Post by mothership on Oct 10, 2007 18:05:32 GMT -5
I wonder if any of you have experience with this. My husband is extrememly allergic to poison oak, and it's gotten worse over the past few years. It can be very difficult to avoid around here, we don't have a lot of it on our property but there is some. When it doesn't have leaves (like now) it can be even harder to avoid, especially doing things like brush clearing. He breaks out in a painful, itchy rash all over (not just where he touched it), and gets terrible swelling, it's debilitating and makes for a very miserable week or so. He's right now in the middle of his worst bout with it yet. I was asking at the health food store about natural remedies for the pain and swelling, and one of the women there said she used to be severely allergic to poison oak, too, until she kept a milk goat, had the goat eat poison oak, drank the milk and her allergy went away. We don't have our cow yet, but we're looking (they're scarce around here). Do any of you know if cows will eat poison oak? And have any of you experienced something like this with an allergy going away? He's so sensitive to it, I find the idea a little bit scary of him drinking milk from an animal that's been eating it, but it might be worth a try if it could help desensitize him.
Last Edit: Oct 10, 2007 18:06:18 GMT -5 by mothership
I don't know about poison oak but I know (from a nephew with deadly peanut allergy) that with some allergies, repeated low contact does not decrease the sensitivity, as one would expect, but increases the morbidity of the reaction. Every time it is worse. Surely an allergist might have an idea? Good luck.
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Post by BasleeBackwoodsFarm on Oct 11, 2007 5:17:06 GMT -5
My parents neighbor's boy was highly allergic and they fed their goat the poison oak/ivy, he drank the milk and has no more problems. I do not know if it will work with cows though. Although, one of my daughters was always getting it and she hasn't had it now since we've milked so there maybe something to it also.
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Don't know about the milk thing. I got a very bad case of poison ivy last year while pregnant. Zanfel knocked out the swelling and itching almost immediately. It was expensive and took a lot but it really works well. I would google it and see if it works for poison oak.
Kristin www.solarfamilyfarm.com and www.knot4fun.com Adopted human calf of Lois the Jersey due 2/2009 Ginger the Jersey, born on our farm and due again next June!! BB (Baby Back) the Steer fattening at Mr. Osburne's place. A small herd of sheep and a few too many freeloading future stewing hens.
I used Zanfel on a bad case of Poison Ivy and it worked well enough for me to BUY it and it is "spendy" pricey & expensive! I have seen livestock eat poison ivy but I have not, to my knowledge, drank the milk from a cow who ate it. I read this thread to find out if it worked. It would be great if it worked but a real bummer if it didn't!
(has been SallyMA, and SallyCA in prior years.)
Post by mothership on Oct 11, 2007 10:17:15 GMT -5
I hadn't heard of Zanfel, we've always used Tecnu to wash the urushiol oil off the skin and it seems to work, if you know the contact occurred and wash it very soon afterwards. Zanfel looks worth a try, too. The problem is that he gets systemic reactions now (after accidentally breathing smoke from a bonfire that had some poison oak on it, years ago), and in this current outbreak and other times, he didn't even know he'd been near any poison oak. He went back to the spot the day after the reaction started this time, and found the bare vine twined around a tree he'd been working near, but as far as he knows he didn't actually touch it. He'd been digging and grading with a tractor near it, so it's possible it touched the tractor and he then touched that spot, or dust from the root area got on him. It's easy to spot when it has leaves, but there's nothing distinctive about it when the leaves are gone - just looks like a bare stick.
It's encouraging to hear another goat milk story. I don't see what would be different immunologically speaking about cow's milk. But's it's all academic if a cow won't even eat poison oak. The leaves look tender and tempting in the spring, but I've never seen my horses eat them and have no idea if they'd appeal to a cow. Most animals don't have an allergic reaction to it.
BTW, the allergenic oil in poison oak is the same as in poison ivy, and I think as in poison sumac.
It seems allergists have nothing effective to offer for poison oak. Steroids can help knock down symptoms, but there are so many problems with side effects, rebound, etc., from taking them that in our opinions that should be reserved for life-threatening reactions (trouble breathing, for instance). I think steroid use to suppress symtoms comes back to haunt you later.
Cows will defintly eat poison ivy. My cows love it, including my milk cow. They also readily eat what we call poison oak, which looks like ivy but grows close to the ground. Don't know if it's the same plant that you call poison oak, though.
Don't know about the immunity from drinking the milk. Poison ivy / oak doesn't affect me.
I remember years ago (in the 1950's) you could buy tincture of poison ivy from the drug store. You drank a little in some water and it would provide immunity. My dad and I would take it each summer. It gave him immunity for the summer, and it may have worked permanently for me or perhaps I was already immune, some people just are.
That product is long gone. Too much liability and too many lawyers these day.
In any case, if your husband is that highly allergic, I would be very careful. You don't want the throat or breathing passages swelling up. I would try to eliminate as much of the stuff from the cow's pasture as possible. You'll never be able to eliminate it all, though.
Missy: Simmental / Holstein (I think) Lucy: 1/2 Jersey (Missy's daughter) Rose: 3/4 Jersey (Lucy's daughter) A few Angus beef cows Many chickens Too many guineas
we have poison oak growing in spots and our cow definitely eats it.i got a rash on the back of my hand, but that was it.however, my partner got a serious case.apparently the udder balm was contaminated with poison oak and we didn't know it.she had it on and off for over 2 months.using a homeopathic tincture made by natrabio when it flared up.but now she is allergic to the milk.she gets swelling and skin starts to crack on the milking fingers(using gloves) after eating/drinking milk product from cow only.but it's hard to say what caused it.the cow was in poison oak only a week or 2 after we started milking.
I'd be careful about having your husband drink milk from a cow that had eaten poison oak, as he has such a high level of sensitivity. There are a lot of stories about people beating their allergies by drinking goats milk, etc., but your husband seems to be truly systemic with his reactions. Drinking milk contaminated with poison oak could kill him.
Also, I've noted that a lot of the stories are about children who gain immunity through drinking milk - and most of them are talking about goat's milk, rather than cow's. Many children with severe allergies will grow out of them naturally, as did my son with his peanut allergy. And goats may metabolize things differently than cows do.
Well, I started this thread a year ago, and we've had the cow for 6 months now, but she hasn't been in any of the areas where there's poison oak. I don't know what to do about it, because it does scare me, and one of the areas we want to fence in for more pasture has had a lot of poison oak in the past. It's been cleared out now, but it grows back from the roots so tenaciously that it takes sustained effort to get rid of it for good, so I'm sure there's still some there.
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