Thursday, January 16, 2014

Poison Ivy Relief Soap

This is jewelweed also known as touch-me-not
I don't know how much you know about wild flowers or folk lore connected with it, but I have learned a lot about this subject in the last several years.  Along with my interest in improving my families health naturally, I have also become interested in how to use the plants found in the local area.
The original top of the soap

I spent most of the spring and summer looking for jewelweed in my area that I would be able to harvest for making soap.  Jewelweed is a traditional treatment for poison ivy and poison oak.  They are often found in a fairly close proximity.   The part of the plant that is useful is the stem.  The juice in the stem is the effective portion.

Two molds
My mother and I went to the patch that we had found near her house and picked a bunch.  We picked whole plants saving as many seeds as we could so that we can plant a patch at her house.  While we were picking plants we both ended up into poison ivy.  I am extremely allergic to the stuff!  I crushed some stems and rubbed them all over the area that had touched the poison ivy and I never broke out.  We filled a 2 garbage bags with plants.

The original soap color
After we got back to her house we used her Vitamix and chopped up the plants with just enough water added to keep the Vitamix from binding up with the plant matter.  After I had the plants broken down to fairly small pieces, I strained the resulting pulp through cheesecloth.  The juice was not green like I had expected, but was a rusty kind of red.   I put the resulting juice in the refrigerator until I could get all of it frozen.  By the way, FYI, jewelweed juice will stain your ice cube trays a reddish orange.

I used frozen jewelweed extract instead of water for my lye solution.  It took a few minutes to get all of the ice melted with the lye.  After I made sure that all of the lye was dissolved, I started measuring out all of my oils.

Looks like camo right.
I started by blending all of my oils up to make sure that the pieces were small enough to melt.  I added my lye solution to the oils and started blending with my stick blender.  I thought that I got everything to a light trace.  This was what I needed to do the delicate swirl that I wanted to do.  I got everything in the mold except for about 2 cups of the soap mixture.  I colored one cup with activated charcoal and the other I colored with a little zinc oxide.  I made lots of thin lines on the top of the molds with each color.  Next I took a bamboo skewer and drew lines all the way through to the bottom of the mold.  I worked my way across the mold one way and then the other spacing the lines about an inch apart.

Ready for sale
The next day I went to un-mold my beautiful soap only to find that there were pockets of lye water.  Yikes!!  I zinged myself before I figured out what the liquid pockets were.  I wasn't about to let all of my hard work go to waste, and since I had kept the soap so thin I thought that I might have had pockets of lye water that separated out.  I pulled on a pair of gloves and pulled out my soap knife and started cutting it all up into chunks in my soap crock pot.

After cooking the whole batch down, I divided the batch into three parts.  I colored one third black with activated charcoal.  I colored the second third white with zinc oxide.  I remolded the soap into my now clean molds using the ever popular spoon plop technique.  I thought that if I made the soap look like camouflage then maybe the men folks would not be as hesitant to use the soap.  My brothers can be a bit hesitant to use my "voodoo" stuff.

I am linking with the following blogs:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        


  1. I could have used this last summer when I got my first (and absolutely horrible) poison ivy experience. A month of steroids and special creams was not fun. I've pinned this to my gardening board. Thanks for linking to the Craftastic Monday party at Sew Can Do!

  2. I get poison ivy really easily which was part of the reason for this soap. I haven't had a chance to try it on a reaction yet due to how late in the year it got made. My husband is a plumber and he ended up going through two rounds of it thanks to jobs he was working on at the time. I will post an update after it has been tested on a reaction or two. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I had a horrible case of PI this past summer. I ended up on steroids and was not very happy about it.

  4. Jewelweed is the best for PI. I make a salve to have year round! Beautiful soap!
    Thanks for sharing this week with Wildcrafting Wednesday. :)

    1. I have never made any slaves. Do you have a recipe that you would be willing to share. We end up with a lot of poison ivy and so far I have been afraid to try any salves.

    2. I mean salves. I can't type when I'm tired.

  5. I am co hosting Fluster's Creative Muster Link Party!! Thanks so much for linking up!



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