Jewelweed can also take the itch and pain out of insect bites and nettle stings.
There is a widely quoted study from 1958 that found jewelweed dramatically effective for 108 of 115 patients with poison ivy rash, curing their symptoms completely within two to three days. Steve Brill writes that it works as a preventative as well, if you slather it on your skin directly after exposure to poison ivy. He says you can preserve jewelweed for later by tincturing it in witch hazel, too.Most field guides instruct you to crush jewelweed leaves and split the stems and apply them directly to the skin, but an ethnobotanical encyclopedia I have also mentions using the flowers.
I tried using jewelweed flowers this weekend when I was out hiking through a monster nettle patch. My hiking companion did the same. We noticed that they felt slick and gooey. He said it took the pain out of his stings. I wasn’t sure if it worked for me, because I was distracted by a swarm of aggressive mosquitos.To find jewelweed, look for bright orange flowers with red speckles on them. They’ll be growing along or near a water source. The stems are person height at three to five feet tall. The flowers, also called touch-me-nots, have a very unusual shape. They are “irregular,” like violets or pea flowers.
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