Herb Spotlight: Poison Ivy


Guest post by Tori

Poison ivy in summer. Image from Poison-Ivy.org

This plant is going to be a bit controversial.  It’s not generally thought of as a positive plant.  It is a big concern for anyone walking in a wooded area, especially someone allergic.  In my opinion, these attributes extend to their magical uses.  It grows everywhere with enough light, but in places where grass won’t grow (grass usually beats out the ivy).  These plants are very stubborn and the roots lock in and help prevent erosion.

Medicinal Uses
Don’t touch it!  If you decide to collect* it, where gloves, a long sleeve shirt, full pants, and close-toed shoes.  Wash all of your clothes thoroughly afterward.  DO NOT burn wood with ivy vines on it.  You would get the rash in your lungs.  It’s not just the leaves that are poisonous.  The vines, even in winter, can give you the rash.

Magical Uses**
The most obvious use is in a curse.  (I’m not going to go into the morals of this.  It was discussed on this site already.  All I will say is that it is foolish not to know these things can be done.)  You can use it to make someone uncomfortable for any number of reasons, the most obvious one to me is to get them to leave a situation without causing them serious harm.  This would be good to mix with hot pepper, which is good for this purpose (check out hot foot powder, a hoodoo recipe).

Since this is ivy it has the general ivy characteristics of stubbornness and stability, but I think the itchiness and the rash aspects kind of out weigh those.  I would not recommend it for strength spells or grounding purposes for that reason.  Plus, why would you risk coming in contact with poison ivy when it’s non-rash inducing cousins are more available, since you can buy them in the store or harvest them from someone’s yard?

*If you get hurt because you decide to collect this stuff, it is not our fault. I warned you it was poisonous.  It is right there in the title.
** This particular plant is not in Cunningham’s book and I have yet to get others to check, so this is how I think poison ivy can be used.

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2 responses to “Herb Spotlight: Poison Ivy

  1. That was awesome. I think it’s important to recognize baneful things and how they can be used. I have seen many people hurt, by jokes meant to be funny, but wound up cruel. However, every once in a while, someone just won’t take a hint, so knowing how to make them depart forthwith can be vital. Sometimes partners with heavy hands need a little encouragement that it is time to leave the roost. This could potentionally cause some discomfort, but no one gets truly hurt.

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