Many of you have asked for more extensive guidance on remedy selection for flu-like symptoms. In this article, I will describe the symptoms you’ll want to see to reach for the homeopathic remedy Rhus toxicodendron.
Remember - the key to choosing the correct/helpful remedy is ALWAYS the same. One must match the “characteristic symptoms” (ie, unusual or peculiar) of the person you are caring for (not the common ones like headache, sore throat, cough, fever, etc.) to a remedy capable of producing similar characteristic symptoms to have success. If you choose a remedy with characteristics most similar to the characteristic symptoms of your family member, you should have a happy outcome every time. If you don't - you or they will either feel no effect, or one that is mildly positive at best, but there is never a bad effect from choosing the “wrong” remedy.
Key Mental Characteristics: The most apparent mental symptom of a person needing Rhus tox is a general restlessness, felt particularly at night.
Key Physical Characteristics: This homeopathic remedy is one to consider when you find a family member with flu-like symptoms that include much muscle stiffness and pain. To quote one of homeopathy’s greatest doctors – Henry Guernsey MD: “we are led to think of this remedy where we find an irresistible desire to move, or change the position every little while, followed by great relief for a short time, when they must again move, and again experience the same relief for a short time; this condition is usually worse at night. After resting for a time, or on getting up from sleep, when first moving about, a painful stiffness is felt which wears off from continued motion; the patient is made worse generally when beginning to move, but relief is experienced from continued motion.”
With flu-like symptoms, Rhus tox patients are often chilly. There is typically great restlessness with the chill and the chill can be made worse by drinking, especially cold drinks. During the hot or fever stage there is frequently great thirst with dryness of the throat.
If a headache is part of the picture, the pain is often felt in the back of the head, and again is better from moving or walking.
If a cough is in the mix of symptoms – it’s often a dry teasing cough that is worse before and during chills. The cough can be worse in the evening till around midnight and again on waking in the morning (till the person rises) and it often makes sleep difficult. Lying down may aggravate the cough.
In summary, a person who will benefit from Rhus tox feels worse in general from cold and cold, damp air in particular and from getting wet. They are also worse from rest. They feel better from continued motion, warmth, and dry air or weather.
If you or someone you know is experiencing flu-like symptoms and their symptoms match those of this remedy, dose with either a 30C or 200C potency to start - placing one pellet under the tongue or one pellet in water, stirring vigorously and taking teaspoon doses as needed. Always cease dosing when relief begins and only re-dose if symptoms again worsen. As with any medical condition, consult with your physician if you have any concerns about the severity of your problem as it may first require medical diagnosis and/or intervention and monitoring.
If you think you have the influenza virus, please seek the advice of a medical professional.
About Dr. Lisa Samet
Dr. Lisa Samet N.D. provides Washington Homeopathic Products with a weekly column on using homeopathy for the family. She's a naturopathic physician who specializes in homeopathic medicine and she's a partner with Dr. Andre Saine N.D. Dr. Samet graduated from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in 1998 and has been practicing in Montreal since then. She was born and raised in New York.
Dr. Samet has chosen to focus on homeopathy because in her experience it is the deepest healing modality available in that it does not just soothe or palliate symptoms but can actually stimulate the body to start to heal itself. Dr. Samet sees patients in her Montreal office as well as long distance using Skype. Learn more here: Dr. Lisa Samet