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A Poison Ivy Talk
Poison ivy is a member of the sumach family and, in fact, belongs to the same genus as sumach. For example, staghorn sumach is Rhus typhina, while the forms of poison ivy found in Nova Scotia, Canada, are Rhus radicans (also called Rhus toxicodendron) and Rhus Rydbergii.
What is poison oak?
We often hear people speak about poison oak as well as poison ivy, as if they were distinct plants. In reality, poison oak is the Rhus radicans or R. toxicodendron mentioned above. It is poison ivy. There is a great deal of leaflet variation with poison ivy plants, some of which may have a resemblence to oak leaves.
Poison ivy is not a poisonous plant in the strict sense of the definition. It is an allergenic plant containing an allergen to which we can become extremely sensitive. A true poisonous plant (for example, red baneberry, Actaea rubra, or jimsonweed, Datura Stramonium), unlike an allergenic plant, causes poisoning in a person, without a pre-existing sensitivity to the plant.
Important points to consider
Poison ivy remedies
A Mi'kmaq remedy relies on the sweet fern, Comptonia peregrina, plant. The leaves should be boiled in water and the solution used to bath the rash and blisters. This is effective in reducing the itch of poison ivy.
I suggest combining sweet fern and burdock Arctium minus (other species of burdock are also effective) as a remedy. The sweet fern leaves reduce the itch, when applied externally, as mentioned above. Burdock root tea should be taken internally as a blood cleanser. One tablespoon of burdock root to a cup of water, steeped gently for ten to fifteen minutes. Take three cups daily for a week to two weeks.
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