The Chumash cure for poison oak: USC Scientist

From my story in the Ojai Valley News:

One of the most common shade plants in Southern California is mugwort, a rangy grey-green perennial with serrated leaves, which also turns out to be one of the plants most useful for healing in the Chumash tradition. That’s according to Jim Adams, a professor in pharmacology at the University of Southern California, who has published hundreds of articles in the scientific press, but on his own spent years learning about Southern California plants from a Chumash mentor named Cecilia Garcia.

“Mugwort is such a useful plant,” he said. “Cecilia was constantly working with it – it was her favorite plant.”

Adams said the Chumash used mugwort for many conditions related to the womb, and he suggests making a tea with it to relieve menopausal symptoms.

But the plant is best known as an antidote for poison oak.

Mugwort“Basically, you get a handful of leaves, 10 or 15, and pee on them,” he said. “Then you rub the leaves on your skin where you were touched by the poison oak. We know this works, and there have been scientific papers written on it, but we still don’t know exactly how.”

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  1. jeff@roninair.com

    I too have a Chumash mentor ” Little Hawk ” Mati waiya ” I had the honor of flying one of our captive bred service hawks at a Summer Solstice Ceremony I belive just before my Animal Rights Activism Case, ( when I got framed , wrongfully convicted of savinf several babay European eagle-Owls from a certain death at a Vienna, Austria, culling where they had simply bred too may to feed, I’m proud of what I did, so don’t believe anything you may have heard on News or TV, even to get this conviction, the prosecutor had to destroy/ tamper with the first Federal Judges orders to ” frame me” for wildlife smuggling ” Right me who ahs done more for the Earth Planet than 2of thoise USFW agenst can ever do ? Actaully some of my falcons saved California’s # 1 Most polluted beach in 2002, for real !
    But I’d like to add about Mugwort and Womens’ urine …

