For some reason my parents are The Worst at identifying Poison Ivy. Enter the perfect opportunity for experimenting with Jewelweed salve. Last week they literally had a picnic on top of Poison Ivy. As you can imagine, that leads to a lot of unpleasantness. My Dad mentioned the whole picnic thing and asked if there was anything I could do for them since it was Sunday evening and all the stores were closed.
I was like YES! THIS IS MY MOMENT TO SHINE! EMERGENCY HERBALISM! QUICK, TO THE FOREST!!! It was like 15 minutes before sundown so I gathered some paper bags, a plant cutter, and ran to the nearest forestey area. My neighbours eyed me suspiciously but I was on a mission! I had a few ideas about what I could use.
I met Jewelweed a few weeks before while I was on a date, luckily. After that, I took note of it wherever I went. I like to know what’s growing around me. It’s handy for foraging but also to feel more connected to the plants and your surroundings. Since I knew exactly where Jewelweed was growing, I was able to get there before sundown!
I use the app WildEdibles for mobile research. There’s lots of high quality pictures and tips for identifying and harvesting, as well as any important cautions. Jewelweed sometimes grows around Poison Ivy so I made sure to be careful. The cure for Poison Ivy is certainly not a topical application of more!
If I’d found out sooner, I’d have had my parents apply Jewelweed directly but it was too late for them. I used what I collected to make a salve instead. Step 1 is making an infused oil. It was rather time sensitive so I used the stovetop heat method to infuse the oil.
Jewelweed is best used fresh. I got home fast enough that nothing was wilted so I used all the parts – stem, leaves, flower. It occurred to me that I had some other dried herbs that wanted to be added to the salve too so I threw them in too! The more herbs to add their support to the formula, the merrier.
I added plantain, pink rose, and calendula to round out the formula and make it extra awesome. As you can see, the fresh Jewelweed is no longer bright looking and a lot of colour has left the leaves. This means it’s ready to be strained. I combined the strained infused oil with the other salve components and waited until they melted together.
Once everything was melted and well mixed, I quickly poured it into the jars. My aim could be better 😉 I like to use mini-deodorant containers for easier application but some people prefer jars so I made both. I named it Picnic Salve in their honour.
My parents were quite happy with how it turned out! It helped a lot with the itching and I hope the other herbs will encourage healing.
Keep your eyes peeled for Jewelweed while you’re out and about! Chances are it will come in handy some day.