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Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)

Updated: Mar 21

Plants grow where they are needed



Jewelweed belongs to the Balsaminaceae family, it is a herbaceous plant with small orange flowers that grows along wetland borders, bottomlands and damp roadside ditches. Knowing jewelweed is often found growing in close proximity to poison ivy is greatly beneficial. It also works to soothe the bite of stinging Nettle


By splitting the succulent stem and rubbing the watery juice onto your skin you may prevent or minimize an outbreak of poison ivy. Use her clear, calming juices as a poultice—right from the leaves and stalks—directly on areas of poison ivy exposure. An anti-inflammatory chemical called Lawsone also known as henna tannic acid., which has been proven to help reduce itch and swelling, is contained in the juicy stems of mature plants


Jewelweed is also useful for treating and reducing the severity of the irritation and inflammation should a rash develop.


I suggest keeping some jewelweed extraction on hand even in winter when poison ivy is dormant in case you meet up with urushiol oil residue on tree trunk vines or firewood.


Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)

Yellow Jewelweed (Impatiens pallida) Best for Urushiol Poisoning



Medicinal Properties


Plant Properties: Diuretic, demulcent, emollient, anti-inflammatory, antipruritic (stops itching), antihistamine, anti-fungal

Energetics: Bitter, cooling, astringent, moistening.

Plant Uses: contact dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis

Habitat: You can find jewelweed growing in shady, damp areas; ditches, streams, rivers, bog and lakesides, the edges of forests. I have jewelweed growing on my family farm in a shady area. Jewelweed will usually grow and share the same habitat as poison ivy.



Harvesting Jewelweed: The ideal time to harvest Jewelweed for medicinal purposes is when the plant is in bloom. If in dire need, even the smallest plants can be beneficial.


You’ll notice several swollen nodes along each stem – these spots are particularly juicy. The stems are hollow, the alternate, bluish-green leaves are oval-shaped with coarsely toothed margins for a scalloped appearance. Although they can get up to 5 inches long, the leaves are usually about 2½ to 3 inches long. Sparkling droplets of rain or dew beading up on the smooth leaves may be the source of the common name of jewelweed.


The flowers are about an inch each hanging on their slender stalk in a widely-spreading small cluster the colours can range from yellow to orange (sometimes white) with variable amounts of red-orange spots. The flower is attractive to bumblebees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, making it important to forage delicately.


 

DIY Jewelweed Salve

Jewelweed salve takes only about 30 minutes of active prep time. We will be using the warm rapid method. This is the preferred method for fresh plant material, eliminating the risk of the plant oils going rancid over a longer infusion process.


Tools

  • Mason Jar

  • Scale

  • Sous vide, or Double boiler Pot & heatproof bowl.

  • Strainer

  • Cheesecloth

  • Tins Containers (or small resealable jars)


Forage


1. Collect your Jewelweed leaves and stems. It's important to leave the root system intact.


2. Chop the leaves & stock and fill your mason jar an inch from the top with your fresh jewelweed leaves and stems. Pack firmly. Fill jar with your choice of carrier oil. I suggest sunflower oil although olive and other carrier oils will work as well.


Sunflower seed oil is high in vitamin E, rich in nutrients and antioxidants The properties make it effective for combatting many skincare issues including inflammation, general redness, irritation and itchiness of the skin.


Infusion

(24-48 hours)


3. Prepare a water bath - I use a sous-vide for this part, as it is consistent. this method also allows the whole jar to be submerged. If you do not have a sous vide you can also use a double boiler. The Temperature should remain between 110 to 120 degrees, at a higher temperature the herbs will cook losing many of their medicinal benefits.


After a day or two (preferably two) The jewelweed infusion is finished, it’s time to make the salve. Strain (with strainer & cheese cloth) the jewelweed leaves out of the infused oil. Use a heatproof bowl (or double boiler). Place the bowl over simmering water in a small pot.


Simple Salve Ingredients

  • 150g Jewelweed-infused oil

  • 1 drop of Vitamin E

  • 28g Beeswax


Measure the beeswax add it to a heat-proof dish or the double boiler. This evenly distributes the heat, (beeswax should never be melted over direct heat).

Once beeswax is melted, slowly pour in the herb-infused oil and stir.

Remove from heat, once the salve begins to thicken add your vitamin E.

Poor salve into containers and let cool completely (covering the containers too soon can cause condensation) Once cooled cover and store in a cool dark place. Salve can be used immediately.


Jewelweed is very soothing and gentle and can be applied to even the most delicate areas of the body. You can use this salve as a moisturizer, a first aid salve, and for rashes of all kinds.

 

If you don't have time to make your own salve WillowB makes fresh salve upon ordering.




Why Sunflower Oil?


Sunflower oil is high in Linoleic acid, which helps to maintain the skin’s natural barrier, supporting its ability to retain moisture. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect when used topically. This makes it beneficial for dry skin and for conditions, such as eczema it also has been found that topical use of sunflower oil was beneficial for healing wounds faster.


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