Jewel Weed Soap?

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MellonFriend

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We buy jewel weed soap (for poison ivy) from a local company every year and it really does seem to work well. I've been putting off making my own because I assumed that it had to be hot processed, but many recipes online see to be for cold process. Would this really work as cold process? I heard that the process of infusing oils doesn't generally add anything to CP since the extra plant properties don't survive the saponification process. Anyone make cold process Jewel weed soap? Or would I be better off HP-ing it? I'm pretty sure the bar we buy is HP.
 

DeeAnna

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If you want to use it in soap, either CP or HP will work. The saponins in the water-based juice is the useful part, however, so use the juice. An oil infusion won't give you the good stuff.

As to whether soap with jewelweed juice works any better than soap without jewelweed, I'm skeptical. The key is more about how carefully and thoroughly you wash and using a good oil-cutting cleanser -- plain ol' soap is just as effective as the fancy, expensive stuff. In the first thread below, I gave a link to a video that explains more.


 
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MellonFriend

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Thanks, DeeAnna. I've heard that evidence suggest the jewel weed in the soap shouldn't work better than the soap alone, but we've tried a bunch of different lye based "poison ivy" soaps and ones with jewel weed absolutely work better for me and my dad. We have a whole bunch of it that grows on our property so I'm going to try and find a way to use it in my soap.

So juicing it. To get juice would I just blend it up and strain it?

So after doing a little digging, I found that the company that I buy Jewel Weed soap from "mills" all their soap bars. That's a fancy word for rebatch right? So maybe during the rebatch process is when they add the jewel weed since then the properties would survive saponification better. Like this article says: How to Make Hand Milled Soap - PreparednessMama
 

DeeAnna

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Good to know you're actually going to use North American jewelweed. Most people asking about this are buying dried herb from Majestic Mountain Rose and similar suppliers and thinking they're getting N.A. jewelweed, but they're not.

Milling is an entirely different process than rebatching. Milling is the process pressing flakes of cool, dry soap plus additives through rotating metal or stone rollers. The process is something like pressing clothes through the wringers of an old wringer washer. Jewelweed sap could indeed be milled into the soap.

Rebatching is sometimes confusingly called "milling" by small-scale soap makers, but it's really not anything like true milling. Rebatching is heating soap usually with added liquid until the soap softens and melts. You could rebatch soap and add jewelweed sap to it, but that's not going to be greatly different, IMO, than adding jewelweed sap to HP soap after the cook is done.

You'd have to verify what your company is actually doing to know for sure if they're milling or rebatching.
 

earlene

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I have yet to use the jewelweed soap I bought (I don't recall wherefrom, but I could not resist it when I saw it).

We don't have poison oak here, so that's not why I bought it. It is supposed to help with itching, which seems to be a problem resulting from weight loss. Who knew? Well some people apparently know, but it's not something I considered when I decided to lose weight to help reduce back pain. So not just saggy wrinkled skin, but itching, too!

Anyway, in California, the Poison Oak was so aggressive where we lived that it was a constant battle to keep it out of my vegetable garden. Besides covering every exposed inch of my body when I tackled it, I also used Technu, which worked great to prevent the rash, never even heard of jewelweed back then, or if I did I was happy enough with the Technu that I didn't pursue jewelweed.

I think I'll unwrap that bar of jewelweed soap & see if it helps with the itching.
 

MellonFriend

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Good to know you're actually going to use North American jewelweed. Most people asking about this are buying dried herb from Majestic Mountain Rose and similar suppliers and thinking they're getting N.A. jewelweed, but they're not.
Yeah, I highly doubt dried it would do much of anything. 😅

I think maybe I'll give a shot to doing a cold process batch and see if it works as well as the bars we bought. If that doesn't work, I'll try another method. But hey, if it works in CP, I'd much rather use that technique since it's what I'm used to.
 

Zany_in_CO

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Jewelweed is found in shady wet areas, near where poison ivy grows. So take care. Most soapers that I've known who make it into soap harvest their own:

Foraging Jewelweed

I should also mention that I recall soapers saying that the weed doesn't survive saponification and that rubbing it freshly picked directly on the skin is more effective. I think I'd take a look at the ingredient list for that soap to see if they added an something (calamine?) known to relieve itching in addition to Jewelweed itself. 🤔 Hmmm.
 
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MellonFriend

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Jewelweed is found in shady wet areas, near where poison ivy grows. So take care. Most soapers that I've known who make it into soap harvest their own:
We actually seeded a bank behind our garage with it, so we can safely pick it without worrying about getting more poison. That sure would be a catch 22! 😅

I'll have to see if I have a label floating around somewhere that I can dissect.
 

Bill S.

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We buy jewel weed soap (for poison ivy) from a local company every year and it really does seem to work well. I've been putting off making my own because I assumed that it had to be hot processed, but many recipes online see to be for cold process. Would this really work as cold process? I heard that the process of infusing oils doesn't generally add anything to CP since the extra plant properties don't survive the saponification process. Anyone make cold process Jewel weed soap? Or would I be better off HP-ing it? I'm pretty sure the bar we buy is HP.


