Cow Parsnip – Dangerous Plant in the Pacific Northwest

Having lived in the Pacific Northwest my whole life, the wild forest are familiar. Salal, oxalis, elderberry and nettles are instinctively identifiable. It’s nice knowing that there aren’t any poisonous snakes and few poisonous insects, so the woods should be a peaceful serene place. However, last week a friend’s child got into Cow Parsnip and now he will probably have permanent scars on his legs from this hugely scary plant.

Check out these pictures of the 3 year old child and his reaction to Cow Parsnip:

day 1

Day 1

day 2

Day 2

Day One: it looked like a sunburn so wasn’t too concerning. It was red and tender, but not overly hot. Didn’t know what it was at the time. Initially thought it might be a sunburn or rash. Kids had been playing outside in the woods, not too worried. Plus this kiddo just loves tromping through the woods in his rubber boots, so thought it might be irritation from the boots in the 90+ degree weather.

Day two: it was getting worse. Still didn’t know what it was but it didn’t seem to bother him much so figured it would eventually go away.

Day three: Drew the outline of it with a marker to track if it was getting bigger or smaller. Noticed small blisters forming.  Decided to go to urgent care. The urgent care doctor wasn’t able to identify it either. Ruled out poison oak, doctor thought it might be some variety of poison sumac and treated it like a burn with bandages.

day 3

Day 3

day 5

Day 5

Day five:  changed the bandage.  Look how horrible it is.  Can’t imagine this poor kid.

Almost two weeks out and it’s almost healed over but will likely have permanent scarring.  Based on this experience here’s what you need to know:

Cow Parsnip is reputed to be native to the Northwest.  It looks similar  to Giant Hogweed which is not native.  Although I have read conflicting sources about the origins of the plant so don’t know for sure and some sources say you can eat it….I’m tempted to try and fry it out of revenge for what it did to this sweet child!

day 11

Day 11

Day 12

Day 12

Cow parsnip juices contain a phototoxin that acts on contact with skin, triggered by exposure to ultraviolet light. Reaction differs sharply among individuals — from next to nothing to a mild rash to blistering and severe dermatitis, depending on the sensitivity of the individual. Generally, heat, sweating and wet skin intensifies the symptoms. The light-triggered reaction happens quickly.  So your skin will react as a sunburn since the chemical binds to the skin.  If you use a string timmer (weed whacker) be careful since this spreads the juices and stalk everywhere.  Be sure to wear long sleeves, long pants and gloves to protect the skin.  If you are exposed, wash the skin immediately.  In the case of my friend, it took almost a week to identify it and the damage was already done.

More resources for reading:

"Cow Parsnip". Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

“Cow Parsnip”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

Advanced Face Serum by SCS with Hyaluronic Acid

 Having never heard of hyaluronic acid before, I was curious to try it out. I looked it up on WebMD just be sure that it was safe and WebMD said “Some people apply hyaluronic acid to the skin for healing wounds, burns, skin ulcers, and as a moisturizer. There is also a lot of interest in using hyaluronic acid to prevent the effects of aging. In fact, hyaluronic acid has been promoted as a “fountain of youth.” However, there is no evidence to support the claim that taking it by mouth or applying it to the skin can prevent changes associated with aging.” I was happy to try it even if it didn’t live up to the claims.

The package says “100% pure hhyaluronicyaluronic acid serum gently binds formidable amounts of moisture to the skin and its layers while preserving your skins most important youthful characteristics such as suppleness, elasticity and tone. This serum nourishes, soothes and moisturizes your skin, helping you maintain a beautiful youthful glow while protecting your skin”. This brand is also produced without parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, synthetic dyes, petrochemicals, phthalates, GMOLs. So it seems that it’s pretty pure and since it’s made in the USA I felt good about the quality.

The instructions are to apply several drops to clean, washed skin and gently massage into the skin. Allow product to completely absorb into skin before applying makeup. Use twice a day in the morning and evening.

The serum has no discernable fragrance. It has a slightly smooth feel, but not oily.  The serum absorbs quickly so I’ll keep using it and see what the results are.

*This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may earn a commission off of any item purchased. I received this product free in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion *

Anaiti Luminous Cream

anaitiWow! This stuff is amazing! When opening the bottle for the first time, a refreshing citrus scent wafts your way. It absorbs quickly and smoothly. I felt a tingling on my face so hopefully that means it’s doing something amazing! It doesn’t make my skin feel oily or coated with extra stuff. I have a couple dark spots that are already showing some lightening. We’ll see how it goes after a few weeks. So far, definitely amazing!

*received as promotion. opinions are my own. *

by by bugs! natural insect repellant

Had a great summer camping all over the northwest. couldn’t avoid the bugs however. thought we were prepared with repellent, but alas some bugs still buzzed through our defenses and zapped the tender skin of my children. Started making my own insect repellent a couple years ago before going on a cruise to the Caribbean. Ended up with a great formulation that worked in the jungles of central america and was in a solid base of shea butter and beeswax so I could take it on the plane without tsa confiscating it. However, I forgot what I put in it!! ARGHHH! It was some mixture of citronella oil, and other random oils from my giant collection. Starting over.

The list of effective oils includes cinnamon, vanilla extract, citronella oil, catnip, lemongrass and peppermint oil. You can combine them to your liking in a spray bottle with a carrier (some sort of oil… castor or olive and alcohol) or mix in a solid of shea butter and beeswax with almond oil. Will try to recreate the perfect blend and WRITE IT DOWN this time.

Quinoa Caprese Salad Recipe

quinoa 1Came up with a new recipe recently and have taken it to some events and received rave reviews! My kids love it and it’s super easy to make! Here ya go:

Quinoa Caprese Salad

2 cups quinoa (cooked in 4 cups water then cooled)
1 cup pesto
1 cup fresh mozzarella balls
1/4 cup basil leaves cut chiffonade (thin strips)
1 cup grape tomatoes cut in half
juice from 1 lemon
salt, pepper to taste

Cook quinoa and cool. Mix in the pesto (add more or less if necessary) and lemon juice til well mixed. Can be kept in fridge at this stage overnight. Right before serving stir in mozzarella, basil and tomatoes. Season to taste. Enjoy!