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Will A Banana Peel Ease Inflammation and Itching from Poison Ivy?

The banana peel remedy for poison ivy has been popular for decades. First, remove the invisible resin with soap. If you miss a spot, consider banana peel.
Will A Banana Peel Ease Inflammation and Itching from Poison...
Banana peel remedy

People are sometimes surprised that they can go decades without developing a skin reaction to poison ivy. Then one day out of the blue they develop red, itchy blisters after exposure to this nasty plant. Some readers have found that a banana peel remedy can help ease the suffering.

Banana Peel Remedy to the Rescue:

Q. My wife and I recently moved into our new house. By early April, the yard had become pretty overgrown. I spent an entire day pulling out what I thought was just ivy. However, it turned out that it was poison ivy.

Over the next few days my arms and shins were covered with an itchy rash. Suffice it to say, it was pretty unpleasant.

I tried the normal stuff to treat the symptoms: Benadryl tabs at night and Ivy-Dry spray in the morning. I noticed that the spray wore off around 11 am, making for a rough afternoon at work. I did a few searches on poison ivy remedies and found that some people reported using banana peels to relieve poison ivy.

Since I always pack a banana as part of my lunch, I figured I had nothing to lose except for a couple odd stares from workmates.

Surprisingly, it was pretty effective. Immediately after I rubbed the peels on the affected area, the skin turned red and the itch subsided a few minutes later. The relief lasted about three hours. I wouldn’t call it a miracle cure, but it certainly worked at least as well as some of the drugstore remedies I was paying for.

Managing Poison Ivy:

A. You are not the first person to share success with banana peel for poison ivy or oak rash. As far as we can tell, dermatologists have not studied this remedy. They are more likely to prescribe a corticosteroid cream. Bad cases may require oral steroids.

It is always wise to wash thoroughly with soap and water whenever you may have been exposed to poison ivy or poison oak. Getting the urushiol resin off the skin as soon as possible reduces the chance of a reaction.

Another Reader Chimes in on Banana Peels:

Q. I just got poison ivy for the first time in my life. I found what you wrote about the banana peel remedy and gave it a try. I will attest to the fact that, for me, it works much better than hydrocortisone cream.

A. The first step for treating poison ivy is to wash the skin as soon as possible after exposure. Even using a hand sanitizer or alcohol wipe can help. Other people swear by old-fashioned Fels-Naptha soap, though experts say any soap will work. Special products such as Zanfel or Tecnu are also useful.

What Causes the Itch of Poison Ivy?

The resin from poison ivy is called urushiol. Once this invisible compound firmly attaches to your skin it can cause redness, itching, blistering and oozing. For some, the misery can last for many days or even weeks.

That is why it is essential to wash this oily resin off the skin ASAP! If you don’t have Tecnu on hand you could also try Dawn dishwashing detergent. The key to success is to use a washcloth with the Tecnu, Dawn or soap to remove the resin and then rinse thoroughly.

The Banana Peel Remedy:

Other readers have used banana peel for poison ivy, as Fay did:

“As a Girl Scout 40 years ago, I tried an experiment with banana peel on one spot of poison ivy and calamine lotion on the other spot. The spot where I applied banana peel 3 to 5 times a day healed three days sooner. I am a believer.”

Nique in North Carolina added this:

“I am very allergic to both poison ivy and poison oak. When I read about this treatment, I tried it at around 8:00 this morning after three days of painful burning and itching around my wrists.

” Since my encounter with a dried poison oak vine last Thursday I had tried many different topical treatments. It’s now 5:30 pm and my wrist is still cool, comfortable and itch free!!! The one thing I did do before using the banana peel was to wash my wrist good with warm salt water and pat it dry with a paper towel.

“I have contacted several of my fellow gardening friends to let them know about the wonderful banana peel remedy.”

BAS offers this testimonial:

“You use the inside part of the banana peel. The riper the banana, the better. I knew a lady who had poison ivy all over her arms and neck. She was miserable and banana peel was the only thing she tried that gave her relief.”

Share your own poison ivy remedy below in the comment section and do let us know if the banana peel remedy works for you.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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