Jewel-Weed

By: Cheryl Farkas –

What has orange flowers with reddish brown spots; silver blue-green leaves and cures poison ivy?

Jewel Weed Photo by Thomas Miller, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

by Thomas Miller, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

What it is called? Jewel-weed

Scientific Name(s): Impatiens balsamina L., I. capensis Meerb., I.
biflora Willd., I. pallida Nutt. 1 Family: Balsaminaceae

Common name(s)
Jewel-weed; Spotted Touch-me-not; Snap Weed; Wild Balsam;
Orange Balsam; Lady’s Eardrops; Wild Lady’s Slipper; Lady’s
earrings; Silver Cap; to name a few.

Description
It has pale green soft-toothed leaves with a hint of blue and a silvery top, which repels water. When raindrops settle on it, the silvery coating makes a raindrop look like a shimmering jewel, giving it the name jewelweed. Instead of a woody stem it has a watery, translucent, hollow, succulent stem with liquid inside, mostly at the nodes (a place in the stem where the leaf is attached). It’s kind of scraggly, but has beautiful orange flowers with red-brown spots or yellow flowers with pale orange spots.

Where to find it
Oddly enough, it often grows near poison ivy!
It can be found along roadsides, beside streams, ponds and in moist grounds, marshes. It prefers partial to full shade in acidic soil, clay, loam and sand. Flowers from July to October and is an annual growing 3-6 feet in height.

What it has
Lawsone, a component of Jewel Weed has antihistamine and an antiinflammatory activity and contains a natural fungicide.

What it does
Cures and prevents poison ivy, poison oak, stinging nettle, Irritants like mosquito bites, bug bites, razor burn, heat rash, ringworm, and athlete’s feet. Jewel Weed neutralizes the oil in poison ivy that creates the skin outbreak. That oil is called urushiol, to say:(oo-roo-shee-ol). The liquid in jewelweed has an almost sticky substance and it stays where you put it. Butterflies, hummingbirds, bees are attracted to the flower, birds are attracted to it for the seed. Oh, and the seedpods explode and spread seed everywhere when
touched. This helps ensure reproduction since it is an annual. How to use it If you notice you have rubbed up against poison ivy and are quick enough, applying the liquid immediately will prevent the rash and spreading. Look for jewelweed and crush or cut the stems and leaves and squeeze juice out on area. If you already have the rash, put liquid on a couple times a day and you will see quick healing and have less itch. Or just put it on bandages to keep from scratching. It’s best used fresh off the plant, but you can keep some handy. Pick the leaves and stems, cut in pieces in a small amount of water boiling water for 15 to 30 minutes. When the water becomes a dark orange color, strain and reserve in ice cube trays in freezer up to 12 months.

About the Author:

Cheryl Farkas PhotoCheryl Farkas is certified as a Plant Professional, holds degrees in Print Journalism/Mass Communications and Professional Photography. She has written numerous articles in botanical, agricultural and environmental publications specializing in botanical and environmental compounds related to health. She is actively involved in ethnobotany, literature review and research as a contributing writer. Cheryl is a vital researcher with the identification of plants discovered on the Healing Seekers’ Expeditions.”

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