    Funny, Growing up in Santa Cruz Mountains/ SF peninsula where , no peeing ever came in, but everyone knew Mugwort was the natural enemy of the Poison Oak, and I can remember if we hadn’t been careful and gone offtriual alot, we would bring home a bag ( half a day pack full, simmer in a pot for 15-20 minutes then take an herb bath with my 17 year old girlfriend ( I was 16 at the time, but mature for my years, now I’m going backwards, 53, yet look and act decades younger, soemthin wrong with me ? )who I believe taught me this Native technique ? Anyway I have developed quite an immunity since childhood when it once blinded one eye closed from the swelling after doing a Saturday afternoons worth of Machete cutting, me being so proud that in 2nd grade , 7 years of age, was trusted with my dad’s WWII pacific Theater machete that on the banks of Hale Creek, which flows into SFD Bay below Mtn. View, CA ( Homeof Google, Microsofts Ca base,etc, ugh ? )
    By the next day my entire face was swollen and by that evening one eye closed due to swelling, another secret that I learned quickly after is Fels naptha soap, the old wash board brown long bars of soap, if one washes immediatey after being in Posion oak will neutralize it, as well as Mugwort fresh joice simply rubbed all over, without the urine ?
    But I do believe the ammonia in the urine would definitely help to strengthen yhe concoction especially if its fresh urine directly w=from the Urethra of a beautiful woman applied immediatelt before applcsation on oneself… I’m borrowing part of my Personal begiiner Scuba Diving ” Dangerous Sea Creatures/ Marine Life class form my NAUI Open water One course when i taught beginnner how to legally safely scuba dive to 60 feet deep on Koh tao Island , in Southern Thailand, I actually tied for first place by opening the first scuba school there in 1989… anyway
    FOR JELLYFISH STINGS, DO NOT RUB IN, IMMEDIATELY UPON SURFACING, AFGTER TAKING ONES 3 MINUTE SAFETY STOP AT 15 FEET OF DEPTH, FIND THE MOST BEAUTIFUL, YOUNGEST, CUTEST MEMBER ON THE DIVE BOAT, OR IF NEAR SHORE ON THE BEACH, LAY DOWN WITH THE EFFECTED BODY PART EXPOSED AND HAVE HER AS HIGH ELEVATION AS POSSIBLE FOR THE PRESSURE / SPLATTER EFFECT URINATE DIRECTLY ON THE JELLYFISH STUNG AREAS ( of course promising you won’t look or stare ) THIS IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE TREATMENT FOR A BAD JELLYFISH STING, BUT PLEASE REMEMBER WHEN YOU GET HOME TO GERMANY, AUSTRALIA, SWEDEN, UK, FRANCE, AUSTRIA, JAPAN ( 95 % of all my students were foreign backpacker travelers ) that you will acquire an Oneils wetsuit and even in tropical water alwasy cover up, all body area, eeven with coveralls, is betetr tahn nothing.
    And final addition when the Germans had just deverloped teh very first Poisonoous gas in WWI we weren’t prrpared for it, the firat gassing killed over 2,000 Brits & Canadais( USA wasn’t involved yet ? ) but the first gas mask remedy was, peeing on your old socks and bresathing through that ! This was moderately effective ! For the earlist poison gases, until they got more sophistacated, but until we had gas masks in another month or 2 thats what they used, so there is sonmething to the urine, and the above, is was 100% humor to age groups 20& 30 sumthins I was that age then and in no way am I perverse or into Golden showers or anything like that. I can say this, not to brag, but even though we had the smallest, oldest boat, the oldest but stronegst gear ( Sherwood Brut regulators ) I always for up to nearly 7 years could compete against the new compewrtition I was told by many students due to not only my previous great experience as a acommercail deep sea diver in the North sea of Norway for 3 years, but due to the higher standard of NAUI course over PADI, which only give 5 dives on the first class, as well as the 6th dive, all 500+ of my beginner students conducted theri own ( in buddy teams alone from the beach in shallow water 10-30 feet ) solo group dives at the ed of the course, NO OTHER DIVE SHOP ON KOH TAO WOULD DARE ALLOW THERI RECENT GRADUATES TO DIVE ALONE WITH NO DIVE MASTER, ONLY THEIR BUDDY ? ) BUT AFTER 7 YEARS AND AT 18 SHOPS COMPETEING i HAD HAD ENOUGH, AND LEFT IN 1996,NEVE TO RETURN, I UNDERSTAND MY SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION STATION WAS COMPLETEOY REMOBILIZED ( I VOLUNATRILY WILL ALL Y OWN FUNDING BEGAN THIS IN 1991, 1992 with 50 Greens and 10 hawksBills ) and that KOh Tao Island is now the NUMBER ONE DIVER TRAINING DESTINATION IN THE WORLD, MORE BEGINNERS HAVE LEARNED HERE ? IT BRAEAKS MY HEART TO THINK WE RUINED SUCH A PRISTINE UNTOUCHED VIRGIN CORAL REEF ISLAND, AND IM JUST AS RESPONSIBLE AS EVEN THE BIGGEST OPERATORS, BY EVERY STUDENT i TAUGHT, I DID HOWEVER EMPHASIZE THE ENVIRONEMNT, AND THAT TO RETURN TO DIVE SITES IN 5 TO 10 YEARS AND ONE WILL WITNJESS MANS DECIMATION TO THE EARTH PALANET MUCH FASTER THAN ABOVE THE SURFACE, AND I ALSO EMPHASIZED DIFFERENT SPECIES, OVER FISHING IMPACT, SHRIMP FARMING IMAPCT, MANGROVE DOWN FALL, ETC.
    SO ANYWAY evertime on the 2nd aday of every beginne rcalss when w the funnest chapeter, dangeous marine life, what you can and acn’t touch ( really zero is the correct answerr ) and what to do if one gets stung, that hot water will work on most everything, but it wouldget the cutest young girlk on every class to blush, when in around 10 – 40 seconds one of the second language English speakers would ask ” tauchen master Jeff, vhy do vee need gthe most b eautiful girl to pee on us if ja jellyfish stungs us ?? By this point all Brits, Aussies, Kiwis and us yanks were on the floor or ( the sand) laughing hysterically ! So I guess it was fgunny at thetime, also many people are very nervous to hear about all the terrible things thta could be out there, so it was a great relief for a break during my favorite part of every beginner course when I taught SCUBA for a living full time fiest opening Ban’s Diving, then Koh Nang Yuan Divers ( also w/ thai partenr ) thern fianlly learned Americans don’t need Thai partners because of the Traety of Amity in1 1968 when we built all their airports, yes us yanks can start sole propprietorships as long as it isn’t banking, transpostation or real estate, and thast what I did Dolphin Divers w/ my 2nd wife,The french one, who barely smiled at that joke after the 39th class, yeah the one who left me for another woman ?
    Last thing about mugwort it is used to make MOxi sticks which is the best way to use acupuncture,as the patient takes the sticks home and can trreat oneself seevral times a day, not just once or twice a week with a needle poke ? Tightly wrapped, dried Chinese Mugwort is rolled into cigar sized tubes and teh heated burning red cherry is apllied alomost to the point of burning ones skin, but not that hot, and that way there never risk of infection from needles, superior to Acupressure and acupuncture, YET THE EXACT SAME CHARTS AND MERIDIANS, MY SENSEI MARK SAITO
    JR.HEALED A BADLY TORN LIGAMENT IN MY LEFT SHOULDER
    DER AFTER I GOT MAY ASS KICKED IN A FAIR BRAWL OVER A BABE, YET WE WALKED AWAY AS A ” DRAW ” THIS IDIOT WHO HAD STOLEN MY GIRLFIREND, HAD NO IDEA, HE COULD OF FINISHED ME OFF AS MY RIGHT ARM WAS USELESSS, I HEARD THE JOINT TEAR AS i HAD HIM IN A CHOKE HOLD , HE HAD MY ARM IN A JOINT LOCK, WHEN THE GIRL GERSELF JUMOED IN ON HIS SIDE I DECIDED TO GIVE UP ? tHE WESTERN DOCTORES TOLD ME ONLY SERIOUS SURGERY NOT THE 3 ORTHROSCOPIC SNAKES COULD REPAIR THIS TEAR, YET AT THE FIRST TREATEMENT, WHEN HE MOXI’D ” MY RIGHT SHIN HALFWAY DOWN ON OUTSIDE OF SHINBONE BY 1/2 INCH IN SECONDS I FELT GREAT RELEIEF IN THE DAMAGED SHOULDER “ALSO WOULD HEAT THE MAJOR ENERGY POINTS AT EACH THUMB TO HAND AND TO THE SHOULDER ITSELF, WITH SERIOSU MASSAGE THERAPY, SWIMMING, STERTCHING, DIET, WORK OUT AND MOXI MARK HEALED ME 100% ENOUGH TO TSALK ME INTOI TAKING HIS MASSAGE HEALING COURSE IN 1987, JUST BEOFRE I BOUGHT THE AROUND THE WORLD TICKERT BACKPACKING BY MYSELF, IS HOW I DISCOVERED KOH TAO ISLAND, THE BEST DIVING I HAD EVER SEEN ( AND JSUT LEFT AUSTRALIAS BARRIER REEF, FIJI, ALREADY SEEN MEXICO, HAWAII, MEDITEARNAEAN , ETC )
    SO whet does a retired diver, and painting contractor who travlled around the world a few times and lived in 7 countries, 4 cultures, protesatant, catholic, Moslem and Buddhist, I fly falcons of course… http://www.roninair.com
    Saker Jeff

    August 11, 2014