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Hi there PureJeevan readers! We wanted to let you know that Jim's new novel CHROO is available on Amazon. It's a crazy adventure involving a billionaire heiress, her Chihuahua BFF ("Chroo") and a host of human and animal characters. Find out more on Amazon! Here are some links:

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Jim here... Well, I may have lived 100% raw for nearly one year now (and mostly raw for a few additional years), and I have definitely witnessed the reversal of many physical ailments during that time, but I can say with certainty that, if raw actually cures people of allergies, it looks like I still have a ways to go before reaching that milestone. Here's a snippet from an article I published a few years ago in a book:

I believe I was roughly 12 upon learning of my allergy to poison ivy (the hard way, naturally). By age 14, I'd heard all of the poison ivy folk lore and "wisdom" out there -? that sensitive people like myself can inadvertently contract it via smoke from a nearby brush fire, that ingesting the plant's concentrated essential oil can reverse one's sensitivity to outbreaks (even, some said, to the point of complete immunity), that scratching spreads the rash, that scratching does not spread the rash, that going to get the shot and the steroids makes it fade more quickly, that calamine is best, that it's not, et cetera.

What I knew for sure were my own observations -? that, despite my keeping an eye out for the evil three-leaved [plant], I'd nonetheless undergo a superlatively uncomfortable experience damn-near every summer, that the sensation of extreme itch is an ultra-frustrating pain, that scratching does indeed make things worse, but that giving in once or twice to the scratching urge brings on, ironically, a temporary pleasure almost unmatched in any other category of physical sensation.

Yes, it's that time of year again. I have a nasty case of poison ivy (or maybe poison oak)! Come to think of it, this seems to coincide with my annual urge to work out in our back yard. Do you think that mother nature is trying to tell me something? (...perhaps that I should not be working outside ). Technically speaking, what I have is an allergy to the toxic compound found in poison ivy, poison oak, and other plants. It's called urushiol.

Over decades of experience with this allergy, you'd think I'd have heard of every treatment available for it. I asked recently on Facebook and heard a few new ones, including suggestions for using bleach and Dawn dish detergent (odd, but both of which make logical sense to me). Even EFT might be effective, one person suggested (though I'm not well-schooled on how to apply that).

The strange thing is that the optimal treatment seems different for each case I've had over the years. I seem to routinely try everything available at the drug stores, and the success of each treatment varies. Sometimes good old calamine lotion is best. Other times it's benadryl-type cream. Once I had good results with a $40 cream called Zanfel, which promises to chemically bind itself to the urushiol toxin, thereby allowing you to literally wash the poison away. (Doesn't always work for me.)? I've also heard of a natural plant-based remedy -- supposedly a plant that grows in close proximity to the poison ivy. However, I'm not sure what that plant is, or how to use it. (Anyone know )

Anyway, I usually just wait it out. After four or so days of agony, it fades. The *best* thing, by far, that I've ever found for it was ocean water. Once when I was 18 or so, I visited the ocean while in the middle of a nasty case. That salt water seemed to dry it up almost instantly! Perhaps this means we should live near the ocean!?

I was just wondering what your experience with this sort of thing is. Who has an awesome, fast-acting treatment ? Anyone ? Anyone at all ? Bueller? (Also, anyone have an allergy that, after living on raw for an extended time, actually went away )

Original Comments

Below, we have included the original comments from this blog post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.

On July 7, 2009, Manda wrote:

I would second the Dawn (or any regular dish detergent for that matter), but probably not the bleach, as it's so irritating to the skin. Urushiol is an oil-based irritant and the surfactant action of dish soap will help to break it up and allow it to be rinsed off.
Next to that, salt water soaks are excellent, as you found in the ocean. Saline is soothing and healing to many skin conditions.
This is what I tell my ER/ambulance patients - I have no personal experience in this matter, as I seem to be immune to the poison leaves. I have never intentionally tried to test this, but I was part of a team pulling a car accident patient out of a thicket and was the only one not to end up with a rash after the exposure.

On July 7, 2009, Rene wrote:

The plant near poison ivy would be Jewelweed.

I know nothing about that.

However, when I got poison ivy in May, I was really, truly miserable for a couple of weeks. What worked best for me, was wiping my skin with rubbing alcohol (using cotton balls), and/or tea tree oil.

I've always felt that massive doses of vitamin C (get the crystals) helps somewhat.

You do have my sympathy.

On July 7, 2009, Vita wrote:

Sorry you have this sensitivity!
Yes, the plant mentioned is jewel weed, or touch-me-not. l have never used it for poison ivy as l am not bothered by it, but l will say it works like a charm for stinging nettle and mosquito bites. Apply the sap from the stem, instant relief.

On July 7, 2009, Nancy wrote:

Jim, what works best for me (and I am very sensitive to poison ivy) is to wash well with Fels Naptha soap - it's a bar in the laundry aisle. Then I mostly dry the area, rub the soap over it to make a film and let it air dry. Repeat as often as needed.

When I had it so bad on my hands and they swelled up badly and I couldn't hardly move them, I fasted for 5 days and that cleared it up.

Hope you find relief soon.

