Ailanthus glandulosa

Proving Symptoms of homeopathy medicine Ailanthus Glandulosa, described by Richard Hughes in his book, A Cyclopedia of Drug Pathogenesis, published in 1895….


Ailanthus glandulosa, Desf. Tree of heaven. nat. Ord., Simarubaceae.


1a. Dr. GIRAUD took 2 spoonfuls of an infusion of the bark. After 1/4 hours nausea, with anxiety, worse than that caused by ipecacuanha; also sense of tightness in temples. Symptoms increased after 1/2 hours of vomiting (sour); pulse had now risen from 68 to 76, temp. from 37.2 to 37.3. After this peculiar sensation of emptiness in stomach; pulse, 1 hours after dose, 80 temp. 37.7. In 1/2 hours fall of temperature to 37, and of pulse to 64; sense of coldness over whole body. After a few hours colic followed by soft stool.

1b. In another occasion, after same, pulse being 78, there was no nausea, but after 3/4 hours pulse was 70, with a sensation of coldness; later pulse rose to 76 again. After 4 hours some colic and soft stool. (Allen’s Encyclopedia, x, 643; from thesis by Giraud, not accessible.)

2. Dr. ROBERT took same. Found it extremely bitter, causing nausea, sometimes vomiting. After 1 hours pulse fell 10 beats, remaining thus for 1/2 hours, after which it became somewhat more frequent than usual. (Ibid.)

3. Dr. HETTET reports as effect of eating fragment of bark, general malaise, sensation of feebleness, dimness of vision, vertigo, cold sweat, and nausea. (Ibid.)

4. P. -, a student of medicine, aged. 19, in good health. Took 1 dr of 1st cent. dil. every hours from 8 a.m., March 4th. 10.0 Lancinating pain through both temples, and fine pricking pains in temple. Burning in and darting pains through stomach. 12.0 Tired sensation of lower limbs, chills over whole body as from water, and sharp pains through both lungs. 1.0. After dinner, sinking feeling in stomach. 3.0 Severe constriction of throat. 8.0. Sharp pricking pain in stomach and temples. 5th. – 10 a.m. aching in left lung; discharge of bright red blood from nose, which was swollen. 11.0. Severe nausea, as from fat meat. 1.0. Sharp pains through both temples. 3.0. Lancinating pains through whole lower limbs. 6.0. throat feels very full. 6th, 7th, and 8th. No new symptoms. 9th. – 9 a.m. Bleeding from nose and sharp pains through both lungs; worse when taking long breath. 12.0 Mouth very sore, and feels raw and burning, as if from presenceness of stomach after dinner, lasting 1 1/2 hours 4. Sensation as from a blow in right ear. 6:30. Trembling of legs. 10th. – 8 a.m. Mouth sore and raw, and oozing and blood from denuded surface. Faint feeling, with nausea. Sharp pains in both lungs, and in stomach, as from pins. 12.0. ringing in right ear. 2.0. Bruised sensation on right forearm. 5.0. Mouth very sore and painful, discharge of blood from the swollen gums. 12th. – 8 a.m. Dryness of mouth, and bleeding from root and sides. Nausea in abdomen. 10.0 sharp pain through right temple, with nausea. 3.0 Pricking pain through left lung. Trembling of legs. ringing in ears like music. 15th. – 8 a.m. Mouth continues very sore, with discharge of blood and stringy saliva. Teeth feel as if he had taken acid in mouth. 10.0 Pains in lungs return, and trembling of legs and bruised sensation of r forearm. Constriction of throat, with sensation of foreign body there for about 10 m. after every dose of medicine. Took same doses up to 25th, with no new symptoms. (Publ. of Mass. Hom. Medorrhinum Soc., iv, 120.)

