So…..since this particular plant has popped into my life quite frequently during the past few weeks, I decided to first focus on Jewelweed. Lovely name, isn't it? For me it conjures up the image of a green field of tall grasses topped with rainbow colored gems as far as the eye can see.
Here are the actual specs on this plant:
Scientific Name: Impatiens capensis
Common Name: Jewelweed
Description: Plants 2-5', stems succulent. Leaves oval or elliptic. Flowers are orange and yellow, solitary, drooping, with nectar spur (which basically looks like tiny little cornucopias or trumpets).
Habitat: Moist roadside ditches, woods, and streams
Fun Fact: Jewelweed is actually water repellant, so water droplets bead up on its surface. The drops look like tiny jewels on the surface, hence the name. Just another great reason for a rainy walk.
Okay, do you have a picture of it in your head? Probably since there is a picture right here.
Uses: This is a fantastic anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, analgesic (pain reliever), and anti-itch remedy. Just break open a stem and slather that lovely juiciness onto your cuts, scrapes, warts, etc. This plant is fantastic to treat poison ivy. Trust me, I am nursing a patch right now. Scratch, scratch.
For treatment of poison ivy or other rashes, you can simply make an infusion (strong tea), by gathering a nice big handful of Jewelweed, mashing it a bit, and adding a pint of water. Simmer this for about 30 min . It comes out a beautiful orange color! Cool it, then pop it into a spray bottle and spritz when needed. Keep it in the fridge for 7-10 days.
If you want it to stick around a little longer, you can make a tincture or salve out of fresh jewelweed. I see a tutorial in our near future! Then you can apply it or take it internally for specific conditions. Of which I'm sure you will research thoroughly.
My favorite way to extract the medicinal constituents in jewelweed is witch hazel, however. You prepare it the same as the tincture, but replace the vodka with witch hazel. Don't take this one internally! Added bonus: witch hazel is great for skin conditions, and preserves the medicinal goodness. Apply as needed!
This plant is almost everywhere in the country, except the far north and the southwest. Sorry my Flagstaff and Alaska peeps! You'll have to visit to catch this one in bloom.