Dr. Dewey discusses the homeopathy treatment of Rheumatism in his bestselling book Practical Homeopathic Therapeutics….

Rhus toxicodendron. [Rhus-t]

      From the earliest homoeopathic times **Rhus has been the great rheumatic remedy of the school, comparing only with **Bryonia; and the difference between these remedies must be repeated once more.

**Rhus **Bryonia

Restlessness and desire to Disposition to keep perfectly move about continually, on still, since moving causes an account of the relief it to aggravation of of all aches the aches and pains. and yet sometimes pains force patient to move.

**Rhus **Bryonia

Suitable especially to Suitable to rheumatism of the rheumatism affecting fibrous joints and of muscular tissues tissues, sheaths of muscles itself. This is not especially etc., Rheumatism from the case with Bryonia, though exposure to wet when a Bryonia rheumatism from overheated and perspiring. these causes.

All **Rhus rheumatic symptoms are relieved by motion. They are worse from sitting and worse from rising from a sitting position, or on first commencing to move; continued motion, however, relieves. Warmth also relieves the **Rhus rheumatism. Damp weather and the approach of storms aggravate. Cold also aggravates. **Rhododendron is similar, in that change of weather aggravates. The character of the **Rhus pains is first a stiffness and soreness. there are also tearing pains, drawing, paralyzed sensations and even stitches. The sudden pain in the back known as “crick” is met well with **Rhus. **Rhus has an especial affinity for the deep muscles of the back. It is perhaps the most often indicated of any remedy in lumbago. It is also, it may be mentioned in passing, a remedy for the effects of overexertion such as sprains, wrenches, etc., being to fibrous tissues what **Arnica is to the softer structures. The rheumatism keeling for **Rhus may appear in any part;of the body; the lower extremities seem to have suffered most in the provers. The great keynotes of **Rhus are the following:

1. Relief from continued motion; the lumbago, however, being sometimes worse from motion.

2. The stiffness and soreness.

3. The aggravation when first beginning to move.

4. The aggravation from damp weather and cold. cold air is not tolerated; it seems to make the skin painful.

5. The relief of all the symptoms by warmth.

**Rhus will not cure every case of rheumatism, but it will cure a good many.

Bryonia. [Bry]

      The rheumatism of **Bryonia attacks the joints themselves, producing articular rheumatism, and it also inflames the muscle tissue, causing muscular rheumatism. The muscles are sores and swollen, and the joints are violently inflamed, red, swollen, shiny, and very hot. The pains are sharp, stitching or cutting in character, and the great feature of the drug should always be present, namely the aggravation from the slightest motion. Touch and pressure also aggravate.

There is but little tendency for the rheumatism of **Bryonia to shift about like that of **Pulsatilla or **Kalmia. It is not liable to be mistaken for any other remedy. **Ledum has some points of similarity. It would come in in articular rheumatism, where there is a scanty effusion, while **Bryonia tends to copious exudation. **Bryonia seems to suit well the acid condition of the blood, which gives rise to rheumatism; it has a sour sweat; also, **Kali carbonicum has stitching pains, but absence of fever will distinguish it from Bryonia.

**Bryonia, Ledum, Nux and Colchicum are the four chief remedies having aggravation from motion. General constitutional symptoms will most likely be present in cases calling for **Bryonia.

Excessive tenderness of the soles of the feet in rheumatism may suggest antimonium crudum.

Causticum. [Caust]

      This remedy resembles Rhus quite closely in many respects. The following are some of the differences:

**Causticum. **Rhus

The restlessness of this Restlessness all the time. remedy occurs only at night. Rheumatism from damp wet Rheumatism caused by dry, cold weather. Motion relieves the frosty air. Pains impel patient temporarily. constant motion, which does not relieve.

The symptoms calling for **Causticum are a stiffness of the joints. The tendons seem shortened and the limbs are drawn out of shape. It is a sort;of rheumatoid arthritis. As with Rhus, there is relief from warmth. There are drawing muscular pains and soreness of the parts o;f which the patient lies. It has been found useful in rheumatism about the articulations of the jaw. **Rhus has a cracking of the lower jaw when chewing.