5. In proving the Ailanthus, I procured the flowers just before maturity, had them carefully dried and of these made a tincture of about 3j to the pint. I first took it myself, in drop-doses, 4 times a day, for 3 weeks, noticing only the distinct and decided symptoms, and was then compelled to take an antidote. I then gave it to 2 young men, one of bilious, the other of lymphatic temperament, neither of whom knew what they were taking, or what effects I was looking for. the principal symptoms corresponded perfectly, though one refused to take it after a few day’s indisposition. They each made only one trial, continuing it about 2 weeks. My last proving was with the 1st dil., and the effects were quite as well marked as those of the tincture. Each time I have been compelled to suspend the doses after the 3rd week, and twice to antidote its action by nux vomica as, by that time, the throat, lungs, eyes, and head (I mention them in their order of being affected) were suffering severely. I have only noted such symptoms as were common to each of the provers, and have excluded all which did not seem to be caused by the action of the drug. the symptoms which are most positive are printed in italics.

5a. General Symptoms. – Feeling of uneasiness, and aching restlessness in limbs; electrical thrill extending to ends of fingers; heaviness of extremities; peculiar feeling of emptiness in stomach; languor and lassitude on making exertion; tottering gait with inclination to stagger – requires extra effort to walk straight; incapability of standing long at a time.

5b. Head. – Vertigo, especially when stooping; headache; darting pain in back of head; beating in occipital arteries; feeling as if electrical currents were passing through left side of head; catarrhal obstruction as from cold in head; thick, heavy feeling, as in base and right side of the head; tender bruised feeling over parieto-frontal sutures; dizziness and confusion of head; inability to ride feet; staggering dizziness when rising or moving.

5c. Emotive Sphere. – Low spirited; continued sighing; restlessness; confusion of ideas; inability to concentrate mental effort; compelled to read a subject several times, to get a misty understanding of it; recklessness in regard to present or future events; stoical indifference to what happens.

5d. Sentient Sphere. – Loss of memory; mental alienation; [ This must have been something quite temporary and superficial.-EDS.] apoplectic fulness of head, rather serous than sanguineous;[ This must describe what the provers’ sensations suggested.-EDS.] electrical thrill, starting from brain and extending to extremities; tingling in fingers.

5e. Eyes. – Feel rough and irritated as from wind and dust; smarting and aching of the eyes as from application of powerful astringents; burning in the eyes; lachrymation in open air or by brilliant light; failing out of eyebrows.

5f. Nose. – Dryness and suppressed secretion; loss of smell; difficult breathing through nose; itching and uneasy feeling around nose.

5g. Face. – Complexion sallow, blue, and inactive; irregular spots of capillary congestion, as in face of drunkard after a debauch; dusky bilious complexion, dark blue circle around eyes.

5h. Throat. – Throat tender and sore on swallowing, or on admission of air; hawking of mucus from throat; thick, oedematous, and dry choky feeling of throat continuing in an acute form only in short time, and then becoming chronic; great accumulation of matter, part of which is easily expectorated, while a portion of it is detached, with much exertion, in small flakes; spreading ulcers, feeling as after application of nitrate of silver, constant hawking and efforts to raise hardened lumps of whitish matter; thickened swelled feeling of muscles of neck; tenderness and enlargement of parotid and thyroid glands; sensation as after an astringent to pharynx; croupy choking; raising of mucus and yellow matter from the throat.

5i. Chest. – Pain and contracted feeling, especially through the centre of the left lung; equable oppression as though chest was strapped; asthmatic oppression in larger bronchi; aching, pressed feeling of dorsal excessive soreness and tenderness of the lungs, compelling suspension of drug. On 2nd day after suspension, sneezing asthmatic respiration; cough, somewhat oppressed; expectoration muco- purulent, free in m., sticky and scanty during day; deep, exhausting cough with asthmatic expansion of the lungs; convulsive cough; cough deep, and painful; excessive tenderness all over the lungs; feeling as though air-cells were stuck together; inability to completely expand the lungs; can hear the cells open as the lungs expand. Crepitant rhonchus; tired feeling in lungs rendering it almost an exertion to breathe; stitching and aching in the chest; aching pain directly under clavicle, sometimes extending to sternum; burning pain under left shoulder; constant aching between shoulders; burning in right lung; aching in front of Left lung, extending to back; aching close on either side of the dorsal vertebrae; pain, as though from a small blade, 2 inches left of lower portion of sternum; shooting, aching pain in the shoulders and hips. [ Dr. Alley’s pulmonary symptoms might have been set down to an intercurrent chill, but they are confirmed by Dr. Minton’s experiments.-EDS.]

