Orange Jewelweed

Orange Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)
Orange Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)

Impatiens capensis is a North American native annual. Related to the garden-variety impatiens, it does not like to dry out and is often found growing in ditches, near waterways, and in bottomland forests. A common name is spotted touch-me-not, named for the seed pods which pop when touched, scattering its seeds. The leaves repel water, and appear silver underwater, possibly the origin of its other common name, jewelweed.

Another species, pale jewelweed (impatiens pallida) has yellow flowers rather than orange, and is less common.

Hummingbird on Jewelweed. Photo courtesy of goatsass.com
Hummingbird on Jewelweed. Photo courtesy of goatsass.com

Jewelweed is a traditional remedy for various skin conditions, and is best known as a remedy against poison ivy rash. The sooner it is applied, the better it works. Happily, where poison ivy grows, jewelweed is often not far away.

The leaves of jewelweed can be crushed and used as a poultice after coming into contact with poison ivy, and often this prevents the rash altogether. The juice from the stems can be used, but this is most effective before the plant has flowered. A tea can be made from the crushed leaves, frozen into icecubes, and applied to the skin as needed. Jewelweed can also be applied before potential exposure as a preventative.

Typical Jewelweed patch in midsummer.
Typical Jewelweed patch in midsummer.

The active compound found in jewelweed, lawsone, is proven to have antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties. The plant also contains balsaminones, which have strong antipruritic (anti-itch) properties.

Leaves of a young Jewelweed plant.
Leaves of a young Jewelweed plant.

Jewelweed can also be used for nettle stings, hives, eczema , insect stings and bites, cuts, acne, and other various skin irritations. The seeds, while minute, are edible and pleasant tasting.

Jewelweed range map
Jewelweed range map

cited source:
goatsass.com

Advertisements

One thought on “Orange Jewelweed

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s