Alternative names: Impatiens or Touch-Me-Not
Jewelweed is best known for its skin healing properties. The leaves and the juice from the stem of Jewelweed are used by herbalists to cure poison ivy and other plant induced rashes, as well as many other types of dermatitis.
There is plenty of jewelweed in the wild, and it is not hard to find once you learn to identify it. It is a smooth annual; 3-5 feet tall. Leaves are oval, round-toothed; lower ones opposite, upper ones alternate. A bit trumpet-shaped, the flowers hang from the plant much as a jewel from a necklace. Pale Jewelweed has yellow flowers; Spotted Touch-Me-Nots have orange flowers with dark red dots. The seeds will 'pop' when touched , that is where the name Touch-Me-Nots came from.
Jewelweed blooms May through October in the eastern part of North America from Southern Canada to the northern part of Florida. It is found most often in moist woods, usually near poison ivy or stinging nettle. Jewelweed often grows on the edge of creek beds. It is difficult to transplant and seeds do not store well; it should not be cultivated as it is extremely invasive and hard to control; it will take over areas and crowd out other important wild herbs.
Jewelweed works by counter-reacting with the chemicals in other plants that cause irritation.
The Spotted Jewelweed variety is most commonly used for rashes although the Pale Jewelweed may also have medicinal properties.
After being exposed to poison ivy, poison oak, or stinging nettle you can reach for the jewelweed plant and slice the stem, then rub its juicy inside on exposed skin. This will quickly ease irritation and usually prevents breakout for most people.
Jewelweed or an infusion made from boiling leaves of Impatiens capensis may be frozen for later use. Brew chopped jewelweed in boiling water until you get a dark orange liquid. Yellow Jewelweed will not yield orange color and may not be effective. Strain the liquid and pour into ice cube trays. Rubbing a jewelweed cube on a skin rash is very effective. It will keep in freezer up to a year. The infusion can also be preserved by canning it in a pressure cooker.
Rub juice from this plant on the infected area.