5j. Stomach. – No particular desire for food, but eats his usual quantity. Inactive condition of stomach as though its contractive power was impaired; appetite capricious; tongue thickly covered with whitish coat, brown in the centre; water tastes brackish and flat; no desire for drink except when eating.

5k. Abdomen. – Weak, burning, uneasy feeling in the bowels, as of approaching diarrhoea; bowels moved easier than natural 2 or 3 times a day. Tympanites; slight rumbling in the bowels; looseness of bowels, seeming most in the large intestines.

5l. Fever. – Dry, hot skin, especially in morning lasting until middle of day (ALLEY, N. Am. Journ. of Hom., vii, 385.)

6a. Dr. MINTON made tincture of flowers, leaves, and bark, and took drop doses every hours for 12 hours, when confusion and pain in head were so severe that he was forced to discontinue proving.

6b. A week later he took 2 drops every 2 hours, on 1st day from 8.1/4 a.m. to 10.1/4 p.m., on 2nd day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. In 20 m. after 1st dose slight headache with nausea and giddiness; in 30 m., severe darting pain through temples and occiput, with confusion of ideas. After 2nd dose, thick, heavy feeling also in head; figures and letters look blurred; in making up some accounts found it almost impossible to add up a column correctly. No appetite for dinner, everything tasting flat and insipid. In 20 m. after 3rd dose pain and tightness of chest; in 2 hours irritability of throat with hawking of mucus. In 36 m. after 4th dose numbness of left arm and sensation as if fingers were asleep. In 1/2 hours after 5th dose oppression of breathing. In 1/2 hour after 6th dose soreness in internal chest with pain and aching in lungs, which increased later, and were accompanied by severe pains in head with chills, followed by flushes of heat. Sleep disturbed and unrefreshing; on waking, tingling sensation of left arm and hand, dull headache, no appetite for breakfast, tongue coated, pasty taste in mouth. After 1st dose this day headache set in immediately with some confusion of intellect. In 1/2 hours after 2nd dose nausea and sickness at stomach, with sour eructations. Loathing of food at mid-day; and soreness of glands of neck, with pains under left scapula. After 4th dose constant sharp pain through small of back and hips. After 5th pain in back, head, and neck, with numbness of arm, still continue. After 6th numbness of left leg also, with tingling, prickling pain in feet and toes.

After discontinuing drug, head, throat, and chest symptoms lasted for about 24 hours, when they gradually died away. The numbness of arm and leg, with pain in shoulders, back, and hips, lasted 4 or 5 day (North Amer. Journ. of Hom., x, 358.)

7a. A young man (aged 28), of sanguine temperament, on June 6th, at 5 p.m., took 5 drops of the above tincture. In 1/2 hours fulness and somewhat of intoxicated feeling in brain; also fulness in throat, with desire to hawk up something. At 8.1/4 p.m. took 5 drops and in 15 m. felt above head symptoms return.

7b. June 12th. – At 8.1/2 a.m. took 3 drops. In 1/2 hours fulness and burning in brain; sensation of cold about eyes; and a gnawing in chest. At 9.1/4 took 3 more drops. In 2 hours dull heavy headache, with heavy feeling in sternal region. Between 1 and 2 a heavy frontal headache came on again, with drowsiness; went to sleep and slept two h. Severe pain through temples on waking. General feeling of fulness in system, much soreness, irritability, and prickling or tingling sensation in skin. Heavy sleep during night. (Ibid.)

