Poison ivy
Poison ivy


Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) is a shrub and vine. It contains a chemical that causes skin irritation and allergic reactions for many people.

Poison ivy is part of the cashew family, not the ivy family. It's used in homeopathic medicine, meaning it's given in extremely dilute doses, often so dilute that they contain little or no poison ivy. But it's not clear how it might work.

Homeopathic preparations of poison ivy are used to treat pain, rheumatoid arthritis, sprains, and itchy skin disorders, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
When taken by mouth: Poison ivy is likely unsafe. Chemicals in poison ivy can cause allergic reactions with widespread symptoms, including severe irritation of the mouth and throat, vomiting, fever, and coma.

When applied to the skin: Poison ivy is likely unsafe. Skin contact with poison ivy can cause redness, swelling, and other reactions. Wash exposed areas with soap and water within 5-10 minutes of contact to limit skin irritation.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Poison ivy is likely unsafe to take by mouth or apply to the skin while pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Allergies: People with allergies to other substances, such as cashew, mango, and ginkgo, might also be allergic to poison ivy.


There is interest in using poison ivy for a number of purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.
Likely effective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly effective Effectiveness definitions
Likely ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Insufficient evidence Effectiveness definitions

Dosing & administration

Poison ivy is used in homeopathic products. This means that the poison ivy in these products is often so dilute that there's little or no active ingredient remaining. Taking products containing larger, detectable amounts of poison ivy by mouth or applying them to the skin is unsafe and should be avoided. Consult a healthcare provider before use.

Interactions with pharmaceuticals

It is not known if Poison Ivy interacts with any medicines. Before taking Poison Ivy, talk with your healthcare professional if you take any medications.

Interactions with herbs & supplements

There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

Interactions with foods

There are no known interactions with foods.
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This monograph was last reviewed on 31/05/2023 10:00:00 and last updated on 29/07/2022 06:44:01. Monographs are reviewed and/or updated multiple times per month and at least once per year.
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