Last modified on February 6th, 2019

Rhus Venenata homeopathy medicine – drug proving symptoms from Encyclopedia of Pure Materia Medica by TF Allen, published in 1874. It has contributions from R Hughes, C Hering, C Dunham, and A Lippe.

      Common names: Poison elder, Swamp sumac, etc.


Rhus venenata, D. C. (Rhus vernix, Linn, in part). Natural order: Anacardiacae. Preparation: Tincture of the leaves and stems.


Great sadness, no desire to live, everything seems gloomy. Low- spirited, and disinclined to employ his time in any manner (seventh day). Low-spirited (fifth day). I experienced no feelings of despondency at first; my head felt clear, though I had for several days previous to my poisoning, a sense of dulness and weight in it (fifth day). Peevish and fretful in the extreme. Apprehensive, restless, and had a variable state of feeling, sometimes cheerful, then hypochondriacal. No disposition to move about or employ my mind in study. Inability at times to connect one’s ideas; forgetfulness; dull and stupid feeling.

Absence of mind; cannot concentrate my mind on any particular subject.


Whirling vertigo (second day). Dizzy sensation at times, much worse at evening (fourth day). My neighbors, and even members of my own family have been poisoned by it; in some instances the sufferers were ” a sight to behold.” their heads were swollen to an enormous extent; some were blind for many days.

Blondes appear to be more susceptible to its influence, as a general thing, than others. I have certainly seen the worst cases of poisoning amongst persons of that complexion. A singularity about the cases is, that after being once affected by this plant, the effects of the poison will show themselves at about the same time each succeeding year. Again, individuals who have been poisoned by Rhus toxicodendron, are more liable than others to be poisoned by this species; or as some have suggested, the R. venenata is “set to work” by the Rhus toxicodendron. Dull feeling in the head (sixth day); very troublesome (seventh day). Dull headache; sharp darting pains in the parietal bones of both sides. Dull feeling in the head (fourth day). Dull headache (fourth day). “Intolerable heaviness of the head” after the first week of the proving.

Intolerable heaviness of the head. Heaviness of head very troublesome (seventh day). Heaviness of the head (fourteenth day). Heaviness of the head and vertigo (seventh day). Fullness of the head. Headache of a stupefying nature (third day).

Headache all day, yet does not feel low-spirited (third day). Slight headache (fifth day). Considerable headache (sixth day). Sensation as if the brain were pressing up against the inside of the cranium. Sensation as if the head were bound.

Pressure in the head and heaviness as if engorged with blood (eleventh day). Jerk like drawing in the upper part of the left side of the head (eleventh day). Jerk like drawing, here and there, in the nerves of the head (eleventh day). Drawing in the nerves of the head (fifteenth day). Pulsation in the vessels of the head and feet (twenty-first day). Forehead. The forehead is so excessively swollen that it actually hangs down.

Heaviness in the swollen forehead, and going upstairs. Dull, heavy, frontal headache, aggravated by walking and stooping.

Slight frontal headache (seventh day). Headache in forepart of head, so severe that I took Belladonna with some relief (sixth day); very troublesome (seventh day). Dull frontal headache. Temples.

Tearing in the right temple extending from the forehead upwards into the left half of the head, always seated in the bone; extending thence into the left side of the occiput and down to the nape of the neck (eighth day). Drawing in the left temple and in the occiput (tenth day). Drawing pains in the left temple (third day). Throbbing and tearing pains, extending from each temple back to the occiput, and down the neck to each shoulder, with the flashes of heat. Headache extending towards the left temple (second day). Occiput. Jerk like headache in the occiput (fifth day). External Head. The patient recovered at the end of several weeks with the loss of his hair and nails. Skin on forehead appears rough (fourteenth day); not so red nor so rough (fifteenth day). Herpetic eruption on forehead, resembling herpes phlyctenoides (twelfth day). Pimples on forehead (tenth and eleventh days).


The cellular tissues around the eyes was very much swollen. Eyes half closed; eyes closed from the great swelling of the cellular tissue around them. The eyes was nearly closed, in the morning, by the swelling of the lids (fourth day) Eyes red. Dull-looking appearance of eyes (fifth day). Eyes dull and heavy (sixth day).