8. Another young man, aged 21, began by taking 1 drop every hours for 8 doses, without effect save a slight headache. He then took a teaspoonful at once. In about 1/2 hours began to feel queer and somewhat frightened; sensation of giddiness, with nausea and sickness at stomach, came over him; cold perspiration stood out on skin; fingers, and indeed while body, began to tingle and prick; limbs felt as if asleep; figures at which he was working danced up and down; he staggered back, and fell into his chair, almost unconscious. Bourbon whisky was administered, and he soon began to vomit and purge, which continued and numbness of left arm. (Ibid.)

9a. Dr. TRUE tasted of some freshly-dug ailanthus root, and had repeated vomiting, unaccompanied by straining and retching, but with death-like sickness. b. Same made infusion of Ziv of bark to Oj of water, and took two tablespoonfuls at 1:40, 2:15, and 3:40, and three at 4:40 p.m. At 5:20 noticed heavy ache through head just behind ears; feeling about articulations of jaws like mumps; and slight nausea. At 6:50 took six tablespoonfuls, throwing up dose as soon as swallowed; at 7:15 nausea, general relaxation, indisposition to exercise, difficulty to keeping attention fixed. AT 8:35 symptoms were abating, and at 9 they had gone.

8c. Next day made infusion of Zij of bark to Oj of hot water, evaporated to Zviij, and took whole at once. Only effect was slight nausea, and feeling of tension through head just behind ears, as after large dose of quinine. At other times took Zij of saturated tincture, and are bark and roots with but little effect. (HEMPEL, Mat. Medorrhinum, 3rd ed., sub voce).


1. Two young girls amused themselves one evening by stripping the outside bark from the young and tender shoots of the ailanthus, and then, after writing letters on the stalks with the point of a pin, these were moistened with saliva by means of the end of the finger. This was many times repeated, so that some quantity of the juice of the stalks must have been conveyed to the mouth. Both were made ill, with similar symptoms, but one the much more severely. On rising she felt slightly ill; and on coming to breakfast the sight of food made her feel so much worse that she left the table and wet to her room. She was seized suddenly with violent vomiting; severe headache; intolerance of light; dizziness; hot, red face; inability to sit up; rapid small pulse; drowsiness, with at same time restlessness; and great anxiety. Two hours after first attack drowsiness had become insensibility, with constant muttering delirium; she did not recognise members of family; and was covered, in patches, with a miliary rash, of dark, almost livid colour, on a dull, dingy, opaque ground, more profuse on forehead and face than elsewhere. Pulse was now small, and so rapid as hardly to be counted; surface had become cold and dry; livid colour of skin, when pressed out by finger, returned very slowly. In about 3 hours from first appearance of eruption livid colour began to lose something of its dark hue; restlessness and anxiety diminished; pulse became more distinct and less frequent; consciousness partially returned; eruption became a brighter red. A series of rigors, followed by burning fever, now set in, and continued at intervals for a fortnight. Chill was always preceded by a miliary eruption, most copiously developed in forehead and face. During chill there was great hunger with distressing sense of general emptiness; any food taken was speedily vomited; intolerable pain was felt in nucha, upper back, and right hip-joint. During hot stage there was urgent thirst with delirium, and strong desire for brandy. Each year since this poisoning patient has been attacked by a similar miliary rush at season of blossoming of ailanthus, and is more or less ill with it. (P. P. WELLS, Amer. Hom. Review, iv, 385, and Monthly Hom. Review., xi, 289.)

2. Dr. WELLS himself experiences annually, on the blossoming of the tree, a peculiar dull, heavy, pressing pain in forehead, of no great severity, but indisposing to or even incapacitating for all exertion, especially mental. He describes also, as common to many others with himself, a feeling at this time of “uncertainty” in the bowels, as if they might be attacked with looseness any minute. (Amer. Hom. Rev., vi, 268.)

3. Dr DE WOLF noticed, for many years effects of aroma of blossoms on self and others, and enumerates them as – nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and spasmodic abdominal pains. (Philad. Journ. of Hom., ii, 576.)

4. M. DECAISNE reports that the gardeners employed in trimming ailanthus trees suffer from nausea, and sometimes from vomiting, with prostration. (GIRAUD, op. cit.)