I have made a jewelweed CP soap for 5 years now. I started at the request of my friend who fights poison ivy every year because of her three dogs, three cats and 100+ acres of forested land with many trails. They bring it in on their fur constantly. Anyway, she asked me to make her some since she was buying online and it was expensive. The first year she provided the jewelweed from her property. Since then I know what I'm looking for and find it in ditches all around my area. I sell a lot of jewelweed soap and have repeat customers and many who tell me it's wonderful stuff and works on poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac as well as stinging nettles. I've never had poison ivy so I have no firsthand testimony here.

I harvest jewelweed plants in August when the plant is in bloom and very juicy. I cut the stems into short sections (about 1" - 2" long) and heat them in the water I'm going to use to make soap and the coconut oil I'm going to use in my soap. I don't worry too much about the amounts at this point, but I'll estimate about 5 pounds of jewelweed to 2 gallons of distilled water and 5 pounds of jewelweed to 1 gal of coconut oil. I heat low and slow in stainless steel pots with lids on an electric cook top to about 120F for hours (6 - 8 hours typically). I have to cycle the pot heat on and off repeatedly over those hours so that they don't overheat. The temp is sort of an average. I heat, then let it cool, then heat again, etc.

After the long steeping, I macerate the jewelweed in the pots with a long piece of wood pounded into the pot while it sits on the floor in front of my chair. Sort of like I'm muddling a mint julep but much bigger. I'm working it to release more of the jewelweed sap into the oil and water. I then separately decant the oil and water through a colander first, then again through cheesecloth, and finally through #6 coffee cone filters. This essentially removes all fibers and pulp from the water and oil. I decant the oil and water separately into 1 gal jugs with lids and then I refrigerate them both until I make jewelweed soap.

I make my CP soap with my infused jewelweed distilled water and base oils, one of which is the jewelweed infused coconut oil (18% by weight of the oils in the bar). I heat oils to about 100F to 110F. I mix my lye with jewelweed infused distilled water and wait for the temp to come down to about 110F. It might work well to mix lye with a fraction of just distilled water also and let that cool before bringing the total water to the required amount with infused water. I then proceed to make my soap. I don't add color or scent.

Before agreeing to make jewelweed soap I wanted to be sure it was justified by more than just folklore or anecdote. I'm an engineer by training and like evidences. I did find a few peer-reviewed articles about jewelweed and poison ivy that say there is a component of jewelweed that neutralized urishiol, which is the active itching agent, although regular soap is effective too to remove the itching agent. The evidence isn't conclusive as best I can tell, but it isn't considered quackery.





 

DeeAnna

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I read the first two reports with interest. Thank you for sharing them. (The first and fourth links are to the same report at two different locations.)

The PubMed report -- "...Jewelweed mash was effective in reducing poison ivy dermatitis ... jewelweed extracts were not effective; and soaps made of these extracts were effective but no more so than jewelweed-free soaps...."

The Penn State report -- "...This study demonstrated that an extract of jewelweed was not effective in the treatment of poison ivy/oak allergic contact dermatitis...."

These studies support the conclusions I've drawn from other sources -- Plain soap is going to be as effective as soap made with jewelweed extract for removing the oils from poison ivy/oak/sumac and thus preventing dermatitis. The jewelweed in the soap won't cause harm, however, so adding jewelweed to soap is fine. For treating dermatitis after exposure, jewelweed might be helpful, but the plant sap or mashed plant parts should be applied directly to the skin for any benefit -- an extract or infusion isn't effective.
 

MellonFriend

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I have made a jewelweed CP soap for 5 years now. I started at the request of my friend who fights poison ivy every year because of her three dogs, three cats and 100+ acres of forested land with many trails. They bring it in on their fur constantly. Anyway, she asked me to make her some since she was buying online and it was expensive. The first year she provided the jewelweed from her property. Since then I know what I'm looking for and find it in ditches all around my area. I sell a lot of jewelweed soap and have repeat customers and many who tell me it's wonderful stuff and works on poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac as well as stinging nettles. I've never had poison ivy so I have no firsthand testimony here.

I harvest jewelweed plants in August when the plant is in bloom and very juicy. I cut the stems into short sections (about 1" - 2" long) and heat them in the water I'm going to use to make soap and the coconut oil I'm going to use in my soap. I don't worry too much about the amounts at this point, but I'll estimate about 5 pounds of jewelweed to 2 gallons of distilled water and 5 pounds of jewelweed to 1 gal of coconut oil. I heat low and slow in stainless steel pots with lids on an electric cook top to about 120F for hours (6 - 8 hours typically). I have to cycle the pot heat on and off repeatedly over those hours so that they don't overheat. The temp is sort of an average. I heat, then let it cool, then heat again, etc.