Eyes dull (fourth day). (It benefited a chronic inflammation of the eyes). Eyes very sensitive to light, on waking in the morning. Sensation as if the eyes were being pressed out of the head. Smarting and burning in the eyes (while at work on the Rhus). About 9 o’clock, smarting and burning of the eyes, as though washed in alcohol, attended with profuse lachrymation (fifth day). Burning pains and swelling in the eye (tenth day).

Burning in the eyes and slight lachrymation (fourth day). Violent burning sensation in the right eye, in the morning (ninth day).

Some irritation or acridity about the eyes and throat. Sharp pain in the right eye, extending to supraorbital region.

Prickling and biting in the eyes as though they would water and become inflamed (fourth day). Stitches deep in the right eye, followed by biting in the eyes, as if they would become inflamed and water (eighth day). Lachrymal Apparatus.

Lachrymation and a livid circle under the eyes (fifth day).

Constant discharge of tears. Ball. Constant dull aching pains in the eyeballs. Vision. Dimness before the eyes on reading. Slight dimness of sight (fifth day). While looking it becomes black before the eyes.


Transient stitches in the right concha (twelfth day). Jerk like tearing in the bone behind the right ear (fourth day). Jerk like cutting stitches in the ear (eleventh day). Considerable deafness, which is quite troublesome (fifth day); very troublesome (seventh day). Frequent ringing in the right ear (second day). Noise in the right ear (twelfth day). Noises and rustling in the right ear (eleventh day). Noises in the right ear (twelfth day). Constant ringing in the right ear (fifteenth day).


Nose quite red and shining; the redness is not removed by pressure (second evening). Profuse secretion from right nostril of a thin ichorous fluid (fourteenth day); secretion from right nostril slightly excoriating; no discharge from left nostril, which is stopped up (fifteenth day). After some days, both nostrils were completely filled with tenacious mucus.

(Catarrhal trouble less after the proving). Right nostril obstructed, at 2 P.M.; discharge of a little water from the left nostril, with sensation in the nose as if from a commencing cold, at 3 P. m. (fourth day). Dryness of the nose.

Great dryness of the nostrils at two different times, lasting each time about an hour. Nose feels sore, as if it was going to peel off (seventh day). Entire loss of smell (twelfth day).


A boy poisoned with the Rhus v.; his face became so much swollen that he could not open his eyes for several days, accompanied with a high fever. Face much swollen; shining, glistening appearance; desire to rub face continually; hot water relieves, and causes peeling of skin (third day). Considerable redness and tumefaction of the face (third day). Face very much swollen around the eyes; face swollen so that the eyes were closed for several days. Face enormously swollen, closing both eyes (from poisoning). Swelling of the face, with very red eyes, without headache. The left side of the face is more swollen than the right. Face swollen (fifth and sixth days); on rising (seventh day). Face less swollen (eighth day); looks better, swelling almost gone (ninth day). Face flushed; felt as if burnt.

Heaviness in the swollen face. Burning in the right upper jaw (seventh day). Transient tearing in the right upper and lower jaws (twelfth days). Sticking in the right upper jaw (ninth day).

Drawing in the right upper jaw (fifteenth day). Jerk like drawing in the right upper jaw (eleventh day). Drawing pains in the right upper and lower jaw (third day). Sensation similar to the pain in gangrene, on the lips. Sensation of sand upon the lips. Sticking in the right lower jaw (eighth day).


Teeth. Drawing in the right upper teeth (second day). Gum. The eruption appeared on the gums of the upper incisors (fifth day). Gums swollen (fourth day). On drinking anything warm, slight irritation of inner side of lips, gums, and tip of tongue (fourth day). Tongue. Tongue coated white in the middle and posterior portion, the edges red (sixth day). Tongue coated white. Tongue redder than usual (third day). Tongue red on tip (fourth day). Tongue red, and cracked in the middle (sixth day).

