Poison oak, ivy, and sumac are found all throughout the United States. And if you're one of the many who are allergic to these prevalent plant species, then you know all too well the itchy, intolerable symptoms that are caused by urushiol, the colorless oil they produce. The hot, sometimes painfully itchy rashes, blisters, and swelling appear a few days to a week after contact with the oil and can take weeks to heal. The rash is the result of allergic contact dermatitis that can happen if you are sensitive to urushiol.
According to Ayurveda, contact dermatitis is a pitta-kapha condition. (If you're a beginner, you can read up on Ayurvedic dosha types here.) The heat, inflammation, and itchiness associated with the rash is a result of aggravated pitta, while the swelling is the result of kapha dosha. A specific chain of events happens with contact dermatitis: urushiol aggravates pitta dosha, resulting in the itchiness and burning, and then kapha dosha arrives in the form of swelling to try to contain the heat of pitta.
Below are a few tips and at-home-remedies, inspired by the wisdom of Ayurveda, to help combat the intense discomfort of poison oak, ivy, and sumac: