Viewed Through Proving: Rhus Tox – Overview
I was delayed in writing this blog post by my own Rhus-Tox experience – a bout of flu where Rhus Tox cured. So my personal thanks to Hahnemann…
On separating the proving symptoms into approximate sections, one thing is clear: Rhus Tox is a remedy that relates strongly to many systems in the organism. Symptoms relating to the Lower Extremities lead the field with 102 symptoms out of the total 975 in this proving. There aren’t many symptoms emphasized in bold in this remedy, but most of them are to be found in symptoms relating to upper and lower extremities. However, other symptoms are fairly evenly divided between all other areas, including mental and emotional.
With Rhus Tox, as with cases where there are many symptoms relating to different systems in the patient, the modalities become perhaps the most important element in determining the remedy.
Commonly held assumptions regarding Rhus Tox modalities (see my previous post) include an amelioration from movement and from warmth or warm applications. Viewed through proving, things look a little different. From the proving symptoms, the aggravation from being out in the cold is more pronounced than the amelioration from warmth. This is emphasized in many symptoms including 884 – one of the few bold symptoms in this remedy, and in symptom 922:
884. He is very sensitive to the cold open air, and the skin is as it were painful, though there is no dislike to cold air.
922. When walking in the open cold air he becomes warm and breaks out into a cold sweat all over.
From the proving symptoms, clear aggravation is shown from walking (45 clear symptoms as opposed to 8 clear ameliorations) and from movement in general (19 clear symptoms as opposed to 1 clear amelioration). Sometimes these symptoms relate to the motion itself, and sometimes they relate to movement or walking in the cold open air and to overheating. This does not rule out Rhus Tox in cases where the patient is ameliorated by movement, but makes it clear that more information should be obtained before prescribing the remedy with any certainty.
Echoing Hahnemann’s statement in the preface (see previous post again!), lying and rest are clearly seen to aggravate more than they ameliorate. Out of 24 mentions, 15 clear symptoms show lying aggravates, versus 5 clear symptoms showing amelioration. Being in bed? 26 aggravations versus 3 ameliorations. Resting? 9 clear aggravations, versus 1 clear amelioration.
One of the most solid modalities from the proving, however, is night aggravates, with a total of 59 mentions including at least 50 clear aggravation symptoms. This aggravation is visible throughout the symptoms, especially where pain, fever, coughing, perspiration and anxiety are involved. One can look at night aggravation from the “rest aggravates” point of view – night time is when people go to bed, lie down, stop moving. It can also be seen from the straightforward time-of-day point of view – some patients always feel worse at those times. Sometimes just the dark can bring on melancholic and anxious thoughts. Sometimes feeling worse at night can relate to increased loneliness, insufficient distractions. But a night aggravation is very solidly part of the Rhus-Tox prescribing picture.