Tongue covered with little vesicles on tip (second day). Tongue cracked in center, and covered with little white vesicle (eighth day). Several vesicles appear on the under side of the tongue (sixth day). Sensation as if the tongue were being, pulled out by the root. Distress in the root of the tongue and fauces. Scalded feeling of the tongue. While at dinner my tongue felt as if scalded, and during the afternoon this feeling extended to the entire mouth and fauces, producing great dryness in the mouth the stinging pains, which increased rapidly until I retired at night (eighth day). Tongue feels scalded, and itches awfully; has to scratch it and rub it with a handkerchief (fifth day). Tongue and mouth feel as if burnt with acid (after six hours, third day). Itching of tongue and roof of mouth, at 8 P.M. (fourth day). Tongue and lips feel cracked, at 8 P.M. (fourth day). General Mouth. Fever-sore on mouth (eighth day). Breath hot and feverish by spells, and smelt as if stomach was disordered (fifth day). Breath hot and feverish, almost like steam (second day); breath hot but no unpleasant nor offensive (third day). Mouth moist (fourth day).

Mouth feels very rough, as though sand were under the mucous membrane, which is very red; the rough feeling in the mouth increases, with redness (fifth day). Saliva. Increase of saliva (eighth day). Slight accumulation of viscid mucus in the mouth.

Taste. Entire loss of taste (twelfth day). Salty, slimy taste.

Slimy taste in the mouth. Flat rough taste. Speech. Cannot speak distinctly; palate fallen, and feeling as if there was something in the mouth impeding the speech, uncharged by hawking or clearing the throat (fourth day).


Soreness of the left side of the throat, the swelling extending downward. Throat feels sore and swollen (fifth day).

Some irritation or acridity about the throat and eyes. Tonsils very red and congested, with dull aching distress in them.

Redness of fauces (fifth day). Constant feeling of irritation of the fauces. Dryness of the fauces. Dryness, with burning in throat. The pharynx and oesophagus became so irritable that it was painful and difficult to swallow; food, in passing, caused pain and seemed to stop midway to the stomach; food, cold water produced the same feeling that very hot tea would, and the same aching pain that is often felt after drinking very cold ice- water, though the thirst was great (twelfth day). Frequent inclination to swallow, which increases the pain and distress in the tonsils. Difficult deglutition (fifth day).


Appetite and Thirst. Appetite good, more than usual, in all provings. Little appetite (sixth day). Poor appetite in morning (seventh day). Loss of appetite; (ninth morning). Want to drink a great deal. Thirst very great (twelfth day). Eructations.

Eructations (third day). Nausea. Nausea and loathing of food (twelfth day). Continual nausea. Nausea. Some nausea (sixth day).

Stomach. (Dyspeptic troubles, or belching after meals, very much better). (The operation of the poison seemed to have a considerable effect in relieving me from dyspeptic symptoms, with which I had been previously troubled). At 2 A.M., severe pains in the stomach and bowels came on, but being in a half-waking and half-sleeping state, I remained in bed about two hours, when I was suddenly forced from bed, and had a large watery stool (ninth day). The stomach is very much distressed after taking and medicine. Distress and pain in the cardiac portion of the stomach and upper left portion of the umbilicus. Distress in the stomach and umbilicus.


Distress in the umbilicus, with dry, lumpy, dark-colored stools.

Distress in the umbilical and hypogastric regions, with loud rumbling in the bowels, followed by soft mushy stools. Constant dull pains in the umbilicus, with rumbling in the bowels, and followed by a soft diarrhoeic stool. Severe cutting pains in the umbilical and hypogastric regions for six days, with three and four very soft, diarrhoeic, black-colored stools a day.

Sharp cutting pains in the umbilical and hypogastric regions before a stool; the stool relieves the pains, but does not stop them altogether; lasted two hours. Pain at umbilicus, with diarrhoea (third day). Colic quite severe in the umbilicus region (fifth day). Pain in the left side of the abdomen. Abdomen much bloated, very painful to the least pressure. Continued rumblings and gripings; the pains always being worse just before stool.

Rumbling of flatus in the bowels, with pain in the back, extending from lumbar region to the umbilicus. Abdomen sore to touch and pressure (third day). Colic and rumbling in the abdomen, with frequent eructations (soon, fourth day). Constant dull, aching distress in the abdomen, with occasional sharp cutting pains in the umbilicus. Pain in bowels, with diarrhoea (fourth day). Pain in the hypogastrium before every stool; have but little warning before each stool (fifth day).


