Hyper Sensitivity to Poison Oak?


Poison oak season is upon us here in Mendocino as the weather warms and we’re enjoying more time outdoors. Poison oak contains urushiol, which is a sap in the leaves, stems and roots. Urushiol causes an extremely itchy and sometimes bubbly rash in most people. 15-30% of people don’t react to poison oak. Roughly 25% of people have a severe and dangerous reaction to poison oak and these are the people I am addressing here. (1) These same people usually have an exaggerated reaction to other toxins such as mosquito bites and spider bites. Nutritional intervention can support the body so that the next exposure isn’t as bad.

Think of the poison oak as a toxin along with any other toxins, such as bad food, chemical exposure or infection that you have to deal with and excrete from the body. The key here is to avoid additional toxins, support your detox mechanisms and strengthen your adaptation mechanisms.


Avoid additional toxins

Foods that add to the toxic load include fried foods, sugary foods, chemical laden foods and any food you are allergic or sensitive to. Sometimes you don’t know what other toxins your body is dealing with; food allergies, heavy metal exposure, mold or chemical exposure, Lyme or other infection? An oversensitivity to poison oak can be a clue to look for a toxic exposure that is combining with the poison oak to make it that much worse.


Support your detox mechanisms

Do you have itchy skin at night or do you often feel swollen? Do you have sluggish bowels? These are signs that your body is not efficiently removing toxins. That means the list of toxins from above plus your own body’s waste matter is not efficiently cleared out of the body. You can support your intestines, kidneys and liver with food and supplements to help all toxins move out of the body instead of piling up to add more toxins to the poison oak.


Strengthen your adaptation mechanism

The adrenal glands help you deal with stress and allergic reactions. If the adrenals are strong, then they secrete cortisol to reduce inflammation from an allergic reaction. If the adrenals are tired from real life stress, perceived stress or other allergies, they won’t be available to calm an allergic reaction like poison oak. Stress reduction techniques combined with food and supplements can help to strengthen your adrenals, the adaptation mechanism.


Are you afraid of poison oak? Are you doing everything you can to strengthen your body to deal with an accidental exposure? It’s normal to have a reaction to poison oak, but do you have a severe reaction? Use this as an opportunity to review your health. I can help you to evaluate your exposure to toxins as well as your liver, kidneys, bowels and adrenals to see if you can help them all to deal with life’s poisons and the poison oak. Click



to set up a free phone consultation so I can understand what you are dealing with and explain how I can help you calm the allergic reaction to poison oak.

Nutrition is not a replacement for medical care and some poison oak reactions do require medical treatment. This is a way to look at preventive care. Is there something else you can do to support your overall health so you are less vulnerable to poison oak?

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Nutrition is not a replacement for medical care - please continue to see your medical doctor.

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Anna Rathbun, Food Therapy

 45180 A Main Street

 Mendocino, CA 95460 (physical address only)

 PO Box 583

 Little River, CA 95456 (mailing only)

707-937-0476

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