After the long steeping, I macerate the jewelweed in the pots with a long piece of wood pounded into the pot while it sits on the floor in front of my chair. Sort of like I'm muddling a mint julep but much bigger. I'm working it to release more of the jewelweed sap into the oil and water. I then separately decant the oil and water through a colander first, then again through cheesecloth, and finally through #6 coffee cone filters. This essentially removes all fibers and pulp from the water and oil. I decant the oil and water separately into 1 gal jugs with lids and then I refrigerate them both until I make jewelweed soap.

I make my CP soap with my infused jewelweed distilled water and base oils, one of which is the jewelweed infused coconut oil (18% by weight of the oils in the bar). I heat oils to about 100F to 110F. I mix my lye with jewelweed infused distilled water and wait for the temp to come down to about 110F. It might work well to mix lye with a fraction of just distilled water also and let that cool before bringing the total water to the required amount with infused water. I then proceed to make my soap. I don't add color or scent.

Before agreeing to make jewelweed soap I wanted to be sure it was justified by more than just folklore or anecdote. I'm an engineer by training and like evidences. I did find a few peer-reviewed articles about jewelweed and poison ivy that say there is a component of jewelweed that neutralized urishiol, which is the active itching agent, although regular soap is effective too to remove the itching agent. The evidence isn't conclusive as best I can tell, but it isn't considered quackery.





Thank you so much for all that info! I'll probably try out your method when I go to make it. Thanks again!
 

Zany_in_CO

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@Bill S. I don't make Jewelweed soap but when making herbal soaps, I do as you do. Thanks for taking the time to explain how you do it.
Thank You.gif

I have found that adding the herb to both the water/liquid used to make the lye solution and one of the oils seems to provide the best result. Chamomile / calendula or comfrey soaps for example. Nice.
 

earlene

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So I finally used the jewelweed soap I bought (somewhere - I really don't recall when, where, or how long ago.)

I actually liked the soap itself, but the itching I have been having for so long since the weight-loss had started, had already subsided to the point that I had not been itching much at all. So there is not real experiential evidence for me that it did anything regards the itching, since I had not been itching for about a week or so.

Anyway, even though I liked the soap itself while using it in the shower, I was disappointed when I unwrapped it and realized it is looks like it is made with MP soap, rather than CP or HP. I guess I didn't read the ingredients label when I bought it (probably was not wearing my reading glasses) or decided it didn't matter since it's the only jewelweed soap I have ever run across. It was wrapped in paper with a fairly minimal label (ingredients: glycerin, water, jewelweed and fragrance). The inner wrapping was shrink wrap, then the paper wrapping on the outside. The rectangular bar was quite warped also, and the (obviously) individual mold used has a "Natural" stamp. Okay, I know 'natural' doesn't really mean anything in this context, but I mention it 'just because'.

It lathers well, feels quite nice on the skin during use, but melts away rather quickly. I remove soft & quick to melt soaps from the shower between uses so that my husbands showers don't pelt down on the soap while I am not using it. They last longer that way. But I don't expect this to last very long with continued use.

I believe I will wait for an intensely itchy day before I use again, however, since the whole point of buying the soap was to give it a try for that.
 

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Okay, I made my first batch yesterday. I followed @Bill S.'s method only I infused both the coconut and the olive oil in my recipe. The process went really well. I did get scared at how dark my oils and lye solution were so to my green colored bottom I ended up adding more TD than I wanted the color to be (the top half is uncolored). That combined with a little too high of temperature for my heating pad to be at for gelling, I got glycerin rivers. I'm not too upset, I'd rather they weren't there, but I've never achieved them before so it's nice to know that I could make them if I wanted to.
IMG_3763.JPG
IMG_3764.JPG
 
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These are great! I love the long-beaked brontosaurus-looking creature in the front bar on the bottom picture. 🦕 Or maybe it is just a lizard on a branch in the grass? Whatever it is, it's cool!
 

Bill S.

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Okay, I made my first batch yesterday. I followed @Bill S.'s method only I infused both the coconut and the olive oil in my recipe. The process went really well. I did get scared at how dark my oils and lye solution were so to my green colored bottom I ended up adding more TD than I wanted the color to be (the top half is uncolored). That combined with a little too high of temperature for my heating pad to be at for gelling, I got glycerin rivers. I'm not too upset, I'd rather they weren't there, but I've never achieved them before so it's nice to know that I could make them if I wanted to. View attachment 67091 View attachment 67092
PXL_20220610_202302132.jpg

Your bars are lovely. I really like the pop of the green with titanium dioxide on the lower half. I find that TO makes glycerin rivers pretty easily if it overheats during gel. I don't color my jewelweed soap and I don't add any fragrance. These bars are just cut and not trimmed yet, but you can see what I get. My bars are 50% OO. I like yours a lot. I normally color my soaps, but decided that jewelweed could be simpler in my world.
 

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