Monday, June 8, 2015
Stinging Nettle V. Jewelweed
While on a a hike through Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve yesterday, we encountered stinging nettle, Urtica dioica. The moment that our bare legs brushed past it a burning, indeed, stinging sensation radiated from that area of skin. At first I thought, I'll walk it off, but then it became more intense, so I mentioned it to my wife. She too had touched it and was experiencing the very same thing that I was. So, I set about to do the only thing a reasonable person deep in the woods can do: I searched around for jewelweed, Impatiens capensis. Jewelweed isn't flowering yet, but I know that it has a somewhat succulent appearing stem, and the leaves are a bit distinctive, and there are no dermatologically hazardous look-a-likes.
After a few minutes of searching I found what I thought was some jewelweed. I plucked a few stems with leaves, crushed them to get at the pulp and juice of the inner plant, and began rubbing it on my lower legs. Immediately I felt a cooling sensation. I repeated the same thing on my wife, and she felt immediate relief as well. Jewelweed is good for almost any skin irritation, even poison ivy. A good tip to know when you're in the woods.