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Trad climber
the middle of CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 20, 2014 - 01:09am PT
Disclaimer, don't do what I do. If you do you will probably die and it will be your fault

I've been severely allergic to poison oak ever since my first small rash when I was ten. I've had to go to the hospital four times for it. The most recent was from wearing a backpack that I touched with gloves that had poison oak on them.

Credit: limpingcrab

After that I got desperate and started doing research. It turns out many native americans were not allergic to PO, while the ones that were would make tea from the roots or eat small leaves in the spring to get resistant. Against my wife's wishes I started eating one leaf per week a year ago and quickly noticed an effect.

I used to break out all over and it would last a minimum of two weeks. After a few doses I started only getting little rashes and they would be gone in 4 or 5 days. The last time I got it was a quarter sized spot on my hand at Balchfest. If you were there you would appreciate that that's nothing compared to what a severely allergic person would have expected on that "trail."

I started eating it again a few weeks ago and this past weekend on a hike I kicked a few PO leaves/limbs with my ankles as an experiment.


Credit: limpingcrab

I roll small pieces in bread, wet it, then compress it into a pill so I have no contact with the oil. One of the first times, I ate a large leaf and got a rash at the "exit," so start small.

This is one of the greatest moments of my life. Caving, climbing, fishing, hiking and canyoneering will never be the same!

Disclaimer again. This is a story about myself, not advice. YUR GONNA DIE


Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Mar 20, 2014 - 01:13am PT
Do you buy those leaves at one of those 'clinics'?
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Mar 20, 2014 - 01:14am PT
If one leaf was good wouldn't a salad work better. Maybe put some ranch on it.

Big Wall climber
Portland, OR
Mar 20, 2014 - 01:15am PT
Man. . . I'm no doctor, but that seems totally sketchy.

As great as it would be to have immunity, no way!
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Mar 20, 2014 - 01:19am PT
Ranch is like lotion. It will be ok.

Trad climber
Boulder, CO
Mar 20, 2014 - 01:24am PT
So how many slices of bread do you think it will take to cover a pair of handcuffs?

Trad climber
Can't get here from there
Mar 20, 2014 - 01:26am PT
I used to be allergic to cactii and learned the indians ate peyote.

I started eating peyote, but now I can't remember if it was poison ivy or poison oak
that I was also allergic to.

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Mar 20, 2014 - 01:45am PT
When I lived in Cali and used to romp around in the Santa Cruz Mountains PO was a fact of life. I would react fairly normally and two weeks was not uncommon. I did notice that an immunity could be built up fairly easily. I did it by just rubbing it on small patches and prevent spreading. Over a season one could almost be immune. I lost my immunity once after not being exposed for several years. Now that I live in Seattle for the last 20 years, I bet I would get it again.

I heard similar stuff about the natives. You are still brave.

Trad climber
Mar 20, 2014 - 01:49am PT
Yur still gonna die

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA/Boulder, CO
Mar 20, 2014 - 01:55am PT
I am reminded of a line from Seinfeld. When asked about his hatred of broccoli, Newman replied, "It's a vile weed!"

Boulder climber
I'm James Brown, Bi-atch!
Mar 20, 2014 - 01:57am PT
Ohlone Indians used to eat the leaves,

you can still get the pills which worked for me back in 68,

Mar 20, 2014 - 02:00am PT

Ranch is like lotion. It will be ok.


Gorgeous George

Trad climber
Los Angeles, California
Mar 20, 2014 - 02:12am PT
i once ate marijuana leaves to make myself immune, but it didn't work. Oh well.

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
Mar 20, 2014 - 02:16am PT
That was an amazingly brave experiment. Some might say foolish, some might say crazy, I say "inspired"!

I was told that eating Bay area goat yogurt would give you a immunity, because they eat a lot of poison oak. I did eat a lot of goat yogurt at one time but I would never have put that theory to the test.

Social climber
Truckee, CA
Mar 20, 2014 - 03:19am PT
I believe you, but I'm going to want a double-blind study published in the Lancet before I try that method. That just sounds like the quickest way to have a horrific systemic reaction. Either that or smoking it. I'll pass for now.

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Mar 20, 2014 - 03:29am PT
It is not really that far of a stretch. I have been using Nettles a lot recently. I already eat them but I have been using the stinging qualities to relieve pain and inflammation in arthritic and gouty joints and have had very positive results.

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Mar 20, 2014 - 04:03am PT
If there was ever a thread designed for the response "yer gunna die" this is it.

Social climber
Mar 20, 2014 - 07:39am PT

I think we're onto something,..

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, California
Mar 20, 2014 - 08:53am PT
Waste of time , unless you have goat DNA.

Mar 20, 2014 - 08:54am PT
After seeing this tip in a Euell Gibbons book (I think) I tried it. I've done this many times since the first time. I would take a small young leaf in the spring, roll it up tight with my fingers, and swallow it with water: trying not to chew. There was no reaction to eating it. I still would get it during the year, but there seemed to be some slight immunity that wasn't there previously. (**cough*placebo*cough**) Enough in fact, that I would repeat it for many years.

Now I try and stay out of it, and if that fails, use Zanfel or the Walgreens equivalent.
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