While the form of rheumatism which is relieved by sitting down, keeping still and by pressure, calls for Bryonia, the form of rheumatism which requires you to walk up and down the room and is relieved only by movement, calls for Rhus tox. I wanted to make sure that I was right, so I asked him whether he felt worse in dry weather or in damp. He said he could not stand damp weather at all, so I sent him a box of Rhus tox. 3x.


MR. JONES, my neighbour, is a stiff old man, grumpy and some what cantankerous. He and I had been discussing the weather and local politics over the fence which divides our gardens; we discussed flowers and fruit and then the conversation was apt to drift into other channels such as rates and taxes, politics and health matters. He knew that I was an enthusiast for homoeopathy and had listened indulgently to my description of the blessings of the new art and science of healing.

However, he was convinced that it was a delusion to believe that the infinitely small doses employed in homoeopathy could do anything. His own doctor had looked after him for years and he was used to swallowing big doses of medicines from the bottles which were prescribed for him.

About a year ago he had a bad attack of rheumatism which had kept him in the house. I had not seen him in the garden for quite a time and his wife explained to me that he was down with rheumatism and in a terrible temper. One day he sent his daughter across to ask me to look in. I found him sitting in a comfortable chair near the fire, looking daggers. The poor fellow was rather heavily built, looked jaundiced, the whites of his eyes were yellow, and I expected an outburst of temper, but he was quite meek and told me “I have been down with rheumatism for three weeks; my doctor tried all he knows, but I am as bad as ever.

I would like to try your homoeopathy, but I may tell you at once that I have no faith in it whatever; still, I am in despair and would try anything, even homoeopathy and its ridiculous little pills.” I did not care to say no to my neighbour, and at the same time I knew how strongly he was prejudiced against homoeopathy.

He talked to me without any movement at all; he was sitting stiffly in his chair and did not move arms or legs, and on enquiring, he told me that the pain was very violent and he could scarcely move, and could only find relief by sitting or lying absolutely still. Pressure also relieved him.

I am an earnest student of homoeopathy and I immediately remembered that the symptoms he described to me coincided with Bryonia. People who suffer from rheumatism and do not want to move and are relieved by pressure need Bryonia.

However, I wanted to make certain and I asked him to put out his tongue, which was brown another Bryonia symptom. I asked whether he was irritable; he gruffly replied, “Worse than irritable, and I have every reason to be. I am liable to curse and swear at everything and I feel sorry for my poor wife.”.

I felt quite sure that Bryonia was the right remedy for him, so I ran across to my house, filled a box with Bryonia 3x pilules, told him to take two every hour or so and on improvement less frequently.

As an ardent student of “HEAL THYSELF” and of the writings of Mr. Ellis Barker, I did not want to confine myself to medicinal treatment, but thought that he should be treated dietetically as well. I told him, “I shall not give you these pilules which will make you feel much better, unless you promise faithfully to carry out whatever diet I may have to order for you. Now tell me in full detail what you eat and drink at your various meals.” He told me he ate much meat, that he took plenty of condiments, plenty of beer, strong tea, coffee and other things which were probably responsible for his outbreak of rheumatism.

So I told him: “You have over-heated your blood unreasonably and you are constipated to some extent. I want you to leave off all flesh, fish, fowl and everything made of them; strong tea, coffee, condiments, and alcohol, and you are not to eat white bread, white sugar, etc.” I prescribed for him the diet recommended by Sir Arbuthnot Lane and Mr. Ellis Barker and other experts.

I told him he would have to eat plenty of bran. He gruffly replied: “What, eat the stuff which I give to my chickens!” I replied: “Yes, indeed I want you to do that.” After some discussion he agreed that he would abandon his diet and take my pills and take the maximum amount of liquid and leave off his strong laxatives.

After twenty-four hours I found, when I looked in again, that Mr. Jones was in much better humour. He told me, “I dont think the pills have done anything. I believe it is the diet; anyway I feel distinctly better.” I told him he would be still better in a day or two. In three days he was perfectly well and he said he thought the attack would naturally have come to an end in any case, but that very likely the diet was the chief factor in his cure. I denied this assertion.

Edwin Bartlett