Rhododendron chrysanthum; siberian alpenrose, dwarf rosebag. N.O. Ericaceae.
RHODODENDRON, though not used in “orthodox” medicine, has a large amount of successful clinical service to its credit.
Its influence, pathogenic and therapeutic, may be briefly stated as being over fibrous tissue, and in particular that forming ligamentous, periosteal and ensheathing structures, and also the tunica albuginea testis. The anatomical sites chiefly affected are: (a) the limbs, especially the legs (below the knee), and the forearms; (b) the muscles of the cervical and lumbar regions; (c) the articular and peri-articular fibrous tissues; (d) the sclerotic; (e) the scalp and pericranium; and (f) the testes. The right side is much more affected than the left. To a much less extent the intestinal and vesical mucous membranes seem to be affected.
The pains are mostly classed together as “rheumatic,” and are described as drawing, tearing, aching or jerking, and are associated in all cases with stiffness. The stiffness is realized on attempting to move from any posture to which the muscles have become accustomed, or on first bringing them into action.
The predominating modality, however, is relief from movement so that while first movement is decidedly painful, continued gentle movement, short of definite fatigue, bring relief. Of scarcely less importance in drug selection is another modality, that of aggravation in wet and cold weather. In both these respects rhododendron resembles rhus (q.v.), but it goes further than rhus, in that the sensitiveness of rhododendron cases to meteorological changes is greater than with rhus cases. In choosing between the two drugs, the symptoms, “worse before a storm,” or “able to foretell rain or storms by means of the pains,” would decide in favour of rhododendron. These modalities refer to any and every site or variety of pain requiring this remedy.
Mind.-The mental symptoms of rhododendron are not so striking as the other modalities. If any are found in a case suggesting this drug, the following mental conditions would confirm the other indications: (a) In difference, depression, anxiety; (b) impaired memory, in the sense of sudden loss of ideas when talking-for getting what it was desired to say, omitting words in writing; (c) extreme nervousness before and during thunderstorms; also aversion from and annoyance at storms of wind.
Fever.-Shivering and heat alternate; chilliness is great in cold wind; the feet are cold after lying down, and the hands though cold to the touch seem to the patient to burn. Perspiration, with itching and tingling; axillary perspiration may be offensive; general sweat may be aromatic.
Head.-Here the pain may be chiefly in the forehead and temples, as if in the bones or periosteum. The scalp is tender to touch. Besides the movements and weather modalities the headache are made worse by drinking alcohol. Vertigo and tinnitus aurium have led to its use in Meniere`s disease.
Eyes and Ears, &c.-Tearing and boring pains occur, with burning and dryness in the former, and pain on swallowing in the latter case. Facial neuralgia and toothache, with pain extending to the ears, are made worse by cold, damp weather and touch, and are relieved by warmth and eating. From the toothache the face may become swollen. If the modalities were presents this would not contra-indicate rhododendron. Sounds re-echo long in the ears.
Limbs and Back.-Similar remarks as to modalities refer to the rheumatic or gouty pains in these areas. Nodules called gouty may form around the joints, especially the great toe, and in tendons, forearm, fingers, legs, neck and lumbar region. In the last case aggravation on stooping, especially on rising from stooping is conspicuous. Choreic movements may be produced.
Sex organs.-It is chiefly in the tastes that pain is felt. It extends from one or other gland, but especially from the right, along the spermatic cord, up the abdomen, and down to the perinaeum and the thighs. The testicle itself is painful, tender, as if squeezed and feels swollen. Orchitis and hydrocele, with the indications already mentioned, would require rhododendron. Ovarian pain, especially right-sided, may occur.
Bowels.-Diarrhoea induced by cold, damp weather and from eating fruit may be checked by this remedy. If not actually watery, the stool may be soft, with undigested particles, and difficult completely to evacuate. Rheumatic pains in all the limbs may accompany the diarrhoea.
Micturition.-Pyknuria and dysuria are noticeable, and the urine is apt to be pale and profuse and strongly-smelling, or dark, or greenish, but always offensive.
A study of the detailed provings and schemata may suggest other uses in ill-defined disorders due to faulty metabolism, &c., but the conditions described are those in which rhododendron, with due regard to it modalities, has been used, and may be given with great confidence.
(1) Rheumatic pains in the limbs and inflammatory swelling of the joints when modalities mentioned below are present. Rheumatic neuralgia.
(2) Gouty deposits in great toe.
(3) Orchitis, especially if from gonorrhoea.
Aggravation from cold and wet, and especially aggravation (to “rheumatic” pains) before a storm, storms of wind, thunderstorms (headache), eating (face-ache), rest (pain).
Marked relief from continued gentle movement (worse on first moving), and corresponding restlessness and aggravation from rest, relief from warm dry weather, sunshine.