**Colocynth has a stiffness about the joints and is also a useful remedy in articular rheumatism. Causticum, like Guaiacum and Ledum, has gouty concretions in the joints. There is much weakness and trembling with **Causticum, as with all the preparations of potash, and it is;of little use in arthritic troubles if fever be present. Weakness of the ankle-joint, contracted tendons, and a sprained feeling in the hip-joints are some of its important symptoms.

Ledum. [Led]

      Ledum is one of our best remedies for rheumatism and gout, especially the latter. The great symptom which has always been regarded as the distinctive characteristic is the direction the pains takes, namely, going from below upwards. Like **Caulophyllum and some others, **Ledum seems to have a predilection for the smaller joints. Nodes form in them and the pains travel up the limbs. The pains are made worse from the warmth of the bed. the effusion into the joints is scanty and it soon hardens and forms the nodosities above mentioned. **Ledum, like Colchicum, causes acute, tearing pains in the joints; weakness of the limbs and numbness and coldness of the surface.

**Kalmia also has pains which travel upwards, but the character of the pains will distinguish. It may also be mentioned that **Ledum is an excellent remedy in erythema nodosum, which is of rheumatic origin. **Ledum produces and cures in certain cases an obstinate swelling of the feet. Wine aggravates all the symptoms of this drug. The characteristics of **Ledum may be thus summed up:

1. Upward extension of the pains

2. Tendency to the formation of nodes in the small joints.

3. Aggravation;by the warmth;of the bed.

4. Aggravation by motion.

It is useful, too, after the abuse of **Colchicum in large doses.

Pulsatilla. [Puls]

      **Pulsatilla is usually brought prominently to mind when there is a tendency for the rheumatism to shift about, wandering rheumatic pains being one of its red strings. But other remedies have this symptom also, prominent among them being **Kalmia, Bryonia, Colchicum, Sulphur, Kali bichromicum and that member of the tissue family most resembling **Pulsatilla, namely, **Kali sulphuricum. There is little trouble in distinguishing **Pulsatilla from any or all of these remedies by its general symptoms. Kali sulphuricum, however, will give the most trouble, but it is not a well-proven remedy and need only be thought of to try when **Pulsatilla seems the remedy yet fails. Other characteristics of the **Pulsatilla rheumatism are the aggravation from warmth, aggravation in the evening, and the relief from cold. The knee, ankle and tarsal joints are the most usual seat of the trouble when **Pulsatilla is indicated. There is, too a restlessness with the remedy, the pains are so severe that the patient is compelled to moves, and slow, easy motion relieves, as also with **Lycopodium and Ferrum. A prominent use for **Pulsatilla is in gonorrhoeal rheumatism. The joints are swollen and the pains are sharp and stinging, with a feeling of subcutaneous ulceration. **Kali bichromicum is also a remedy for gonorrhoeal rheumatism, as well as for wandering rheumatic pains; it has relief in a warm room, which at once distinguishes it from **Pulsatilla. **Thuja is another remedy for gonorrhoeal rheumatism. Rheumatism dependent on disturbance of the liver or stomach is apt to find its remedy in **Pulsatilla.

Kalmia. [Kalm]

      **Kalmia is another of the remedies which have wandering rheumatic pains, and it is especially useful in rheumatism affecting the chest, or when rheumatism or gout shifts from the joints to the heart, driven there perhaps by external applications. It also has tearing pains in the legs, without swelling, without fever, but with great weakness, and in this symptom of weakness it resembles **colchicum. The pains about the chest in **Kalmia cases shoot down into the stomach and abdomen. The muscles of the neck are sore and the back is lames. Hering says that the rheumatism of **Kalmia “generally goes from the upper to the lower parts,” while Farrington says, “the **Kalmia rheumatism, like that of **Ledum, almost always travels upwards.” At any rate, the rheumatic pains are mostly in the upper parts of the arms and lower parts of the legs; and are worse when going to sleep. Inflammatory rheumatism, shifting from joint to joint, with tendency to attack the heart, high fever, excruciating pains, which, of course, are made worse by motion, will be benefited by **Kalmia. In valvular deposits **Kalmia and Lithium carbonicum are our foremost drugs.

