Brought to you by:
Dr Peter Darashah
Rhododendron (Yellow snowrose or Rosebay) is a Siberian
shrub where it grows as its name suggests on the snowy
mountainous slopes of the Alps. (The American Rosebay, Great laurel
or Rhododendron maximum has not been proved). It was used for
centuries by the Cossacks and Mongols as a specific for rheumatism
and gout centuries before its first Homeopathic proving by Dr Siedel
in 1831. Russian hunters and mountain rangers also used to drink an
infusion of it to remove the weariness and pains from their limbs
after fatiguing expeditions.
"Although many remedies may produce
effects that are in their general aspect quite similar, nevertheless
each remedy possesses certain characteristic effects which belong to
it alone, and which cannot be imitated, and for which no substitute
will avail" wrote Siedel. It is these Rhododendron peculiarities
which are summarised below.
The disposition is indifferent,
with disinclination to exertion.
Early morning headache drawing pressing pain in
the forehead and temporal region extending into the bones with
itching of the scalp.
Drawing tearing pain which is
excited by uncertain (stormy) rainy weather. Early morning nose
Respiratory coryza and other catarrhal
difficulties. Epigastric pressure and dyspnoea, a kind of splenic
stitch in the left hypochondrium.
Tardy evacuation of
faeces even though the consistency of the stool is normal. Contains
(gouty, rheumatic) pains in the extremities, especially in the bones
of the forearms, hands, legs and feet. Drawing pains in the joints;
occurrence or increase of the pains during repose and in unsettled,
rough weather, and at the approach of storms; Formication and
itching in isolated spots on the limbs; weak, paralytic feeling in
Scrotal itch, sweat,
wrinkling with soreness between the genitals and the thighs, testes
swollen and hard. Feeling of scrotum being crushed.
It is further to be noticed, that the symptoms
often intermit for indefinite periods of time, sometimes longer
sometimes shorter (two to twelve days), during which nothing will be
felt of them; after which they will come again, and be felt for
several days. They are most likely to come back when the weather
becomes raw and unsettled, and a storm is
Cold, wet, wind, storm and
Rest, touch &
Post storm quiet
To recapitulate, we find the action of
Rhododendron to be eminently upon the fibrous and serous tissues.
The pains in limbs and joints affect chiefly the forearm and hand
and the leg and foot; they seem to have their seat in the bone or
periosteum ; they attack but a small extent of the limb at once;
they disappear and re-appear as it were spontaneously and
capriciously, nevertheless are always worse on the approach of bad
weather. They are aggravated by motion and toward morning. Finally
Rhododendron acts also upon the testes; and clinical experience has
shown it serviceable in chronic enlargements and indurations of the
testes and epididymis, and in hydrocele
The only practical
application to which I shall call your attention is that in chronic
rheumatism of the smaller joints and their ligaments; to chronic
periostitis, and especially to that form of chronic rheumatism which
simulates rheumatic gout, but is distinct from it in this respect:
that, as I believe, the enlargements of the joints are produced by
fibrinous deposits and not by chalky excretions.
affection of the great toe joint, often mistaken for bunion, but
which is really rheumatic, Rhododendron is of great value. For true
bunion from mechanical pressure Silicea is preferable. Male
The application to affections of the testes and
to hydrocele is apparent. It is analogous to and follows as regards
the testes, Pulsatilla, Aurum, Spongia; as regards hydrocele,
Contemporaneous Notes and
Although Siedel's resume was
detailed and comprehensive subsequent experience allow us to expand
upon some of his original points and conclusions.
Definition of Weather
patient is traditionally regarded as someone who responds to rapid
changes of weather such as wind, storm, cold, thunder, electrical
disturbances etc. Whilst this is perfectly correct slower weather
changes over a longer period of time should not be disregarded such
as seasonal changes from summer to winter. In this respect the
remedy could be compared to Dulcamara.
Furthermore it is not
necessary for the patient to be actually exposed to the elements in
order to develop the indications for the remedy. For example the
patient may be warm in bed or in front of a roaring fire when just
the thought of a change in environmental conditions could be
sufficient to bring on symptoms. As Hering describes "Nervous
persons who dread a storm and are particularly afraid of thunder.'
Differentiation with Rhus-t
Rhus-t have a lot of similarities in symptomology. Both exhibit
aggravation from rest and wet cold weather.l However
carefulobservation will reveal the following differences.
patients are always better from even the least initial motion.
Whilst Rhust-t patients benefit from motion to their initial movement is
painful and only later, after limbering up, does the Rhus-t patient
supple out to receive the benefit from motion.
- The Rhod pains
are deep and associated with the bone or periosteum whilst those of
Rhus-t affect more the ligament and tendons.
- Rhod pains are due
to fibrinous deposits whilst those of Rhust-t are associated with
fluid excretions. An example of a Rhod fibrinous deposit is evident
in gout of the big toe which is often misdiagnosed for a bunion (ie
caused through the result of pressure) whereas the actual causation
is rheumatic. This can be confirmed by a careful examination of the
limbs of a Rhod sufferer which may reveal the presence of hard
fibrinous nodosities. These are not a feature of Rhus-t.
- Rhod pain is chronic whereas
that of Rhus-t is acute.
- Rhod patients are aggravated
immediately before the weather change and are relieved after the
change even though the poor weather may be continuing. Rhus-t
patients are aggravated after the weather change and are relived
only on return to normalcy.
Nat-s, Nux-m, Phos, Sil
Arg-m, Aur, Clem, Puls,