The jewelweed is in flower, and I recently came across large amounts of it on a weekend walk through the woods. Seemed it was everywhere, at every turn, blinking and shimmering in the sun like orange and yellow fairy hats.
Found: Wet and shady soil; most of U.S. (See USDA Distribution Map)
Identifying: Jewelweed grows 3 – 5 feet tall. The leaves are oval and toothed with the lower ones growing opposite one another, the upper leaves growing in an alternate pattern. The flowers are orange-yellow with dark orange-red spots. They hang down and to me, they look like little pointy hats or bonnets.
Parts Used: Leaves, juice
Medicinal Use: As a fresh poultice for poison ivy, bruises and cuts, burns, eczema, sores and sprains, warts, ringworm, athlete’s foot and bug bites.
Preparation: As a poultice, smash the fresh leaves and apply to affected area. Or for poison ivy relief, prepare a tea and freeze into ice cubes. Rub on rash. If you encounter poison ivy or a nasty bug bite while in the woods, you can crush and rub the leaves directly on the skin. If you’ve got an all-over case of poison ivy, you can prepare a strong tea from the fresh plant and pour the tea into the bath for soaking.
Note: These posts are not meant to be a medical guide but an overview. Consulting an herbal specialist is always recommended.