Medicinal plants

Poison Oak Leaves – Use & Treatment for Health

Poison oakleaf oak

Poison oak -leaved oak – better known as poison ivy – is a species of flowering plant in the genus Toxicidendron . The plant belongs to the Simach family ( Anacardiaceae ) and is used as a medicinal plant in homeopathy despite its toxicity. Its effectiveness in low doses has been confirmed by various authors.

Occurrence & Cultivation of Poison Oak Leaves

Ivy grows either as a shrub or as a climbing plant. In the first case it reaches a height of up to one meter, in the second case it forms so-called aerial roots. This form is botanically known as Toxicondendron pubescens var. radicans and is commonly referred to by the common name poison ivy . According to the name, this is poison ivy . However, the name itself is misleading. Despite the similarity, poisonous oak has very little in common with common ivy (Hedera helix). The plants are not related.

Oakleaf poison ivy is deciduous and has large, flexible branches. The milky sap of poison oak is white-yellowish, but turns black on contact with air and gives off a foul odor. The leaves of the poison ivy are divided into petiole and blade and arranged alternately on the branches. The stalk of a leaf is up to 15 centimeters long, the blade is downy hairy and has a serrated edge. Depending on the season, the color of the leaves varies. It can be purple, bright red or shiny green.

The inflorescence of the plant is paniculate and lateral. The flowers themselves are unisexual and have a whitish to green color with a red center. In addition, the poison sumac has spherical drupes that reach about the size of a pea and are 4 to 8 millimeters in size. The flowering period is from May to July. Their range extends from Canada to British Columbia. Poison oak can also be found in Arizona and Florida, but is also found in Mexico, Northeast Asia, the Bahamas and humid regions of France.

In Germany, the plant is mainly found in botanical gardens – less often in home gardens. In most cases, the plant triggers an itchy rash when touched. The ingredient urushiol is responsible for this.

Effect & Application

In addition to urushiol, poisonous oak contains tannins, gallic tannic acid and glycosides. In addition, there is rhus tannic acid and fisetin. Urushiol is one of the strongest natural contact allergens. Amounts in the microgram range are sufficient to cause severe irritation. In addition to external allergic reactions , oral intake can cause vomiting , colic, blood in the urine and inflammation of the digestive organs . Neurological symptoms similar to atropine poisoning can also occur.

According to reports, the plant is said to trigger rheumatism and, in the case of a contact allergy, to lead to crusty blisters, severe itching , hot and weeping eczema and fever . In homeopathy , on the other hand, the plant is used in small amounts to treat various ailments. It is used in the form of drops, tablets, creams, gels and injection solutions. But poison sumac is also included in various mixtures.

The hairy leaves are mainly used. But the fresh shoots of poison oak are also processed. They are used, among other things, as painkillers ( analgesics ). Homeopathically, it can be found in the potencies D6-12 and D30. Low potencies show their effects on physical ailments, while high potencies fight against mental illnesses .

Importance for health, treatment & prevention

Despite its toxicity, poisonous oak is used to treat a wide variety of ailments. These include sprains , dislocations or bruises that are associated with swollen joints and cause aching pain when moving. It is also used as a painkiller for strained tendons or tendonitis – complaints that are usually aggravated by cold and wet conditions.

The situation is similar with rheumatism, lumbago , sore muscles and neck pain , which often worsen in wet and cold weather. Poison sumac is also used here. Another area of ​​application is the impairment of the psyche. Poison oak is used for restlessness caused by fears and worries. In addition, it is used for cold sores and conjunctivitis .

In addition to a whole range of areas of application associated with joint and bone pain , the plant can also be used for mild flu and cold symptoms , provided they are associated with body aches . The effect of the plant as a pain reliever is also evident here.

During pregnancy, poisonous sumac is used for acute pain in the lumbar spine caused by pressure from the baby . This can prevent inflammation of the sciatic nerve. Ischalgia, for example, is treated by taking the potency D12 five times a day, reducing the amount after two days. Herpes is treated with D30, whereby the further course depends on the severity of the symptoms.

This application should be done especially when the blisters have not yet formed, but you can feel the first tingling . If the bubbles have already formed, the potency is reduced to 6X or 12X and starts with five granules three times a day. This treatment should usually be continued until complete healing to avoid recurrence.

While the plant is still used quite frequently in homeopathy, it is hardly or not at all used in conventional medicine. In the meantime, there are far more useful medications for various ailments. Added to this is the controversial use of poisonous plants in medicine. Basically, they should always be taken with caution and only in very small amounts.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.