Dear Peter: Poison Ivy Is Driving Me Mad!

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Dear Peter: Poison Ivy Is Driving Me Mad!

Poison Ivy

Naomi from Georgia asks Dr. Peter a common question about poison ivy:

Dear Dr. Peter,

Our yard is wooded and every spring we battle poison ivy. Armed with long sleeves, pants, and gloves I cut and spray to rid our yard of poison ivy. But still, I always seem to get the horrible rash. This year both my husband and I are miserable! We have it all over our bodies. It’s on my arms, legs, in-between my fingers and even behind my ears… can’t stop scratching.

My sister uses your Neem Cure for her eczema. Will it help relieve this itch and give us some peace? Please HELP!

Thank you,

– Itching Naomi

Poison Ivy Rash

Dr. Peter answers:

Dear Naomi,

A poison ivy rash is a type of skin irritation called allergic contact dermatitis.  Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac plants all contain an oily resin called urushiol that can irritate the skin and cause a rash.

The oil is present in all parts of the plants, including the leaves, stems, flowers, berries, and roots. Urushiol is an allergen, so the rash is actually an allergic reaction to the oil in these plants.

Even any indirect contact with urushiol can cause the rash. This can happen when you touch clothing, gardening tools, or other objects that have come in contact with one of these plants. For example, you can get the rash by pushing your hair behind your ears with gardening gloves on or touching your sunglasses and returning them to your face.

The rash usually appears 8 to 48 hours after your contact with the urushiol. Symptoms include itchy red skin with small and large raised bumps, some with fluid filled blisters.

The good news is, although the itching from a poison ivy rash can be extremely irritating, it generally isn’t serious. Poison ivy rash treatment consists of self-care methods to relieve itching until the reaction disappears.

How Neem Can Help A Poison Ivy Reaction

Neem leaves and Neem oil can be summarized as anti-septic, anti-inflammatory and as a facilitator of wound healing. Application of Neem leaf powder or Neem Oil to the skin can have miraculous results. Because of its anti-microbial properties, it renders bad microorganisms inactive, therefore, helping in proper healing of the skin and protecting it from infections and septic conditions.

For Poison Ivy, Neem’s natural anti-histamine properties will reduce or stop itching on the skin, while the anti-inflammatory properties will reduce swelling and help heal open blisters. Neem can be used on all forms of skin conditions and is safe for all, including babies and animals.


  • Neem Cure – Our Neem Cure is a mixture of Neem Oil, Jojoba Oil and Essential Oils and can be applied directly to the affected area.  To Use: Apply a few drops of Neem Cure to the affected area 3 or 4 times a day to help relieve itch, help disinfect and help heal open wounds.
  • Neem Tub Tea – For severe itchy skin, our Tub Tea will provide some relief. This fragrance-free herbal remedy consists of 100% naturally-grown Neem leaves that help soothe irritated and itchy skin from poison ivy, bug bites, eczema, psoriasis, and more. I think you’ll be pleased with the calming effect Neem Tub Tea may have for your skin. To Use: Place 1 tea bag under running warm water in your next bath and soak in the soothing elements of Neem for 15-20 mins. Pat dry carefully, avoiding the rash area (so you don’t spread it!) Then, use a cotton ball to apply a couple drops of Neem Cure to the affected area. Dispose of the cotton ball immediately, again, so you won’t spread the poison ivy oils.

You may begin to notice a difference in just a few hours. And after applying Neem Cure several times a day and bathing with Tub Tea, things should be healing rather nicely.

And, if you’re interested, you can read all about the benefits and history of Neem on our What is Neem? section.

Let me know how the Neem Cure & Tub Tea worked for you. Feel free to leave a comment below.



Dr. Peter

2017-04-26T12:02:36+00:00 By |Tags: , , , , |

About the Author:

Chairman & CEO // Peter earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry with specialization in Hematology from the University of Marburg, Germany. He has worked for pharmaceutical companies in Germany and the US. Peter discovered the Neem tree through his friend Bill Stoffregen. He then researched Neem from a scientific standpoint and was quickly convinced that Neem is perfect for the human skin. Together, with his friend Birger from Norway, he also founded the Neem Tree Orchard in Mauritania. He travels to visit the African Neem team regularly.


  1. virginia July 25, 2016 at 10:15 PM - Reply

    I always seem to get poison ivy every year from my back yard. I had some neem in my house for the bugs but never used it on my skin until I did research. So this year I said to myself what can it hurt. First I put apple cider on my the area. Then I put the neem oil. Oh my it worked wonders and it stopped the itch and it healed it quicker than it ever has. Trust me this happens to me every year and I wish I did it sooner. I put neem my entire body because you never know what areas are really infected until you see a rash.

    • Jeffrey Anderson July 26, 2016 at 8:37 AM - Reply

      Wow! That’s wonderful to hear, Virginia! So glad you were able to finally use Neem and see/feel the wonderful effects of Neem firsthand! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Dr. Peter May 9, 2013 at 3:54 PM - Reply

    Hi Andrew, By the time your skin reacts to the urushiol it is one to two days later. Hopefully by then, you have cleansed your skin with soap, thus removing the urushiol. If you even think that you have been in contact with poison ivy, oak or sumac you should immediately wash the skin. That will help prevent the urushiol from rubbing onto other body parts. Apply Neem after the skin has been properly cleansed.

  3. Andrew May 9, 2013 at 7:11 AM - Reply

    Hi, I’m thinking that since Urushiol is an oily resin, then wouldn’t another oil simply thin out the other oil and just spread it around? I know Neem is a great antiseptic however putting two oils together just makes more oil. IMHO…

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