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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Gardener's Homeopathic Remedy: Rhus Tox.

It's spring in my part of the world this weekend and that, for a lot of people seems to mean some type of gardening activity. I think this might be an adult version of "spring fever". If you suddenly feel the urge to be outside doing something, just about anything, you've caught the fever. People are out raking leaves, building gardens, cleaning out flower beds, and planting everywhere you look. I think this connection to nature and reacquainting with the sun is good for the soul. However, come Monday it might be bad for the back, the knees, the shoulders, the wrists, the hips...

That's when the homeopathic remedy Rhus toxicodendron (Rhus Tox) is helpful. I guess this sudden urge to go crazy gardening has some pretty deep roots for us. In the 1800's when Dr. Hahnemann was discovering (called proving in homeopathic speak)many of the remedies we use today, he described Rhus Tox as being the "gardener's remedy". Seems he too was coming across people that got a little exuberant in their gardening efforts and found the repetitive use of muscles that might not have been used that way for awhile, gave them lots of aches and pains the next day.

Rhus tox is a homeopathic preparation derived from the poison ivy plant. Like all homeopathic preparations, it is diluted and prepared in a method that renders it no longer poisonous, but medicinal. In the case of Rhus tox, the leaves of the poison ivy plant are collected before the plant flowers, during the night, and in damp weather. The leaves are pounded, then left to stand in alcohol before being strained and successed (shaken) for various potencies in tablet, pellet, or tincture forms.

Rhus tox is helpful to soothe joint pain such as the sprains and strains caused by over-exertion. The pain that Rhus tox soothes, is often described as aching, sore or bruised feeling in nature. It is usually accompanied with the sensation of stiffness. The pain is usually worse when you get up from sitting or lieing, or when you first try to move. It usually gets a bit better once you move around or walk a bit but then returns once again. If you are the kind of person that during a long meeting, gets up to move around, supporting your back a bit, lean against the wall, then maybe lean a bit over the back of a chair, and go back to move around a bit, Rhus Tox might be for you. If you are stiff and sore almost creaking when you change positions, you most likely would benefit from Rhus tox. I see these people in airports all the time. They are stiff and sore from sitting in the lounge or on the plane and spend the in "in between flight time", slowly pacing, leaning against the wall, or shifting around in a standing position.

Homeopathic remedies are matched to a personality type as well as to the type of pain or condition you experience. The personality type of Rhus tox is marked by restlessness. The Rhus Tox "type" can't get comfortable and is constantly on the move. It's not necessarily a fast paced move, usually quite the contrary, but it is a nervous restlessness. When Rhus tox types are really ill, they will toss and turn in bed, and need to get up even when they have a fever. The nervous anxiety is often worse at night, especially after midnight and may cause the person to get out of bed. They may be more irritable and depressed at night as well. Rhus tox people sometimes suffer from depression, which might not be deep, but is constant. Rhus tox types may suddenly and involuntarily burst into tears without knowing why.

As well as coming on due to over-exertion, the type of pain that can benefit from Rhus tox, often appears during damp weather, after being in a draught or getting chilled. The pain is often better after lying on a hard surface, and improves with walking and heat applications. It is the first remedy to turn to for rheumatic and arthritic conditions.

You can find Rhus Toxicodendron is most health food stores or any pharmacy or grocery store that carries homeopathic preparations. It's a common remedy and typically is available in the 30ch potency. It's a good remedy to have on hand and to stock in your first aid and flu kit. As well as being helpful for strains and sprains, it is the major remedy for mumps or swollen glands.

So enjoy the sun. Enjoy the connection to nature. Enjoy the gardening. But take a moment to think about how your body feels. Listen to your back when it suggests you might have taken a few too many wheelbarrows of leaves to the dumping spot. Don't ignore your knees when they complain you have been leaning on them too long. Take a moment to just enjoy the world around you. But if you forget to listen- try Rhus Tox and enjoy the sweet relief.

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