Clinical Cases

The Wooden Boy – A Case of Autism

Homeopath Tricia Feijo presents an autism case in which Rhus tox finally prevailed.

wooden boyKent says of Rhus tox, “This remedy is very freaky”, going on to describe hunger with no appetite; “unquenchable thirst for cold drinks. . .yet the cold drinks bring on chilliness, bring on the cough. . . His desires are also strange, hungry sensation without desire for food, aversion to meat.”

‘Freaky’ physicals, yet the mind symptoms – Kent’s “key to the man” – may be stranger still.

Where Anacardium has no peace, its inimical and antidote, Rhus tox, “is never perfectly at ease and never finds rest.” The physical uneasiness which drives Rhus tox to move is experienced in the mind also. The mind as well as the body is better from motion and better from walking, yet continued motion (mental exertion) exhausts the Rhus tox patient.

Kent says most of the mental symptoms of Rhus tox are such as prevail during low forms of fever, especially in typhoid. “There is incoherent talking; answers questions hastily. There is anxiety, apprehensions and fear. Intense fear at night. The mental symptoms are worse at night. The fears and anxiety are worse at night.”

I suffered a personal case after a tennis ball was hit hard into the back of my head. I took Arnica, and thought I was fine until that night. Restlessness and anxiety drove me out of bed, at which time I repertorized my symptoms beginning with the delusion I was dying. Rhus tox instantly eased the tension in my head, neck, and mind. Mine was a case of whiplash. That experience gave me insight into the torturous anxiety and uneasiness of the Rhus tox state of mind.

More recently, I saw the case of a ten year old boy with severe autism since five vaccines were given at ten months old. Besides the diagnosis of autism, the CC was OCD behavior, and violent, paroxysmal tensing. With hand clapping, sometimes shrieking, at times self-injurious behavior and sometimes pulling the hair, pinching, and grabbing another such as a teacher or mother, he was highly tense, never at ease. Even his laughter was of a more hysterical nature. His hyper movements, fast walking, and hasty speech showed anxiety and fear, and his restless mind also operated in overdrive. He would script incessantly from books and shows he viewed over and over and over again.

Otherwise, he was a happy child when not fearful and anxious, living mostly in his mind, seeming to be reading things and seeing things only he could see. He was not at all social. He was apathetic to others, no empathy, disconnected. Immature emotionally, he was very childish in ways, obsessed with Baby Einstein and other videos inappropriate for his age. He insisted on buying more and more, and watching them repeatedly, as well as playing Wii games like an addict.These he excelled at. Other ways the perseverance manifested was in constantly planning; everything must be planned and go according to plan, no flexibility. He craved order and neatness like Arsenicum.

Many remedies had been given to the boy from homeopaths before me, and by me. Lachesis, Tarentula, and Stramonium gave the best results, Arsenicum and Belladonna acutely. After Anacardium, the remedy last given for the inner turmoil and duality (ex: violent outburst of anger followed by repetitively blowing kisses to his mother), he withdrew into the world in his mind, as well as pacing, tensing, and screeching. He developed a new symptom, turning his head sharply from side to side. Rhus tox was given by the mother (a serious student of homeopathy) primarily for the over-the-top restlessness, and to antidote the Anacardium. From his response, we now believe that Rhus tox is the chronic remedy long-sought.

From the Mind, Delusions section of the Repertory, we can see the modus operandi of any specific remedy state; what makes the man tick. Here I’ve grouped together rubrics we find Rhus tox in, from that section (with limited comparisons to other remedies given or considered in the past):


  1. Engaged in occupation; Is doing business; Is working hard
  2. He is dying; One was about to die; Everything is dead and still and she is alone
  3. Being watched (Bar c, Calc carb); Seeing people looking at him (Bar c);She is criticized; Lost the affection of a friend; He had committed a crime; He is persecuted (Lach, Kali brom); He is poisoned; He has been poisoned, by medicine (Hyos, Lach); He is dirty; Will be murdered (Bell, Hyos, Stram,); He was pursued, by enemies (Hyos, Lach, Kali brom)
  4. Delusions of fancy illusions;Del on falling asleep; Seeing spectres, ghosts; Seeing figures, of vision; Sees images, phantoms, frightful; Has visions, vivid; Hearing voices (Kali brom, Anac); Sees clouds
  5. Of being double (Lach, Anac); during chill; He is made of wood (Thuj); He is made of glass, wood, etc. (Thuj); Could not rise again if he stooped; Enlarged; He is falling; As if she did not touch the bed when lying down; Sinking; He had not slept enough; Walking on air; Elevated in the air; Surroundings whirled with her (Op); Is intoxicated
  6. Delusions with loquacity (Bell, Stram, Verat a, Hyos, Lach)


As the Core Delusion of Thuja is he is made of glass,the Core Delusion of Rhus tox is he is made of wood.That sums up the central idea of Rhus tox: Stiffness,TENSION, experienced on all planes – physical, mental, and emotional. It is a state opposite the freedom and ease of health, a tight state of agonizing uneasiness. The unbalanced Rhus tox state of mind is comparable to the debilitating pain of Rhus tox sciatica, the intolerable itching of the Rhus tox eruption, and the torment of the teasing Rhus tox cough.