Bleeding hemorrhoids (twenty first day). Hemorrhoids came on, and four small tumors appeared, which remained out for several weeks, with extreme itching and burning (tenth day); I had had nothing of the kind for more than two years. Discharge of blood from the rectum after a stool. Neuralgic pains in the anus.

Most intolerable itching and burning of the anus for several days. Anus itches terribly towards night (sixth day). Itching of anus (sixth and seventh days).


Diarrhoea, with pain at umbilicus (third day); with pain in bowels (fourth day). Every morning, from 2 to 5 o’clock, I was compelled to rise and go to stool, and a diarrhoea then continued more or less severe till about twelve o’clock. The color of the stools was uniformly light, or nearly white, varying in consistency, sometimes very thin, and sometimes very papescent. Large watery stool, passed with great force and attended with violent colicky pains, at 4 A.M.; during the next two hours had three more profuse stools of this character, and from that time the pain and stools ceased (ninth day). Stools lighter in color, and partly undigested (eighth day); black as pitch and hard; no unusual smell (thirty-fourth day); black as before, soft, and rather putrid; bowels move twice (thirty- six day). Stool at 2 A.M., loose, which is unusual; had a stool early in the morning, rather loose, with pain in the bowels before the discharge (third day); diarrhoea at 3 o’clock, a copious stool of a lighter color than that of the night previous; another stool at 7 A.M., not as copious, and again at 9 o’clock (fifth day); diarrhoea more severe and stools of a dark-brown color. (This was the only time they were of this color, although attended with the same pain in the hypogastrium, which accompanied the lighter-colored stools), (sixth day). Stools about natural consistence, but of a very dark color. Stools dark, and partly undigested (seventh day). Faeces dark, hard, and small in quantity. No movement of the bowels (tenth day).

Urinary Organs

Burning in the urethra. Desire to void urine often, but in small quantities. Augmentation of urine. There was no particular effect upon the urinary organs, excepting a slight increase of urine after I had ceased to take the remedy.

Sexual Organs

Male. Groins and penis were affected, in the morning. Glans penis is much swollen and very sore; cuticle of penis and scrotum peels off in the patches as large as a sixpence (sixth day).

Prepuce slightly swollen (second day). The prepuce is much swollen and very red (third day); same symptoms, with increased violence (fourth day). The scrotum is red, swollen, and much corrugated (third day); same symptoms, with increased violence (fourth day). Scrotum swollen as large as his two fists, could not walk. Female. The menses, which were near at hand, came on immediately, in very large clots, like pieces of meat.

Respiratory Organs

Dryness and pain in the larynx (thirteenth day). Hoarseness (thirteenth day). Harsh dry cough, continuing for more than two weeks (after thirteen days). Sense of oppression, as if the air was too heavy (first night).


Violent stitches in the left lung, causing anxiety, especially on breathing, as in inflammation of the lungs (twelfth day).

Violent stitches in the lungs (twenty-first day). Sudden violent stitches through the lungs (after ten minutes). Sudden sharp stitches through the lungs, waking from sleep. Stitches in the upper part of both lungs (fifteenth day). Stitches in the apices of the lungs (eleventh day). Rush of blood to the chest, with anxiety (twenty-first day). Stricture in the chest, continuing more than two weeks (after thirteen days). Pain over the sternum for more than two weeks (after thirteen days).

Transient, shooting pains in the sternum and chest (twelfth day). Slight lancinating pain in sternum and right leg (eighth day). Drawing pain in lower part of left side (sixth day).

Heart and Pulse

Stitches in the heart (second day). Palpitation, with stitches in the heart (seventh and twenty- first days). Palpitation (fourteenth day). During the first five days me pulses were increased from ten to twenty strokes in the minutes. Pulse 78, and regular (third day). Pulse 72, rather weak (fourth day); 82; when sitting, at 3 P.M., it was normal, 68 to 70 (sixth day).

Back and Neck

Constant dull pains in the cervical, dorsal, and lumbar regions.

