This is a post from the past. Oh, how things have changed! My little one is now almost 6 feet tall! However, I’m glad to say that the benefit and mechanics of using Jewelweed have not changed! There will be several posts on using Jewelweed coming next but first it is important to know what you are gathering and how to gather. Ready to get started?
Now is the time to gather Jewelweed! It will be out of bloom locally sometime in the next few weeks – if you live up north it may already be. You need those blooms! It grows in shady, wet areas…along creek banks, ponds, in forests, along rivers etc. If you don’t have it or don’t know of a friend who will share their bounty, you can visit Mountain Rose Herbs and order from them. They only carry it seasonally. You can trust Mountain Rose Herbs to consistently bring you high quality, organic herbs. They are my “go to” company any time I order dried herbs for my own family!
I wanted to share with you some pictures of my family gathering Jewelweed. We have been doing this for many years. My youngest son is known, in the world of poison ivy, as an easy mark. This has not changed over the years. I think poison ivy somehow seeks him out and attacks…how else can someone get poison ivy in the middle of winter when he is bundled from head to toe with only his eyes showing?…..TWICE!!
When I found that Jewelweed was our Father’s antidote for poison ivy, I began my search here on my farm and was happy to find it growing along the creek at the base of our mountain. I’ll share a little about gathering it, try to help you recognize it (now is the time to get it!) and then in my next few posts I’ll teach you what to do with it.
Here is a patch of Jewelweed…
There are weeds and vines coming up through it but the orange flowers and rounded leaves are what we are looking for.
Here is Elijah as a child holding some branches:
Oh…why the surgical gloves? Guess what often grows with Jewelweed….yup…..poison ivy! You will often find little vines of poison ivy wrapped around the stems and you need to remove those before using the Jewelweed. It is easiest to remove them as you pick because Jewelweed wilts very quickly. It is much easier to remove the vines wearing surgical gloves than work gloves….heavy, thick gloves are just too cumbersome.
Another benefit of the surgical gloves… if we happen to get into poison ivy, we just peel the gloves off and throw them away. Works wonderfully! If you used your normal work gloves working with poison ivy, you take the chance of exposing yourself to poison ivy the next time you pick them up to put them on!
Make sure that the only thing you have gathered is Jewelweed or your end result could be disastrous! You don’t want any poison ivy left in your Jewelweed!
Be careful when gathering….this wonderful herb is an annual. Gather it all and that will be the last of your patch. Be a good steward of our Father’s gift and you will be rewarded with a lifetime of Jewelweed. When we are working a patch we never take more than 1/3 of what is there. Also be careful not to “pull” to gather…cutting is the best method. Jewelweed roots are very shallow. It doesn’t take much of a tug to accidentally pull up the entire plant! Not a good thing if you want to have Jewelweed in the future! You want it to continue to grow and flourish so that it will serve your needs for years to come!
Here is a close-up of the flower ….notice the red spots down the throat of the flower.
You want some of those flowers… be sure to gather the top 15 inches of the plant. Gather stems, leaves and flowers but only 1/3 of what you find! You want to leave the rest so that next year Jewelweed will bloom again.
The leaves are oval and toothed as you can see. The upper ones are alternate and the lowers ones opposite. Jewelweed gets its name because water beads up on the leaves after a rain and catches the sunlight…it sparkles as if bedecked with jewels!
I often see Jewelweed growing along the roads in ditches – don’t ever gather herbs from the roadside – too many toxins from the exhaust of automobiles make this area undesirable for a healthy, safe and effective product.
Now that you know what Jewelweed looks like, in my next post I’ll share with you how to use this marvelous gift from our Father!
Happy Jewelweed Hunting!