Saturday June 22, 2024

Man drinks poison Oak smoothie to avoid rashes

Reporter who drank poison oak into smoothie to build immunity

By Web Desk
May 21, 2024
Man turns poison of Oak into potion as a remedy for rashes. — AFP File
Man turns poison of Oak into potion as a remedy for rashes. — AFP File

In a bold attempt to avoid the itchy rashes caused by poison oak, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal has taken to drinking poison oak smoothies and eating it in salads.

Jeff Horwitz, who usually covers technology, wrote about his experiment in a feature article, revealing that he started consuming poison oak in January to build up a resistance to the plant's chemical irritants. 

"I started eating poison oak in January, when the first buds began to swell on the hazardous plant’s bare stems," he wrote.

Despite warnings from medical professionals, Horwitz found that his new habit seemed to be working, with no severe side effects apart from some red rashes and an itchy bottom.

"My poison-oak salad days are over, but I do intend to nibble a few leaves here and there when hiking around the Bay Area in an effort to maintain my resistance on a permanent basis," he wrote.

Horwitz got the idea from indigenous California tribes who would make tea from poison oak roots and eat the leaves to develop immunity. He also read online forums where outdoors enthusiasts discussed eating poison ivy or poison oak to build up a resistance. 

While much of the literature he consulted warned against eating the plants, Horwitz decided to give it a try. And surprisingly, after ingesting increasing amounts of poison oak, he found that he could rub a poison oak leaf on his skin without breaking out in a rash.

What Horwitz went through is not entirely new. In the early 20th century, pharmaceutical companies sold poison ivy pills and shots to prevent rashes. However, they stopped making these medicines for unknown reasons.

A new urushiol drug is currently being developed and could be available to the public as soon as 2026.