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…
Read More

Have Boxelder Maple Trees? Make Boxelder Syrup!

Food, Plants
[caption id="attachment_14989" align="alignright" width="480"] Tree Tapping[/caption] Do you really adore 100% real maple syrup and maple sugar? If so, maybe you would enjoy making your own maple syrup. But you say you don’t have sugar maple trees! There is good news, though. There are other trees whose sap can be used to produce sweet syrup for your morning pancakes or French toast. Have you ever heard of boxelder syrup? Confusing Boxelder Trees with Poison Ivy It is not rare for a person to identify a boxelder tree as poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans). You can see why this is the case if you compare the images provided with this article. Because I am aware of the similarity between the two plants and the tendency of others to make a mistake, I…
Read More