I Hate Poison Oak

Die! poison oak. Die! My first major encounter with it was a few years ago. Hiking. Wearing shorts. I’m a city boy, what do I know?


A couple days later, my legs, especially my shins, started itching. A maddening itch. I wanted to scratch till I bled. I didn’t know what was happening to me. Soon blisters formed on my shins. Then they started leaking. Then they started dripping pus. Literally: pus and watery blister fluid running down both my shins. My socks absorbed the drippage. Gross. Now it was dripping, hurting, AND itching. I put gauze over the open blisters, mainly to protect my pants.

That Sunday, by the time church was over, the pus had soaked through the gauze and glued my pants to my legs. When I tried to remove my pants, I ripped open my blisters. Nice creation, God!

My next encounter got my arms and my face. Yardwork. My right eye swelled totally shut, like I’d been punched. My left eye was half-way shut. My cheeks puffed up. And it all itched so much I wanted to use my Dremel tool on it. People wanted to know who mugged me. I said, “God.”

I hate Toxicodendron diversilobum. So it was with great pleasure that I spent an hour walking around my yard, spraying Round Up on the poison oak. Die! poison oak, I hate you. It has taken a couple of days for the Round Up to work, but yesterday, I noticed wilty poison oak. Oh joy!



Here’s what works for poison oak:

Technu, a soap with mineral spirits, works. It breaks down the oil that causes the allergic reaction, so that it goes down the drain in the shower. Unfortunately, once the reaction begins, it’s too late. Gotta use it right after you play in the jungle.

Gold Bond Medicated Itch cream… smells like Ben Gay, but works to stop the itch. I go through a tube every time I have an outbreak. This stuff saves my sanity.

Staying out of poison oak. This is probably the most effective solution. This is a problem in the winter/early spring, when you can’t see the leaves.

Eating it. No kidding. There’s a survivalist website that advocates eating the leaves. It says to at them fast. Right. The guy argues that eating poison oak makes your body generate antibodies. Ha ha. Don’t try this at home, but if you do, let me know how it went for you. Put a little Italian dressing on it first, okay? If your tongue swells your throat shut, don’t blame me. My lawyer wants me to say: DON’T DO THIS.

Here’s a good website: click here.

“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21, NKJV.

When poison oak is under a tree, it climbs like a vine. When it’s in the open, it spreads out like a shrub. Given enough time, it grows like a tree. It sneaks into the crevices and open spaces. It’s an opportunistic plant. It’s a shape-shifter. poisonoakr3.jpg

Just like the flesh, our Inner Mess. The flesh can trigger a wide range of evil… from axe murders to ultra-religious legalism. It can look evil. It can look good. Whatever it is, it isn’t pleasing to God.

Is there a spiritual Round Up that will “kill” this dark side of our souls? Yes and no. In this life, you’ll struggle with the flesh every day. BUT… there is a power to overcome it! That is the power of Jesus. Because God counts Christ’s death as your death, when Jesus died, your flesh [technically, legally, forensically] died. When he rose again, you recevied a new nature: Jesus living in you, empowered by the Holy Spirit.

The power of Christ in you is like Round Up for the deeds of the flesh. Believe it. Experience it.


I gotta go respray my poison oak farm. First time didn’t seem to work.

Grace: God’s power enabling you to not be dominated by the flesh.

Remember this old rhyme: Leaves of three, Scream like a girl and flee.

What has poison oak/ivy done to you? Leave a comment…


7 thoughts on “I Hate Poison Oak

  1. HAHA Someone told my grandmother to eat poisen oak…so she made a nice tea with it…and uh, well, she almost died. it made her throat swell nearly shut.
    Needless to say, I won’t ever try digesting the stuff. I’ve heard that the more you’re exposed to it, the more your body will adapt to it. My dad was a CDF guy, and constant fire exposure to the stuff made him nearly immune to it.
    I’ve been in it many times, and each time seems to get progressively less traumatic for me. Although, I’m hiking this evening, and my luck I’ll fall in some.

  2. Bill, you need a GOAT! I will survey people I know and see if I can come up with a goat for you! Tell your wife to imagine you with green shorts with suspenders, one of those long, alpine-Heidi-in-the-mountain horns, and a nice goat to eat your poison oak!

  3. Oh yes, Jim. I am very sure that my wife would just love a goat. Why don’t you bring her a couple? It will really make her day. But keep it a surprise, okay? Don’t let her know that I told you.


  4. Ah, come one, Jeff! Why come to a blog called MaxGrace and be surprised about the Jesus stuff?

    Actually, there are abundant lessons about spirituality found in nature. The same wise God who made nature made the divine nature. He made us body, mind, and soul.

    Thanks Bill.

  5. So, if you eat poison oak, what exactly happens in the body? does it affect the liver? How much can one eat? My grandson is very allergic to poison oak, gets a terrible rash. However, he did eat some leaves, and then a couple of days later walked through a whole lot of poison oak and didn’t get a rash. I get a good rash also when working with the stuff and I ate a couple of leaves. Seems to have helped as the one rash I got after scratching my neck with the fingers that plucked the leaves that I ate went away in one day. Usually it takes 10 days and a lot of hydrocortisone to get rid of the rash.

    Didn’t the Indian’s eat the leaves to prevent the rash?

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