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Growing Jewelweed

 
Patrick Winters
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Needless to say, poison ivy holds the eastern half of North America in a reign of terror, checked only by hungry goats. The forest and margins in my area are crawling with the stuff. I've done some reading and found that the wild plant Jewelweed's stem sap is supposed to have very effective powers for combating the poison ivy's toxic oils. If that's the case, it's probably very worthwhile to integrate into our systems so that we always have plenty of the stuff onhand.

Here's the plant's stats:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Impatiens+capensis

Does anyone here have any experience growing Jewelweed themselves? Any tips on growing it in gardens or in riparian areas where it's supposed to thrive?
 
Isaac Hill
gardener
Posts: 356
Location: Beaver County, Pennsylvania (~ zone 6)
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Well, around here we don't so much actively grow it... it sort of just pops up anywhere there's shade and decent leaf litter.
 
Max Kennedy
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Location: Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada
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Ah, touch me not. One of my favourites! I've always wondered if it can be processed into a salve and if so how.
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Jewlweed likes semi shade, fertile soil, humus and moisture.

It thrives around a pond on a river flood plain.

I have never grown it, it just pops up.

It can grow in dry gravel in the sun, but not as well.

Fels Naptha (brand name) soap, the old fashioned kind, takes the poison off your skin, for the most part, if you are not badly exposed. It is wise to take a shower with Fels Naptha soap every time you think you are exposed, when you get home.

Good luck!

Pamela Melcher

 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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By semi- shade, I mean dappled shade understory.
 
Elisha Gray
Posts: 9
Location: Sussex County, NJ
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I have lots of jewel weed volunteers in and around my compost pile. Other then that it seems to like partial shade and very moist fertile soil near forest edges (my untouched soil here is neutral to slightly alkaline clay).

Foraging for jewelweed, you look for it in low lying areas near streams, ponds, in swamps. The foraging books I have also note that it prefers nearly the same habitat as poison ivy but jewelweed doesn't like sandy soil and doesn't grow near the seashore (probably for the same reason).

Before you try and grow it, I recommend trying to identify it growing wild in your area (just to make sure you can easily identify it). I was once excited to read of the mythical properties of the plant and then after finding it in the woods realized that its one of those "weeds" I've been fighting back at the edge of the property.
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Elisha, What are the mythical properties of Jewelweed? That sounds fascinating.

Thank you.

Pamela Melcher
 
Walter Jeffries
Posts: 1085
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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We're up on a mountain. We have jewelweed (http://sugarmtnfarm.com/jewel-weed/) growing all over the place. I love it for its beauty and encourage it.
 
Melba Corbett
Posts: 164
Location: North Carolina
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Max Kennedy wrote:Ah, touch me not. One of my favourites! I've always wondered if it can be processed into a salve and if so how.


I make salve from jewelweed by gathering the young plants before the stems get too tough and throwing into the food processor along with a little glycerin. Keeps well.
When using it, don't put your fingers into the jar, instead use a clean spoon to dip some out so the oils in your skin don't contaminate the storage container which you may plan on keeping for a long time. This way it stores longer. When dealing with poison ivy, it is always best to wash the skin with hot, soapy water if you've touched it, but if it is already erupting, try covering the rash with baking soda, leave on a minute, then wash off. After drying the skin, apply the jewelweed, either fresh and crushed, or the salve. Works like a charm, usually within 24 hours.
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Melba, Thanks!

Does this salve also work for poison oak?

I live in Portland, Oregon, where we do not have poison ivy, but we have poison oak.

Thanks.

Pamela Melcher
 
Melba Corbett
Posts: 164
Location: North Carolina
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Pamela Melcher wrote:Melba, Thanks!

Does this salve also work for poison oak?

I live in Portland, Oregon, where we do not have poison ivy, but we have poison oak.

Thanks.

Pamela Melcher


Yes, it works on any kind of rash, its even good for psorriasis.

Melba
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Great!

Thank you, Melba!!!

Pamela Melcher
 
Max Kennedy
Posts: 478
Location: Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada
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Good for psoriasis, hmm. I have a flaky scalp condition, always have. Have what has been called rosacea as well. Wonder if it would work on that. Early season here so have no jewelweed to try but I'll make a salve and add some juices to a bottle of shampoo later in the year and see what happens! Thanks for the idea, never thought of using it for anything but the poison ivy, oak, sumac rashes.
 
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