Jewelweed and Its Special Ingredient Lawsone – Poison Ivy Begone?

Chemistry, Plants
[caption id="attachment_17591" align="alignright" width="480"] Jewelweed - Image by Fritz Geller-Grimm CC by SA 2.5[/caption] Orange jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)1 commonly grows in ditches along roadsides at the edges of moist forests. Lore has it that the sap of this plant rubbed onto poison ivy rash quickly alleviates the itching. Could there be a scientific basis for this popular notion? Perhaps. Let’s begin our consideration by discussing the active principle in both poison ivy and jewelweed. Poison Ivy and Urushiol Urushiol is not a single compound, but a mixture of similar compounds that have the generic chemical structure show in the image associated with this article. R represents an alkyl chain that typically contains 15 to 17 carbon atoms that contain varying numbers of double bonds. The greater the number of double…
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