The Rhododendron family, furnishes us another useful rheumatic remedy, besides **Ledum and Kalmia, which is **Rhododendron itself. Its great keynote is its susceptibility to changes in the weather, “barometer pains,”and its pains, like **Rhus, are worse during rest. It is especially adapted to rheumatism of the smaller joints, as we have already seem Ledum to be. Although **Kalmia has some action on the smaller joints, it is in a less degree than **Ledum or **Rhododendron.

**Dulcamara is a prominent remedy for rheumatism, made worse by sudden changes in the weather, especially when cold and damp.

Cimicifuga. [Cimic]

      Another example of family relationship in rheumatic troubles may be found in the ranunculaceae family.

**Aconite is often a useful remedy in the first stage of rheumatic fever; it is homoeopathic, not only to the fever, but to the local affections caused by the rheumatic poison. It is in many cases a specific antidote to the whole condition. Dr.Jousset insists upon the efficacy of **Aconite tincture in acute rheumatic fever. **Pulsatilla we have already seen. **Ranunculus bulbosus is especially useful in rheumatism of the muscles of the chest and trunk. There is a great deal of soreness, the muscles have a bruised feeling, and changeable, damp weather aggravates.

**Cimicifuga is a rheumatic remedy; its chief symptom is great aching in the muscles, and this right in the fleshy part of the muscles, the belly of the muscles rather than the extremities. It is also prone to occur in the large muscles of the trunk rather than the small muscles of the extremities, here resembling **Nux vomica. It differs from **Rhus by not acting on fibrous structures, being rather a remedy for muscular rheumatism. Rheumatism in the muscles, coming on suddenly and of great severity, worse at night and in wet and windy weather, will find its remedy in **Cimicifuga.

**Actaea spicata, another of the same family, on the contrary, acts on the small joints of the hands and feet; the joints ache and swell while the patient is walking.

Under **Cimicifuga there is great restlessness, but motion aggravates.

**Caulophyllum, so similar in many other ways, differs from **Cimicifuga in having rheumatism of the metacarpal and phalangeal articulations of the hand.

Colchicum. [Colch]

      Although usually thought of in gout, **Colchicum is no mean remedy in rheumatism. It has a special affinity for fibrous tissues, tendons, aponeuroses, ligaments, and periosteum. It has also shifting rheumatism like **Kalmia, Pulsatilla, etc., The pains are worse in the evening; the slightest motion aggravates; the patient is irritable; the pain seems unbearable. Sometimes it is useful when the rheumatism attacks the chest, with pains about the heart and a sensation as if the heart were squeezed by a tight bandage. There is great evening aggravation; the joints are swollen and dark red. **Colchicum is especially useful for rheumatic affections in debilitated persons those who are weak-weakness being the characteristic. It is a remedy too, for the smaller joints. As we have already seen, there are a number of remedies affecting the smaller joints of the hands and feet, such as **Actaea spicata, Caulophyllum, Ledum and Rhododendron. And there are a few more: **Benzoic acid has rheumatism of the small joints, gouty nodosities, weeping sinews, cracking in joints, gouty nodosities with great characteristic accompaniment of extremely offensive urine.

**Ammonium phosphoricum has nodes and concretions in the joints.

**Lithium carbonicum also has rheumatism of the finger joints, with tendency to heart complications and it must be compared with **Kalmia, Ledum and Benzoic acid in this respect; it has rheumatic soreness about the heart; recurring attacks also indicate it.

**Viola odorata and Ruta have rheumatism of the wrists. It is finally well to remember that **Colchicum is rarely indicated early in rheumatism but later when the patient is weak and exhausted, it may do good work.

