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Thursday - July 19, 2007

From: Clinton, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Medicinal Plants
Title: Comptonia peregrina tea as topical treatment for poison ivy
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I have been told that Sweet Fern stewed into a tea is a great topical treatment for poision ivy. Is this true?


Comptonia peregrina (sweet fern) looks a bit like a fern, but it isn't really a fern. It is a member of the Bayberry Family (Family Myricaceae).

According to the University of Michicgan-Dearborn Native American Ethnobotany database an infusion of the leaves of Comptonia peregrina has been used by several native American tribes (e.g., Delawares, Algonquians, Mohegans) to treat poison ivy. Sweet fern has also had other medicinal applications—headaches, fever, round worms, blood purifier, inflamation and more.

Comptonia peregrina



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