Stiff neck, or crick in the neck. Back is very stiff. With the rumbling of flatus in the bowels, pain in the back, extending from the lumbar region to the umbilicus. Pain in the back. Sharp pain under the left scapula, extending through to the ribs.

Rheumatic pain between the shoulder-blades. Dull heavy pains in the lumbar region, aggravated by stooping down or walking. The small of the back feels paralyzed (ninth day).

Drawing in the lumbar muscles, extending into the hips (ninth day). Drawing in the left loin (tenth day). Dull, aching pain and weakness across the loins (third day). A little pain in sacrum (sixth day).


Trembling of all my limbs, with twitching of my muscles.

Trembling of my limbs. Hands, arms, legs, and face began to swell, accompanied by slight redness of the skin and thirst (after one hour); great swelling of the face, arms, and legs; some slight swelling and redness over the chest, but the trunk of the body is generally not much affected; swelling continued to increase till the evening (second day); the swelling took about twenty-eight hours to reach its height, was about ten hours stationary, and two days declining; the attack having lasted altogether four days, during which time his appetite was the same as in health, and he kept his bed only on account of the swelling, which rendered him unable to bend his knees or to move his legs. Violent drawing pains in the upper and lower extremities and in the head (twenty-first day). Drawing in the right ankle and wrist, extending to the knee and elbow (twelfth day). My wrists, ankles, and feet aced so severely I could not sleep.

Upper Limbs

The pains in the upper extremities, and more especially those of the chest, were of a sharp darting character. Tearing in the left arm, extending upward from the elbow; a sensation as if the bone would break (ninth day). Drawing in the left arm and in the forearm and in the three last fingers of the left hand; the arm feels paralyzed (seventh day). Jerking pain in the muscles of both arms (twelfth day). Paralytic drawing in the right arm, especially in the wrist, extending to the tips of the fingers (fifteenth day). Sensation of crawling in the left arm, especially when resting it upon anything (seventh day). Elbow.

Severe pains in the left elbow-joint for half an hour, could not move it, the pain was so great. Rheumatic pains in the left elbow and shoulder-joints, worse on motion. Drawing-pressive pain in the left elbow and left ankle, also at intervals in the pes anserinus (second day). Forearm. Drawing-pains in the forearms.

Sharp pain in both arms, from the elbow to the index fingers and thumbs. Wrist. Dull pains in the wrist and fingers, with drawing pains. The wrist and fingers are very stiff. Drawing pressive pain in the right wrist, extending through the bones to the elbow (second day). Pressive drawing in the right wrist (eleventh day). Drawing in the right wrist (seventh and ninth days). Hand.

Right and swelled very much, with redness, itching, or other symptoms; this increased for about twenty-four hours, then declined for about the same time, and on the third day the swelling was gone. Constant aching distress in the hands and fingers. Fingers. Blue finger-nails (fourth day). Drawing in the right little finger and thumb (eighth day).

Lower Limbs

Very violent bruised pain, especially in the legs (twelfth day). Paralyzed and bruised sensation in the legs (second day).

