A Jewel of a Salve: The power of Jewelweed

Posted by Lily Kunning on

Impatiens capensis, (the orange  
jewelweed, common jewelweed, spotted jewelweed, spotted touch-me-not, or orange balsam), is an annual plant native to North America. It is common in bottomland soils, ditches, and along creeks, often growing side-by-side with its less common relative, yellow jewelweed (I. pallida). We are lucky enough in Ohio to have both varieties, both of which are medicinal and wonderful. 

Impatiens capensis, (the orange  
jewelweed, common jewelweed, spotted jewelweed, spotted touch-me-not, or orange balsam), is an annual plant native to North America. It is common in bottomland soils, ditches, and along creeks, often growing side-by-side with its less common relative, yellow jewelweed (I. pallida). We are lucky enough in Ohio to have both varieties, both of which are medicinal and wonderful. When I take my herb students for plant walks, often I will take them here, in the alleys and ravines of Clintonville. I know of a lovely stand of L. pallida and speak of its merits as students stand in wonder at its day-glo green stalks when it is hit by the sun just-so.

What makes Jewelweed so wonderful? 
  • It has special value to bumble bees, an endangered pollinator.
  • It's flower is uplifting and used to make flower essences.
  • The leaf and stem sap has a long history of use in Native American medicine for skin ailments. 
(When applied topically, sap from the stem and leaves is said to relieve itching and pain from a variety of ailments, including hives, Poison Ivy, Stinging Nettle, and other skin sores and irritations. The sap has also been shown to have anti-fungal properties and can be used to treat athlete’s foot. Scientific data confirm the fungicidal qualities.)


Jewelweed contains a compound called lawsone in its leaves proven to have anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory properties. Making it great for hives!

If you are lucky enough to have this plant on your property, make good use of it! To preserve this medicine into other months, you can make ice cubes made from a cold infusion tisane and rub it topically on rashes.

Or, if you are not near this wonderful native, you can get two of Haven Herbs' products that contain this plant: A Jewel of a Salve and Rash Bath. (And now you know why this ingredient is in them!


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