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November 1, 1919


JAMA. 1919;73(18):1382-1383. doi:10.1001/jama.1919.02610440062033

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To the Editor:  —The theory of establishing an immunity toward ivy poisoning by giving extractives of the plant internally, as recorded by Dr. J. F. Schamberg (The Journal, Oct. 18, 1919, p. 1213) is not new. Chewing the leaves of poison ivy has long been practiced by laborers (Dakin: Am. J. M. Sc.4:98, 1829) and others in the belief that it would establish immunity against poisoning; many references are made to it in the literature. Some years ago Williams (M. World20:482, 1902) advanced the conception of an antitoxin to rhus poisoning by giving the drug. He writes:A decoction of the leaves of the plant, say about half a dozen leaves at a dose (or they may be simply chewed and swallowed), will cause an eruption of blebs, or water blisters, which contain an antitoxin that neutralizes the poison in the blood when the serum from

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