This formula is used for any inflamed, itching skin reaction such as poison ivy rashes, insect bites and hives. Apply to affected skin as needed. Itch Re-leaf may also be added to clay to create a paste and then applied to the skin to help dry out the rash. Available through Woodland Essence (see Resources).
Gather fresh herbs in equal parts: jewelweed (whole plant), plantain leaf and stem, comfrey leaf, comfrey root, mugwort leaf, witch hazel bark, sweet fern leaf and stem. Method 1: This makes a tincture using distilled witch hazel and 190 proof alcohol as the menstrum and requires 6 weeks of preparation time. Cut herbs and roots finely and pack loosely in a glass jar. Add 3 parts witch hazel extract (from drugstore) and 1 part 190 proof grain alcohol to cover the herbs and fill the jar. Cap with a tight-fitting lid. Keep jar away from direct sunlight. Shake daily for 6 weeks and strain and bottle. It is ready for use. To give approximate amounts: If you use a 16-oz. glass jar and loosely fill it with the herbs, you will need about 5-6 oz. of fresh herbs. The amount of menstrum needed to cover the herbs and fill the jar will be about 10-11 oz. This will consist of 7Vi-8 oz. of witch hazel extract and 21/2 -3 oz. of 190 proof grain alcohol. As with all tinctures, the measurements of herb and menstrum depend on the size jar you are using, how tightly the jar is packed with herb and how much moisture the herbs contain.
Method 2: This makes a water-based decoction that is preserved with alcohol. It is a faster method, requiring only 8 hours of steeping.
Place well-chopped herbs in a large nonaluminum pot. Cover herbs with water and simmer on low heat for 1 hour with pan covered. Remove pan from heat and let steep for 8 hours or overnight. Strain. Preserve herbal liquid with 20 percent alcohol by volume. This means that to every 4 oz. of herbal liquid, add 1 oz. of 190 proof grain alcohol.
You may want to place the Itch Re-leaf in a spray bottle; misting a rash feels good and helps prevent further irritation that may result from touching or rubbing the skin.