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Global Warming Increases The Potency Of Poison Ivy and Natural Antidotes

Recent botanical research shows rash-inducing plants are growing faster and producing more potent toxins as compared with the same plants of earlier decades. Rising carbon-dioxide levels appear to create ideal conditions for these poisonous plants, producing larger and faster growth along with more potent toxins. As more potent toxins are produced by plants, the topical reactions become worse and affect a larger population, but natural antidotes are also increasing in potency.

Menands, NY (PRWEB) April 16, 2010 -- Poison ivy, sumac and oak are toxic plants native to North America that adversely affect an estimated 60 Million Americans and Canadians every year. As members of the Rhus family, these poisonous plants cause nasty topical complications by producing a toxic reaction on the skin. Rhus plants contain an oily substance called Urushiol that oozes from the leaves, stems and roots of cut or crushed vegetation. Topical contact with the oil causes allergic reactions that produce inflammatory redness, painful blisters and severe itching.

While 25% of the population is generally immune to small doses of urushiol, this natural substance appears to be growing more potent with increased carbon dioxide levels that accompany global warming. This means less people are immune to the toxic plants, and more people are suffering worse reactions than they did only twenty years ago.

Recent botanical research shows rash-inducing plants are growing faster and producing more potent toxins as compared with the same plants of earlier decades. Rising carbon-dioxide levels appear to create ideal conditions for these poisonous plants, producing larger and faster growth along with more potent toxins. As more potent urushiol is produced by plants, the toxic reactions become worse and affect a larger population.

"If it's producing a more virulent form of the oil, then even a small or more casual contact will result in a rash," says Dr. Lewis Ziska, a plant physiologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Beltsville, Md.

A 2007 study, led by Dr. Ziska, focused on poison ivy plants grown under different levels of carbon-dioxide exposure. One group of plants was exposed to 300 parts per million of CO2, the same level found in the atmosphere during the 1950s. A second group of plants was exposed to 400 ppm of CO2, the same level found in the atmosphere today. After one growing season, researchers measured leaf size, stem length, overall weight and oil content of the plants. The measurements of plants grown under current CO2 levels were 50% to 75% higher than plants grown under the 1950s conditions. Not only did higher CO2 levels double the growth rate, but they also created hardier plants that recovered more quickly from adverse environmental conditions.

An earlier study conducted at Duke University also reported that higher CO2 levels create a chemical change in poison ivy that results in a more toxic form of urushiol. The Duke study supports U.S. Agriculture findings, showing significant increases in the toxicity of plants exposed to increased levels of CO2.

"It is more abundant and allergenic," says Jacqueline E. Mohan, a research scientist who led the Duke study.

As the scourge of poisonous plants worsens, traditional over the counter medicines are becoming less effective across the population. While there are many remedies for poison ivy and its relatives, most are made with chemicals that mask symptoms until the rash has passed, but none have been able to fully relieve the symptoms. The average case of urushiol poisoning can last up to three weeks, but there are natural botanicals that can neutralize urushiol to promote faster healing -- even as the toxin becomes more potent.

Thankfully, while urushiol is increasing in potency due to growing carbon dioxide emissions, other plants that produce natural antidotes are also increasing in potency. A new natural product uses proven botanicals to relieve topical urushiol poisoning by incorporating more potent strains of anti-inflammatory plant extracts. ThermaSkin Itch Blocker is designed to counteract the irritation caused by a variety of toxic plants. According to the manufacturer, their proprietary formulation of Jewelweed, Caspaicin, Pareira and Goldenseal neutralizes autoimmune responses caused by contact with urushiol.

Contrary to popular belief, urushiol does not spread once it absorbs into the skin. After 10 minutes of exposure, urushiol cannot be washed away -- even with soap and water. Because the oil binds with proteins in skin cells, it’s impossible to remove once the toxin has been absorbed. Since the average urushiol rash occurs 12 to 48 hours after exposure, most people don’t realize they’ve been contaminated until it’s too late. Even when blisters are oozing with puss, the toxin cannot be spread by scratching and it cannot be transferred to other people, but the horrific symptoms can linger for weeks.

“There’s no doubt the combination of jewelweed, capsaicin, pareira and goldenseal instantly counteracts the immune response caused by urushiol, but the application method is equally important. We experimented with sprays and lotions, but we found a roll-on was far more effective. Roll-ons naturally apply pressure to deliver the formula deep into the skin while increasing blood flow and breaking up blisters. Since urushiol cannot be spread once a rash appears, there‘s no chance of spreading the infection with a roll on. So a roll-on was the best way to go”, says Wayne Perry, developer of ThermaSkin Itch Blocker.

Jewelweed has been used by Native Americans for centuries to neutralize the effects of urushiol. In fact, jewelweed generally grows next to poison ivy throughout North America. Capsaicin is also a Native American remedy used to control topical pain and itching, and ThermaSkin Itch Blocker is the first commercial product to use the power of the pepper. In addition, Goldenseal and Pareira root are both proven to reduce topical inflammation, and ThermaSkin uses both botanicals. By combining these natural ingredients in a roll-on, the makers of ThermaSkin Itch Blocker guarantee their product will relieve allergic skin reactions caused by a variety of modern plant irritants without the adverse effects of chemically based products.

“As carbon emissions worsen, so to will allergic complications faced by people who enjoy the outdoors. Our mission is to use Mother Nature’s own antidotes to neutralize the effects of toxic plants without resorting to harmful chemicals and steroids,” adds Perry.

To find out more about ThermaSkin Itch Blocker, visit the official company website at

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