En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

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

QUESTION:

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

ANSWER:

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

 

 

More Medicinal Plants Questions

Dog eats Celtis laevigata, sugar hackberry
May 21, 2012 - This is an odd question but I am a biologist and have for years notice an odd behavior in my Golden Retriever. When he gets stomach distress or something makes him nervous like an incoming thunderstor...
view the full question and answer

Treating stings from stinging nettles in Indiana
August 08, 2009 - How can I remove hairlike thorns (as from nettle-type weed)? My hands react within 24 hours with swelling and pain, esp in morning. In past when I have then been able to locate the offending thorn, th...
view the full question and answer

Edible and Medicinal Plant Resources for West Texas
March 02, 2013 - I am a teacher of gifted and talented students in Paint Rock, Texas. We were looking for a reliable book or website for edible and medicinal plants in West Texas.
view the full question and answer

medicinal uses of Rudbeckia triloba
September 16, 2009 - Browneyed Susan, Brown-eyed-Susan, Thin-leaved coneflower, Three-lobed Rudbeckia Rudbeckia triloba L My question relates to the above species. I am doing research on historically medicinal plants...
view the full question and answer

What gives the Creosote bush its characteristic smell?
August 09, 2011 - Good evening, Mr. Smarty Plants, There is a question which I would please like to ask regarding a plant called "Creosote Bush" (Larrea tridentata)- does it actually smell like the creosote...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center