The scientific name of Jewelweed is Impatiens capensis. It is in the flowering plants division of the plant kingdom (class Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons) and the Touch-me-not family and genus.
Jewelweed is commonly know for effectiveness in treating poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. It also alleviates other skin irritations. Many crafters use jewelweed in soaps and other home remedy / herbal remedy products.
The showy flowers are orange. There is a related plant, impatiens pallida, with yellow flowers. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the orange flowered jewelweed is more effective for relief of poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac.
Orange Jewelweed Blossom
Jewelweed actually has two types of flowers. The showy flower described above and a petal-less flower that contains most of the seeds. The name "touch-me-not" may refer to the way seeds explode from their pods when touched.
Jewelweed is an annual herb.
Patch of Jewelweed with mostly orange blooms and one yellow blossom visible.
Many herbalists believe that the jewelweed in bloom is best and most effective for creating poison ivy remedies. Jewelweed generally blooms from June through October.
Native American Indians were known to use jewelweed plant juices to relieve itching and irritation associated with poison ivy, stinging nettle and insect bites. They used jewelweed as an aid for dealing with dermatological, gastrointestinal, gynecological, pediatric, orthopedic, pulmonary, kidney, liver, eye medicine, diuretic, burn dressing and as a yellow or orange dye.
Where to find jewelweed:
Jewelweed can be found throughout the United States except Wyoming, Montana and the southwest. It is common near streams or other moist shady areas.
How to make really effective Jewelweed soap
Step 1: Find some blooming jewelweed!
Step 2: Pick the jewelweed - stems, leaves and blooms (enough to fill a large stock pot - twice).
Step 3: Clean the jewelweed of dead plant materials and insects.
Step 4: Stuff the jewelweed into your stock pot and cover with water (distilled preferably).
Step 5: Simmer the jewelweed until the jewelweed "tea" is a dark orange color. Remove the first batch of jewelweed plant material and replace with a fresh bunch. Simmer for another 15 minutes. Remove jewelweed.
Step 6: Simmer the jewelweed tea until it is reduced by about 1/2.
NOTE: It is beyond the scope of this article to get into details of soap making. Beginners should find a quality source of melt and pour base and use that. The remaining steps assume you have melt and pour soap base.
Step 7: Follow the directions with your melt and pour soap regarding processing and amount of additives that can be added to the base. A decent rule of thumb for effective soap is about 1 part jewelweed tea to 3 parts soap base. Pour your mixed soap base and jewelweed mixture into soap molds. Allow to cool and then wrap for storage.
Jewelweed is an amazing plant with wonderful anti-itch properties.