Sanguinaria. [Sang]

      **Sanguinaria inflames muscular tissue, giving a picture of acute muscular rheumatism. The muscles are sore and stiff, with flying erratic pains in them or stitching. The muscles of the back and neck are especially affected by it. The chief field of usefulness of the remedy seems to be in rheumatism affecting the right deltoid muscle. It is described as a rheumatic pain in the right arm and shoulder, worse at night or on turning in bed. It is so severe that the patient cannot raise the arm.

**Magnesia carbonica is similar in having rheumatism in the right shoulder, rheumatic pains better from warmth and worse in bed.

**Ferrum has a paralytic tearing pain in the shoulder and muscles of the upper arm so that raising the arm is impossible; but it gradually disappears on gentle motion. Although Farrington says it is especially adapted to the left deltoid muscle, most of the symptoms point to the right shoulder.

**Nux moschata, however, affects the left deltoid muscle.

**Ferrum phosphoricum is a very useful remedy in rheumatism of the shoulders, especially the right shoulder.

**Urtica urens has cured obstinate case of deltoid rheumatism in 10-drop doses of the tincture. It is thought this drug has the power to dissolve deposits of urates in the muscles.

Phytolacca. [Phyt]

      The sphere of **Phytolacca seems to be where there is a syphilitic taint. It is particularly useful in pains below the elbows and knees. There is stiffness and lameness of the muscles; the pains seem to fly about, are worse at night and are especially aggravated by damp weather. Rheumatic affections of the sheaths;of the nerves; periosteal rheumatism or rheumatism of the fibrous tissues often is benefited by **Phytolacca. Rheumatism of the shoulder and arms, especially in syphilitic cases, may call for this remedy. It cured a case of right deltoid rheumatism of twenty-seven years standing.

**Kali hydroiodicum has rheumatism of the joints, especially the knees. The knee is swollen, has a doughy feel, and the pain is worse at night; usually the trouble is of syphilitic or mercurial origin.

**Mercurius has some rheumatic pains, worse at night, but sweating, as the patient always will when the drug is indicated, aggravates them.

**Silicea is a remedy to be thought of in treating hereditary rheumatism. The pains are worse at night; worse from uncovering, better from warmth.

Guaiacum. [Guaic]

      **Guaiacum is a remedy with many rheumatic symptoms. It is in the chronic forms of articular rheumatism where the joints are distorted with concretions that it will do the most good, given earlier it will prevent the formation of these concretions, It is good remedy with which to follow **Causticum. A characterizing symptoms will be contraction tendons, which draw the limb out of shape, worse on any motion. We have already seen a number of remedies having these deposits in the joints, but none having these contractions. Stiffness and soreness of the joints and soreness;of the muscles are also present. Syphilitic or mercurial rheumatism may be also met at times with **Guaiacum. Gonorrhoeal rheumatism, where many joints are affected, they are rigid, hot, swollen and painful, and the contraction will be present; the muscles seem too short.

Calcarea carbonica. [Calc]

      Rheumatic affections caused by working in water will call for **Calcarea. **Rhus may fail, and then oftentimes **Calcarea will complete the cure. Gouty nodosities about the fingers are also present.

**Calcarea fluorica has proved of service in lumbago. It has much the same symptoms as Rhus; the patient is worse on beginning to move, but continued motion improves.

**Arnica has rheumatism, resulting from exposure to dampness, cold and excessive muscular strain combined. The parts are also sore and bruised. Rheumatism of the intercostal muscles is also met with **Arnica. Rheumatic stiffness caused by getting the head and neck wet will be best met with **Belladonna. An other of the **Calcareas, Calcarea phosphorica, is useful for rheumatism appearing on any change in the weather; pains especially in the sacral regions and extending down the legs. These symptoms suggest also **Dulcamara.

W.A. Dewey
Dewey, Willis A. (Willis Alonzo), 1858-1938.
Professor of Materia Medica in the University of Michigan Homeopathic Medical College. Member of American Institute of Homeopathy. In addition to his editoral work he authored or collaborated on: Boericke and Dewey's Twelve Tissue Remedies, Essentials of Homeopathic Materia Medica, Essentials of Homeopathic Therapeutics and Practical Homeopathic Therapeutics.