, sulphur states in general have a tendency to a secondary infection and this is true with Poison Ivy as well.
  • Dark red in color. There are vesicles (blisters) and pustules (discharge that is not clear).  The rash will be moist.
  • Scratches the skin raw and bloody seeking relief from the itching.
  • Worse:  At night, becoming heated in bed.  Washing, especially a warm shower.  Heat, sweating, touching it with wool! (Wool seems to be popular for clothing for all seasons, so be aware.)
  • Better:  Icy and cold applications. Removing blankets. Cool air, such as from a fan blowing on the affected parts.
  • Location:  Folds of the skin, face, palms, elbow and knee pits.

Graphites  (Graphite)

  • Graphites is most useful in later stages of poison ivy outbreaks.  It can be confused with Anacardium, which tends to have similar yellowish discharges.
  • When you have thickened skin, and the lesions have crusted over and there are dry yellowish crystals, it is time to consider switching to Graphites.
  • There may be a thick, honey like discharge from the rash.
  • Worse: Becoming heated in bed (Sulphur) and worse in general in the evening and night time.
  • Better:  Once the skin has been scratched raw.  (Anacardium is worse from scratching)
  • Location:  Elbow and knee pits, folds of skin, neck, groin.

Dosing Homeopathic Remedies for Poison Ivy

The remedies readily available in the store generally can be purchased in a 30C potency.  Take a dose 2-3 times a day.  If the symptoms change, or it doesn’t help after 2-3 doses, switch to a different remedy.

There are many other Poison Ivy remedies (44 total), but these are the most commonly used ones.  If none of these remedies seem to describe your condition, call Lotus Homeopathy, Inc., for help finding a better match.

Many thanks to clients over the years who have called and several books in my electronic homeopathic system for providing this information.








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