On July 7, 2009, Marion wrote:

Hi Jim sorry I cant help you with poison Ivy as it dosen't grow here in Queensland that I know of, but I grew up in London and was cursed by stinging nettle and the cure for that was Burdock a wide leafed plant which always grew near by, it would stop the itch almost straight away. What you could do is try any plants that grow in the area of the poison Ivy
and see if you can find the antidote that way.

On July 7, 2009, eve wrote:

I broke out in rashes frequently from candida overgrowth - I think. I went to an acupuncturist and took chinese herbs. You may want to ask Melissa. They also bled my back to relieve the whole body breakout. It took a couple of treatments and cooked herbs and dried herbs the second time.

On July 8, 2009, Bruce wrote:

My sympathies go out to you although I haven't had an encounter in decades. I to am truly interested in your last question in particular. I am just starting this adventure and have heard stories of chronic illness & diseases disappearing after being raw for a while. I am just wondering if they are true or a nice fantasy. My stake is asthma & allergies for the last thirty years, wouldn't mind seeing them gone but I'm quite happy with how much better I feel so far.

On July 8, 2009, Jim Dee wrote:

Dawn makes sense to me, too, though I've never tried it. Whether the urushiol toxin acts the same as grease is questionable, though. Still, *anything* is worth trying when it comes to poison ivy!!! I'm SO envious of your immunity!!! :-) My mother seems immune to it, too, though my dad is allergic like me (or, uh, me like him).

On July 8, 2009, Jim Dee wrote:

Ahh, yes, Jewel Weed. I will definitely google it and learn to identify it (and hopefully not ever have to try it, though if history is any indication, I'm sure the opportunity will come again). Will also try the Vitamin C. Thanks, Rene!

On July 8, 2009, Jim Dee wrote:

Thanks for the extra info on jewel weed, Vita! -Jim

On July 8, 2009, Jim Dee wrote:

Wow, *two more* treatments! This is great!!! I'm going to catalog them all and put together a comprehensive poison ivy post sometime soon! Thanks, Nancy!

On July 8, 2009, Jim Dee wrote:

No poison ivy in Queensland ?!!! WOW! I thought it was worldwide. We do have plenty of burdock here, so I'll put that on my list of things to try. Thanks!

On July 8, 2009, Jim Dee wrote:

Yes, I'll definitely ask Melissa, as she's a walking plant/herb encyclopedia. I wonder what the Chinese herb treatment is for poison ivy.

On July 8, 2009, Jim Dee wrote:

Well, I do know that, today (July 8) we posted a "My Raw Story" installment in which the writer talks of having had asthma prior to being raw. So, perhaps that's one instance of asthma disappearing. If you click that "Follow This Horse" graphic on the blog (look in the sidebar), you'll find blogs of people who have beaten chroinic illnesses. Still, I haven't read too much about beating particular allergies, so I'm also very curious about this. It would be wonderful to think that, in the future, I could just have a "normal" reaction to poison ivy/oak/sumac!

On July 8, 2009, Joanne wrote:

Never had poison ivy but my husband is sensitive to poison oak and got poison ivy for the first time last year- Ouch! He found that Sunlight bar soap worked well to dry it up. Burt Bees also makes a natural bar soap just for poison ivy which he tried as well, tho it was late in the recovery when I found it. He said it worked well too. Also, there are homeopathic remedies for poison ivy. Rhus tox is the main one ( made from the plant itself - like cures like) but there may be others depending on your specific symptoms.

On July 8, 2009, Jim Dee wrote:

Thanks, Joanne! I'll add those to my forthcoming "comprehensive poison ivy cure" list. I think mine's definitely on the decline, though my right arm will surely take another solid week or so to be returned to a more normal state. Awful stuff...

On July 10, 2009, Robyn wrote:

At the healthfood store where I work we sell a local product called Nature's Poison Ivy Cure. It's actually dried Sweet Fern that you make into a tea to keep in the fridge to put on your PI when you break out in a rash. The gentleman who makes it also sells it on the web. It's an old time remedy that folks swear by.

On July 10, 2009, Toni wrote:

Try Tecnu Extreme Medicated Poison Ivy Scrub it works well here. It's homeopathic. Found it in my local pharmacy/drug store. It was recommended by one of my dog training students.
(not the dog , the owner..Hee hee)


On June 23, 2011, Alessandra wrote:

After only 4 days it goes away? That is lucky. Mine stays around for 3 weeks...and yes scratching it is that nearly orgasmic pleasure/pain. If I find any suspicious bumps on me I cover them immediately with a bandaid and keep them covered until the spots disappear. Otherwise, it just spreads and spreads on me. I like the rubbing alcohol thing, and the seawater...jewelweed did not do much for me.... after 2 unpleasant encounters (got first case from my sister's cat...started on my forehead, got into my eyelids, all over my face and finished up on my arms.) 2nd time I got it while going pee in the woods...started on my upper backside, spread to the inside of both thighs....all while driving many hundreds of miles in August in a car with no air conditioning...this was a long cross country road trip. I was scrubbing my legs with a wash cloth and rubbing alcohol....and finished off with some Vit E oil (after a couple of weeks) which healed it nicely.

I now avoid anything with 3 leaves like the plague. Have no desire to go through that again. My husband is one of the lucky ones who doesn't react.

On June 24, 2011, Wendi wrote:

Thanks for all the great comments, everyone!! XOXOXO