Paralytic drawing, with pains in the bones of the left leg (fourth day). Very violent drawing pains in both legs, as if beaten, becoming seated in the ankles and knees, almost like a pressive- cutting pain, and as such extending along the tendons on the back of the foot to the toes, also in the wrists, extending into the tips of the fingers, especially in the left index finger; in the evening (eleventh day). Jerk like drawing in the leg (seventh day). Drawing in the left leg (fifth and eighth days). Slight lancinating pain in right leg and sternum (eighth day). Hip and Thigh. Pain as if dislocated in the right hip (relieved by Nitric acid). Wandering drawing pains in the thighs, legs, and arm (fourteenth day). Drawing cramp like pain in the left thigh (third day). Aching pains in the thighs, from the hips to the knees; pain worse at the knees and on the left side. Knee. Great weakness of the knees and ankles ache constantly. Dull drawing pains and distress in the knees, ankles, feet, and toes. Drawing-pressive pain in the right knee-joint, extending downward (second morning). Drawing in the left knee-joint (second and ninth days). Leg. Cramp like pain in the calves, and crawling as if asleep (twelfth day). Drawing in the muscles of the calves (ninth day). Drawing pain in the right calf, with a paralyzed pain in the hollow of the knee, as after exertion (eleventh day). Drawing in the left calf (tenth day). Cramp like tension in the right calf (eighth day). Severe cramp in the calf of the leg at night, followed by great soreness of the calf of the leg the next day. Drawing in the left leg, shooting from the ankle up through the bones to the knee, which was also affected by it (seventh day). Ankle. My ankles and feet ached so severely, for eight weeks after taking the medicine, that it was very painful for me to either stand or walk, especially in the afternoon; I was compelled to lie down every afternoon. Pressive drawing in the right, afterwards in the left ankle, then in the right, afterwards in the right, afterwards in the left ankle, then in the right wrist and right malar bone (eighth day). Pressive drawing in the right ankle (eleventh day). Drawing in the right ankle (ninth day). Sudden violent cramp by the right malleolus, as if pinched. Tension like an ulcerative pain in the malleolus, as if suppurating, on stepping on the foot (twelfth day). Foot. Drawing in both feet (fifteenth day). Throbbing in both feet, as if distended by blood (eleventh day). Jerk like drawing in the right foot, extending from the ankle to the heel and shooting upwards, with pains in the bone (fifth day). A peculiar sensation of tension, with noise like cracking in the right foot below the ankle (second day). A peculiar sensation of crawling, as if the foot would fall asleep, in the right ankle, extending into the os calcis; when it was most violent there was a sensation like a cracking in the foot; while the pains disappeared suddenly this sensation was almost constant, with only short intervals (seventh day). Crawling and cracking sensation in the right foot (eleventh day). Drawing pains on the back of the right foot (third day). Cramp on the back of the right foot. Cramp on the back of the left foot (tenth day). Stitches in the sole of the left foot (fourteenth day). Stitches in the sole of the right foot (fifteenth day). Pulsation in the vessels of the right foot (fourteenth day).


Intumescence of the entire body and lower extremities, attended with intolerable pain and irritation, confined him to bed for several days; nor was it until weeks after that he was able to resume his duties. For several years after he was subject to a periodical recurrence of the erysipelatous inflammation which marks this particular poison. Swollen to such a degree that “he was as a log of wood, and could only be turned about in sheets. The head and body were swollen to a prodigious degree, so as to occasion the loss of sight for some time. Somewhat emaciated. Great restlessness. Rose feeling weak and as though I had taken a drastic cathartic (ninth morning). Very weak and languid; (third morning). A feeling of general malaise (sixth day). General feeling of lassitude. Lassitude. Languid feeling (sixth day). Feel rather languid (fourth day). Feels tired and weary (fifth day). Stretching and tired feeling (fourth day).

Felt heavy and unrefreshed (second morning). Previous to proving or taking this remedy was never subject to Rhus poisoning; could pull up the Rhus radicans and other poisonous vines without observing any effect, but now is very susceptible to their influence, and poisons very readily. I was tormented day and night for more than two weeks, and I think I was not free from perceptible effects of this poison for six or eight weeks.

Bruised feeling in the body, especially in the limbs, as after great exertion, with weariness and pale face and general sick feeling (eighth day). Lameness and soreness of the muscles came on, and I could hardly walk (twelfth day); Lameness continued more than two weeks. All my muscles seemed stiff, those of the posterior part of the right leg being most affected, so much so that after remaining crooked for a little while, it was painful to straighten them. This stiffness and soreness still remain in some degree. Rheumatic pains lasting nearly two months after the proving, though the prover had never before suffered from them; on taking cold, after about two months, they became so violent that the patient was obliged to take Ranunculus, which gave relief. The pains come and go suddenly and wander about. The pains are worse before the stools, but continue for several hours after.

About the author

TF Allen

TF Allen

Dr. Timothy Field Allen, M.D. ( 1837 - 1902)
Born in 1837in Westminster, Vermont. . He was an orthodox doctor who converted to homeopathy
Dr. Allen compiled the Encyclopedia of Pure Materia Medica over the course of 10 years.
In 1881 Allen published A Critical Revision of the Encyclopedia of Pure Materia Medica.

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