Dear Appalachian Voice,

I enjoy reading Appalachian Voice and appreciate and support the good work that your organization does for our regional environment. I have a comment regarding Jay Kranyik’s article, “Leaves of Three, Let It Be” in the last (Early Winter 2004) issue.

I have always suffered from at least a moderate poison ivy allergy, although it has abated somewhat as I grow older. Nevertheless up until a few years ago, I would
get a mild to moderate rash that was very annoying and would last at least a few weeks a year. I purchased a small piece of land in 1998 in the wilder part of Madison County, NC and after suffering for a few years from the extensive poison ivy patches, I received some valuable advice from some folks that had been living in the area for a long time that I would like to pass on to you and the Voice’s readers, something I didn’t see in Kranyik’s article.

Although I am not generally a user of homeopathic medicine, I was advised to obtain the Rhustox 30X pills and begin a regimen of taking 1 per day for a week and then 2 per day for a week, and so increasing the daily dose by one every week until the bottle is empty. At the end, the dose is about 4 or 5 per day in the last week. I usually begin this regimen in February so that when I am finished with the bottle in April the first new leaves of the poison ivy plant are beginning to appear.

This schedule could be adjusted for one’s particular climate so as to coincide with the leafing out period. Since I have done this, my sensitivity to the plant has diminished significantly. I have had only minor bouts, which are easily controlled, and my fear of the plant has decreased to the point that I am almost reckless with precautionary approaches. I still use the anti-urshiol washes and protectant gels, but I have found a new freedom from fear and reaction using this simple preventative technique.

Rhustox is available in most health food stores and is relatively inexpensive. One small bottle (of about 100 pills) is all that is necessary. I was told to watch for effects such as lethargy or “mental spaciness” when I got into the 4-5 a day portion of the regimen but I have never experienced these effects. People with heightened sensitivities and multiple allergies may want to be careful and anyone should probably discontinue this method if any undue symptoms should arise. I hope this is helpful to anyone suffering from the dreaded shiny 3-leaved monster!!


Tom Craig
Buncombe County, NC

Dear Appalachian Voice,

I grew up loving the Appalachian Mountains. My mother, who recently turned 90, is from Northfork, West Virginia. Her childhood home was on the side of a mountain above the coalmines. I am heartbroken by the practices of surface mining, particularly mountaintop removal. I was moved by Mr. Ramey’s “Voices from the Mountains” and deeply saddened by the death of Jeremy Davidson. My feelings are expressed in this poem I wrote.


Sarah Merck
Charlottesville, Virginia


Sometimes I fear I hear the Earth moaning in despair.

Man shaves the land, only red clay hills remain,
and a sign announcing a Walmart.
Birds watch their nests crash to the ground,
and deer head for the highway.

Sometimes I fear I hear the Earth moaning in despair.

Man explodes a mountaintop,
all living things erupt into the air.
Debris flows like lava, filling the streams,
and a boulder kills the baby sleeping in his bed –
nestled against his mother mountain.

AV Mountain border tan1

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