5. Dr. ALLEY noticed effects of aroma in two persons. 5a. In a woman, throat was dry, rough, and scrappy, more so in morning; there was hawking up of greenish, puruloid matter; fauces and tonsils were inflamed, with spots of incipient ulceration; thirst for cold drinks, heavy dull headache, with great oppression of bronchiae; violent fits of coughing before retiring an on rising, lasting till expectoration becomes free (comfortable during day.) 5b. A man always experienced occipital headache, vertigo, squeezing pain in forehead, and swelling of left cheek; soreness and pain on left side of nose, puffed erysipelatous face; nausea at intervals, sleepiness and heaviness. (U. S. Journ. of Hom., i, 285.) 6. Mrs. K -, then in her climaxis, and for many years a sufferer from gastric derangement, called Dr. MESCHTER, compelling of symptoms which she referred to her dyspepsia. She had pale colour of face, dry skin, coated tongue, pains in hypogastrium and hips, jaundice and tenderness over hepatic region, constipation, difficult micturition, and an accelerated pulse. Next day patient was no better, and the doctor found her youngest daughter sick in bed with same symptoms. Both got worse from day to day, vomited repeatedly, and complained of constant violent increasing pain in stomach. The second daughter then became ill, and presented identical symptoms. The father, who was away at work at day, was at last affected precisely like the others. The doctor suspected poison, and at length learned that the brook water used by the family tasted badly. On examination, the roots of an ailanthus were fond extending into it; and the flavour was such as impregnation with its bark would produce. On discontinuing use of water family became and remained well. (Philad. Medorrhinum and Surg. Rep., Feb., 1872.)

7. Three little boys smoked stems of ailanthus like cigars. They had giddiness, nausea, with retching and some vomiting; frequent watery dejections, expelled with great force; burning in stomach and bowels, colicky pains in bowels. The giddiness and nausea lasted off and on for 2 or 3 day (WILLIAMSON, N. Am. Journ. of Hom., x, 360.)

8. Dr. TRUE published an article in the Ecl. Medorrhinum Journ. Sept., 1875, relating alleged poisoning with bark in two children, aged. 4 and 6, with following symptoms:- Drowsiness and sleepiness; pulse slow and full, but regular; breathing natural; they would vomit during sleep, but without waking; could be roused by shaking, but then seemed sleepy only, soon going off again. (HEMPEL, op. cit.)

9. Local effects. – Reveil states that gardeners are obliged to protect their face and hands when trimming the trees, else they suffer from vesicular and even pustular eruptions. He also affirms that the resinous substance extracted from the bark by ether produces vesication when applied to the skin. Giraud applied to skin compresses saturated with infusion of bark, and found them produce a large number of small elevations, circumscribed, surrounded by a very small inflamed areola, and filled with a turbid liquid looking like pus. Dr. Lindsley observed a case in which a young lady, sleeping on a lounge by an open window in front of which was an ailanthus in full bloom, had upon her skin, wherever uncovered, a vesicular inflammation resembling the eruption caused by Rhus. He applied the juice of a freshly-broken twig of the tree to her arm, and it produced a copious eruption upon a surface much larger than the part touched (N. Amer. Journ. of Hom., xxx, 85, and Hempel, op. cit.).

Richard Hughes
Dr. Richard Hughes (1836-1902) was born in London, England. He received the title of M.R.C.S. (Eng.), in 1857 and L.R.C.P. (Edin.) in 1860. The title of M.D. was conferred upon him by the American College a few years later.

Hughes was a great writer and a scholar. He actively cooperated with Dr. T.F. Allen to compile his 'Encyclopedia' and rendered immeasurable aid to Dr. Dudgeon in translating Hahnemann's 'Materia Medica Pura' into English. In 1889 he was appointed an Editor of the 'British Homoeopathic Journal' and continued in that capacity until his demise. In 1876, Dr. Hughes was appointed as the Permanent Secretary of the Organization of the International Congress of Homoeopathy Physicians in Philadelphia. He also presided over the International Congress in London.