Today’s Herb – Jewel Weed
Synonyms—Wild Balsam. Balsam-weed. Impatiens
pallida. Pale-touch-me-not. Spottedtouch-me-not.
Slipperweed. Silverweed. Wild Lady’s Slipper. Speckled
Jewels. Wild Celandine. Quick-in-the-hand.
Habitat—Members of the genus Impatiens are found widely distributed in the north temperate zone and in South Africa, but the majority are natives of the mountains of tropical Asia and Africa.
The flowers, purple, yellow, pink and white, sometimes a showy scarlet, are spurred and irregular in form and are borne in the leaf axils.
The name Impatiens is derived from the fact that the seed-pod, when ripe, discharges the seeds by the elastic separation and uncoiling of the valves.
Under the name of Jewelweed the herbage of Impatiens aurea and of I. biflora are largely employed in domestic practice and by homoeopaths and eclectics.
Description—The plants are tall and branching, tender and delicate succulent annuals, with swollen joints, growing in lowlying, damp, rather rich soil, beside streams and in similar damp localities.
They are smooth and somewhat glaucous, the stems somewhat translucent, the foliage showing a brilliant silvery surface when immersed in water, which will not adhere to the surface.
The leaves are thin, ovate oval, more or less toothed, of a tender green color.
The slipper-shaped, yellow flowers, in bloom from July to September, have long recurved tails, those of the first-named species being of a uniform pale-yellow, those of the second species, orange-yellow, crowded with dark spots, hence its common name of Spotted-touch-me-not. The oblong capsules of both species when ripe explode under the slightest disturbance, scattering the seeds widely. Most of the popular names refer to this peculiarity, others to the shape of the flowers.
Medicinal Action and Uses—The herbs have an acrid, burning taste and act strongly as emetics, cathartics and diuretics, but are considered dangerous, their use having been termed ‘wholly questionable.’
Constituents—The chemical constituents are not known, though the leaves apparently contain tannin, which causes them to be employed as an outward application for piles, proving an excellent remedy, the freshly gathered plants being boiled in lard and an ointment made of them. The fresh juice of the herb appears to relieve cutaneous irritation of various kinds, especially that due to Rhus poisoning. A yellow dye has been made from the flowers.
Found: in wet, shady soil throughout our area
Height: 1-1.5 meters (3-5 feet)
Leaves: are oval shaped and toothed. Toward the bottom of the plant they are opposite; leaves on top are
Flowers: have a characteristic pendant-like shape with red spots
Uses: crushed leaves can be made into a poultice to treat a rash or inflamed skin, including irritation from Poison Ivy. Lawsone, a component of Jewel Weed leaves, has reported antihistamine and anti-inflammatory activity.
Jewel Weed – “Touch Me Not” – Impatiens This plant is a very effective Poison Ivy antidote.
The Jewel Weed Stem should be crushed and the liquid rubbed into the skin contacted by the Poison Ivy and symptoms will not appear or will be much less troublesome.
Jewel Weed usually grows near water or in shallow ponds. It is often found in areas where Poison Ivy grows.
Leaves of three, Let them be … Poison Ivy Link to Poison Ivy, Oak, & Sumac Information Center. Jewel Weed totally neutralizes the Poison Ivy’s oily antigen called Urushiol, and you will no longer spread it by scratching or rubbing. The Urushiol oil may be carried on the fur of pets, clothing, shoes, toys, tools, or other objects and then transferred to the skin. Approximately 24 to 36 hrs after a sensitized person is exposed to the Urushiol, a blistery, itching rash develops. Usually within 15 minutes of contact, the Urushiol binds to skin proteins. If it is washed off with soap and water before that time, a reaction may be prevented. After the antigen is fixed, however, it cannot be washed off or transferred to other areas. Scratching or oozing blister fluid cannot spread the antigen to other areas of the body or to other persons.
Jewel Weed is still quite helpful even if you have developed scabs, though you need to work – Rub – it in longer, and it takes time for the blisters to heal.