Learning Herbs: Jewel Weed

{see the entire Learning Herbs series here}
Impatiens capensis
{photo source}

Jewel Weed Herb Profile:

Latin Name: Impatiens capensis

Other Names: Orange, Common, or Spotted Jewelweed, Touch-Me-Not, or Orange Balsam

Description:  Jewelweed is a succulent plant is usually found growing near water or in shallow ponds. It is often found in areas where Poison Ivy grows. Jewelweed grows up to five feet tall, branching toward the top, with distinct stems, leaves and flowers. Upon breaking, the stems produce a clear, watery liquid inside, especially in the nodes.

Jewelweed has delicate oval-shaped leaves with soft serrated edges. The leaves are water-repellent… when drops of water land on them, little “jewels” form, hence the name ‘jewelweed’. If they are submerged in water, the underside will appear to be silver. (A fun nature project for the kids). The flowers are trumpet-shaped, blooming from early summer to fall, are under 1 inch long, with three petals, one which curls.

Parts used: Aerial parts (leaves, stem, flowers), fresh only. Use within 1-2 hours of picking.

Medicinal Properties: Jewelweed is considered a natural herbal remedy not only for poison ivy, but also for poison oak, stinging nettle, and other irritating plants. It contains phytochemicals that combat the skin irritants found in nature. Jewelweed is also used for many other skin disorders. You will most commonly find jewelweed in the form of soap or liniment.

This plant, made into a poultice, is an “old folk remedy” originally used by indigenous North Americans for everything from skin issues to minor injuries to whole body remedies. Though there are little studies to prove the effectiveness, they used it to heal skin, gastrointestinal, orthopedic, heart, kidney, liver and urinary conditions. They also used the flowers for fun things like a yellow/orange dye.

Common (therapeutic) uses: Abrasion, Bug Bites, Burns, Cuts, Eczema, Poison Ivy (any stage), Poison Oak, Other Skin Irritations, Ringworm and more…

Medicinal Forms: Here are a few ways to use/apply jewelweed:

External:

  • Infused Oil
  • Liniment
  • Poultice
  • Soap

Internal:

  • None known

Recipe: Poison Ivy Remedy using Jewelweed and Plantain

{Video complimentary from Bulk Herb Store}


{You can learn more about harvesting and using your own “wild” herbs on Making Herbs Simple DVD Vol. 1 and Vol. 2}

Precautions: None known.

Where to find: Jewel weed is usually found in disturbed, moist areas. Try searching around streams, ponds, and ditches. It is common to find jewelweed growing along the one thing it heals against – poison ivy. Fresh is always best as the plants wilt quickly and doesn’t hold its medicinal value when dry.

Resources:

I recently stumbled upon a large patch of poison ivy while berry picking. Long story short… jewelweed worked! Have you ever used jewelweed? I’d love to hear about it!

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Comments

Learning Herbs: Jewel Weed — 5 Comments

  1. Growing up in Ohio we often played in the woods near a country creek. My dad taught us about jewelweed – the silver look under the water, and how it stopped the nettle scratches from stinging our legs. It also helped with mosquitos bites too!
    We loved hunting for ripe jewelweed seed pods too. When they were perfectly ripe, just a light touch with a finger makes the seed pods explode open (that’s the “touch-me-not” part). Thanks for reminding me of these sweet childhood memories!

  2. I just saw a jewelweed plant and it had a roundish, green sack attached by a long thin stem to the stalk, away from the flowers and seed pods. I’ve never seen this before. A friend also commented she’d seen one also. What is this sack?

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