Did you read the title and start to itch? Maybe your reaction was “NO WAY?” Next to dandelions and poison oak, poison ivy is a deeply disliked plant. Chemical sprays douse the vines and some people even burn it (a great way to get the oils on you), all in the name of elimination. An Audubhon here in MA hires sheep to eliminate it from its fields (ingenious). Why? Sheep are not affected. In humans the oils of the poison ivy plant (Toxicodendron radicans) can cause anywhere from slight surficial rashes to severe rashes inside and out. Some people don’t react at all and then years later have a big reaction. These rashes are itchy, uncomfortable, and can take awhile to go away. Oils from the plant can last up to five years on a surface if not washed with soap. This is a tenacious plant, so how can it be a flower essence?
I would like to start by saying that no part of the actual plant is in the essence. The energetics from the plant are in the essence. This is done by using non-pick protocols. I live with woods behind me and disturbed ground (a yard) around my house. I have had poison ivy grow along flower beds that are near trees. This is what the plant does. It grows until it can climb up a sturdy trunk or pole on its quest for light and support. The stalk has little rootlets that finger off of it to hold it in place. This gives a fuzzy effect. I would tell my Girl Scouts that “if it’s hairy then it’s scary.” Not because this plant is scary but as a memorable warning to look before you touch.
I have a family member who is very allergic to poison ivy. I carefully remove this plant when I find it to keep this person healthy. One day I was weeding and spotted a new poison ivy plant in my Solomon’s Seal bed. I put my glove nearby as a marker and went to get a garbage bag for pulling it up. When I returned, the glove was where I put it but the poison ivy was not. What!? I searched the whole area with no luck. I decided to weed in a different area and come back to it later. When I did, there was the plant in full view, right where I last saw it. Poison ivy’s teachings are about not seeing what is right in front of you. The results are the rash, swelling, and itching. Are there occurrences in your life that you didn’t see coming? Did you get burned by them? Perhaps friends and family have been trying to get you to “see” but you haven’t been able to do so? This is the energy of the poison ivy flower essence. Poison Ivy helps you to see what has been there all along.
Poison Ivy is a plant to be respected. While I still pull it out of my yard, the fact is I have a renewed appreciation for this plant as a teacher and healer. While the saying may be “leaves of three, let it be,” let poison ivy be your guide to what is already there.