Among the many Sensations listed in the proving symptoms of Rhus tox, we see: as of as board strapped across forehead; as if muscles in back of head were screwed together; as if occipital tissues were screwed together; as if it were difficult to move lids; as if jaw would break; as if pharynx were inactive or paralyzed; as of a stone in stomach; as if a lump lay like a heavy oppressing weight in abdomen; as if head were swelling out; as if not able to draw a long breath; hand dry, as if withered; as if tendons of limb were too short; as if knees were too short; as if hamstrings were too short; legs as if made of wood.

Rhus tox is found in the rubrics: Thoughts, compelling; Thoughts, disagreeable; Thoughts, frightful; Thoughts persistent; Thoughts, haunted by unpleasant subjects; Thoughtful; Thoughts, tormenting; Vanishing of thoughts.

Some of the etiologic factors of Rhus tox illness are:


Mind: Anger; Anger, with anxiety, with anticipation; Business failure; Fright; Grief; Mental symptoms from injuries (Natrum sulph); Mental exertion; from Losing money; Mortification

Generals: Injuries; Concussion; Dislocation; Extravasations; Operations; Overexertion; Sprains; Traumatic fever; Fractures of bones; After vaccination

HEAD:after injuries

From Kent’s Lectures on Materia Medica, Rhus tox symptoms include Meningitis with high fever. Cerebro-spinal meningitis with anxiety and restlessness.

Vaccination can cause such inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.

A decade ago, this child – then healthy and normal in neurologic development –was given HIB, polio, DTaP in the same visit; five vaccines, eleven virus strains, and one toxoid. His reaction was swelling at the injection site and his whole leg; he was given Tylenol in the doctor’s office so no fever could manifest. He later developed a terrible skin rash on his face, lost eye contact, started tensing, started lining up toys, stopped swallowing his food, and began dazing out. He needed tactile prompts to swallow. According to Kent, Rhus tox has difficulty in swallowing solids from constriction of the throat. He started to get sick all the time with sinus inflammation, colds, cough, and his sleep disorder worsened. Jerked in his sleep, was fearful at night (apprehensive still, sleeps with parents),wakes too early. His adenoids were removed. He grew very allergic to many foods and environmental allergens, had ongoing skin issues (chronic rashes that would come and go), and had an acute episode of erysipelas of the face.

The mother had etiologic factors for Rhus tox when pregnant with him. A teacher, she was about to be promoted to principal when told by the doctor she had to quit her job or else she’d lose the baby. There was anger and anxiety about loss of money, fear, and grief.

At birth, cold water was poured on the mother’s genitals (for pain) as the infant emerged, dangerous if he was in a Rhus tox state then! He was born with a bruised head from the traumatic delivery. Otherwise a normal but sensitive baby, he reacted to every vaccine up to and including the fateful one at ten months, and was given suppressive medications like Benadryl until the age of five.

So far on Rhus tox the boy has improved, with good eye contact and attention, reduced pacing and tensing, and has not been violent. There are times he is actually calm, and has played with his mother, laughing genuinely.

If this is a story of a wooden boy, then the star wished upon to make him real (again) was God, who we prayed fervently to, and the good fairy appeared in the form of homeopathy.

Resources Used

Lectures on Homeopathic Materia Medica by James Tyler Kent; Synthesis Ed. 8.1 by Frederik Schroyens; The Guiding Symptoms Of Our MateriaMedica by C. Hering


Note: Nancy Korn is a student of homeopathy and the mother of this boy.



About the author

Tricia Feijo

Tricia Feijo attended the New England School of Homeopathy in 1992-1993 and later studied Hahnemann’s advanced methods for many years at The Renaissance Institute of Classical Homeopathy. She has been personally mentored by Dr Luc De Schepper and edited his Achieving and Maintaining the Simillimum and Examine Your Life Through the Carpet Weaver of the Night. She maintains a busy practice, working predominantly by phone, and is working on a book of cured cases. Tricia also founded and operated Daniel Chapter One for 30 years, developing a full line of nutritional supplements together with her husband, until the government shut it down for the health information they shared, specifically natural treatments for cancer. She wrote about the ongoing suppression of health information in her book Called To Stand.

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