Alternate Title

  • Toxicodendron radicans

Related Terms

  • African poison ivy, Anacardiaceae (family), heptadecylcatechol (HDC) diacetate, oleoresin, pentadecylcatechols, rhus radicans, Toxicodendron radicans, Toxicodendron radicans resin, urushiol.
  • Note: This monograph covers poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) only; poison oak, sumac, and other members of Anacardiaceae family are covered in other monographs.

Background

  • Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) is a plant native to North America that grows well in most areas. Its leaves are arranged in groups of three and vary in size and color during the season. In spring to summer, the leaves are small and red, eventually turning green, glossy, and smooth. In the fall, the leaves may turn red, orange, yellow, or brown.
  • Poison ivy contains compounds that cause allergic reactions. In the United States and Canada, poison ivy is one of the most common causes of skin rash. Potentially serious reactions may result when poison ivy is used on the skin or eyes or if it is taken by mouth or inhaled.

Evidence Table

    Disclaimer

    These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

*Key to grades:

Tradition

    Disclaimer

    The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

Dosing

    Disclaimer

    The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

  • Adults (18 years and older)

    • There is no proven safer or effective dose of poison ivy in adults.
  • Children (under 18 years old)

    • There is no proven safe or effective dose of poison ivy in children.

Safety

    Disclaimer

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

  • Allergies

    • Avoid with known allergy or hypersensitivity to poison ivy, or any of its components, such as urushiol, the primary irritating compound in poison ivy. An estimated 85% of people are sensitive to urushiol, which usually causes a fluid-filled, itchy rash, but may cause a rare, severe, systemic allergic reaction (called erythema multiforme) in some people. Rash may result from contact with anything that comes in contact with the plant, such as clothing, animals, and tools.
    • Individuals with sensitivity to poison ivy may be sensitive to other members of the Anacardiaceae family, such as cashews, japonica, mango, Rhus copallina, Rhus javanica (semialata), Rhus trichocarpa, and Spandia magnifera.
  • Side Effects and Warnings

    • Poison ivy is a commonly reported cause of skin rash. It most often causes a self-limiting, itchy, bumpy, fluid-filled rash, either reddish or noncolored and followed by blistering.
    • Taking poison ivy by mouth may cause several skin disorders, such as erythema multiforme, as well as liver function abnormalities and a higher than normal white blood cell count. Liver inflammation or kidney damage may occur in patients with erythema multiforme.
    • Bacterial infections secondary to poison ivy rash may occur.
    • Avoid using poison ivy on the skin or eyes or by mouth.
    • Avoid in patients with known hypersensitivity to poison ivy, oak, sumac, or other members of the Anacardiaceae family.
    • Avoid use as an alternative or homeopathic remedy for various skin ailments such as eczema and herpes, either by mouth or on the skin, due to the potential for development of skin reactions or diseases.
    • Avoid in patients with blood disorders, kidney diseases or disorders, or liver diseases or disorders.
    • Avoid in pregnant and breastfeeding women, due to a lack of available scientific evidence.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

    • There is a lack of available evidence on use of poison ivy in pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Interactions

    Disclaimer

    Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

  • Interactions with Drugs

    • Poison ivy may interact with anticancer drugs.
  • Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

    • Poison ivy may interact with anticancer herbs and supplements.

Attribution

  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration ().

Bibliography

    Disclaimer

    Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to . Selected references are listed below.

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  • Oka K, Saito F, Yasuhara, T, et al. A study of cross-reactions between mango contact allergens and urushiol. Contact Dermatitis 2004;51(5-6):292-296.
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