Poison Oak

FionaNyx FionaNyx at aol.com
Sat Apr 4 10:46:57 EST 1998

In a message dated 98-04-02 11:09:39 EST, John wrote:

<< After Fiona's notes about citric acid, I looked back on the Tecnu box and
 noted that two of the ingredients are Tricaprylyl Citrate and Monostearyl
 Citrate.  They are also ingredients in Armor. These would be the soap
 brethren of citric acid - so citric acid may be an approach worth looking
 at.  It may be that citrus is able to break down the urushiols.
 Citric acid occurs naturally in lemons, oranges, etc., so I would presume
 that it is just a matter of extraction and concentrating through
 evaporation.   If I remember my chemistry correctly(it was a long time
 ago), citric acid is (depending on the concentration)considerably
 stronger(more acidic, lower pH) than acetic acid, so be careful in handling
 it. On the other hand it isn't as strong as sulfuric or nitric acids.
 Regular sucking of lemons does a wonderful job of eating away tooth
 enamel(the hardest tissue in the body). Except for Meyer varieties, I think
 lemon has the greatest concentration of citric acid and is probably the
 source of commercial supplies.
 Over the years I've seen other products, soaps and flea repellents, that
 were citrus based.  The flea repellents worked well if the number of fleas
 was not too overwhelming.  I'm sure I'll be experimenting with both vinegar
 and citric acid in some form.
 Thanks again for your thoughts and advice.
 John >>

Citrus OILS are usually the active agents in anti- flea & other insect
formulations and in many of the Citrus based cleansers (such as Citrasolv).
In some of these products they are extremely concentrated--  so powerful they
are SOLVENTS.  (For example, the label of Citrasolv recommends its use full
strength in cleaning "ovens, grills,  engines, bike chains, parts, tar,
grease, chewing gum, blood, fresh paint, crayon, waxes (parrafin), adhesives,
and permanent marker.) "

Citric acid isn't just something found in citrus fruit, though they have high
levels.  Citric acid is part of the energy cycle in all oxidative respiration,
which is the basic process that all mitochondria use to fix energy.  
["...during a "turn" of the Krebs Cycle. Acetyl groups derived from glycolysis
are transported into the mitochondrion and combine with oxaloacetate to yield
citric acid at the "beginning" of each cycle. Subsequently, oxidation of
citric acid proceeds through a number of steps while 3 NADH + H+, 1 FADH2, and
1 GTP are formed."  excerpted from this site: 
<A HREF="http://tidepool.st.usm.edu/crswr/pagesf/krebs.html">Krebs Cycle</A> ]

I wouldn't assume commercially available citric acid is extracted from citrus
fruits-- if there's a cheaper way to synthesize it, I'm sure they do.
However, this discussion made me think that maybe LEMON JUICE would be a cheap
& available way to apply acid to your Poison Oak.  It's more expensive than
distilled vinegar, but I don't know how strong it is and my bottle in the
fridge doesn't say...  but it does say "from concentrate"  so maybe you could
buy it as concentrate somehow?

Thanks for giving me a chance to dust off my HS biology facts,
~~Sherrry Levi


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