Rhus tox. is one of the restless remedies. Hahnemann says : “We observe this curious action (which is found degree), viz, the severest symptoms and sufferings are excited when the body or the limb is at rest, and kept as much as possible without movement. The opposite of this, namely an increase of the symptoms by movement, is much more rarely observed.” The student should note that Bryonia has very much the same sort of pains is Rhus, but opposite modalities. The Rhus patient is chilly and craves warmth.
The Bryonia patient is worse when warm. Also he must keep still as any movement aggravates his aches and pains. Rhus on the contrary is relieved by motion, thought when he begins to move his pains and stiffness are worse until he warms up with movement.
Weather affects the Rhus patient. Cold damp or rainy weather makes him ache stiffens his muscles and joints. Hahnemann also pointed out the great value of Rhus in case of strained muscles and joints as a result of over-exertion.
Nash says : “Whenever in fevers or even inflammatory diseases the sensorium becomes cloudy or stupefaction sets in with a low grade of muttering delirium dry tongue, etc., we think of Rhus. Dry or dark coated tongue with triangular red tip is an especial indication for this remedy.” And Nash continues : “Of course the Rhus restlessness is present and the patient tosses and turns from side to side, even without knowing of it, or of anything going on round her”.
Mentally the Rhus patient is depressed, anxious and in a stare of mental prostration. He may exhibit a state if intense fear worse at night which is the time of aggravation for Rhus patients.
There are a great number of symptoms in the provings of Rhus and only a few can be mentioned. The selection of the drug as a remedy depends upon the presence of the general symptoms.
Headache worse in the morning while lying, from cold or after a meal. Tearing drawing pains, or aching pains. The head feels sore to touch. Headache which come on after exposure to cold damp weather may need Rhus.
Rheumatic patients who need Rhus are apt to develop a variety of trouble after exposure to cold damp weather, or if they have had a thorough wetting. They often date the onset of their troubles from being wet through. They may develop inflammation of the eyes with a mucous discharge, neuralgic pains in the eyes and many other symptoms. Kent says that Rhus patients are subject to styes on the lower lids.
Sore throat may need Rhus. Stiff neck often needs this medicine. A typical Rhus condition is a pain in the small of the back worse sitting still or lying, better when moving about or lying on something hard.
Stomach pains with nausea and vomiting after eating. Shooting pains in the liver with tenderness on pressure. Thirst and a dry mouth are often present. Any inflammation of the abdominal organs may need Rhus. The abdomen is distended and tender with colic compelling him to lie on his back with his limbs drawn up. Diarrhoea worse at night.
In the respiratory organs, hoarseness, rawness, and roughness are characteristic. It may be useful when the larynx has been strained by over-exertion. There is an aggravating cough usually short and dry and worse at night. Shooting pains and difficult respiration.
Heart symptoms included palpitation, shooting pains. Kent has in italic : “Numbness and lameness of the left arm with heart disease”.
In the limbs there are all kinds of cramps, stiffness and stitching and shooting pains.
The skin eruptions are usually vesicular and they burn and itch. Rhus may be needed in cases of erysipelas, shingles, or many other skin troubles, including eczema.
To sum up, Rhus is a chilly medicine. The patient wants to be warm. He is worse when he begins to move and better when he has warmed up his stiff muscles and joints with exercise. Restlessness is the natural result of this condition. A stiff rheumatic patient very sensitive to change of weather and damp stormy weather. A great skin remedy in a Rhus patient.