Tuesday, 3 March 2015

How to Differentiate Rhus Tox and Bryonia in Fever : Learn A Drug Challenge

Books Referred: Lectures on Clinical Materia Medica, Farrington
                           A Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica, Clarke
                           Lectures on Materia Medica, Kent
                           Homoeopathic Treatment of Influenzas, D. M. Borland

While still a student, any cases of fever with body pains would always bring a picture of Rhus Tox or Bryonia to my mind. It was not until later, I realized that there are much more drugs with body pains along with fever. It takes a lot of reading to retain the finer points of drug differentiation. Bryonia and Rhus Tox are complementary remedies. This week in Learn A Drug Challenge, is a humble attempt to highlight the similarities and the differences between the two in fever.

The complaints of Bryonia comes from exposure to cold air. The influenza, pneumonia, pleurisy, rheumatism etc. all could be caused after exposure to cold air. Bryonia is also indicted for complaints that come when warm weather sets in, taking cold or getting hot in summer. In Rhus Tox, it is usually the dampness that brings on the complaints. Lying on damp ground, too much summer bathing in river or lake, exposure to damp cold weather etc.

Both Bryonia and Rhus tox have a slow onset. The progression is also slow, a lingering type. The patients feels dull and heavy with a desire to lie down and the fever develops. The complaints then increase gradually. In Rhus Tox too there is a gradual onset and slowly progressing fever accompanied by very violent generalized aching.

The Comparison

  1. Bryonia and Rhus Tox have generalized body pains. Bryonia finds that motion aggravates the pains so he likes to lie perfectly still. Rhus tox has relief from moving about. It is true that the Bryonia patient may move about while in pain, but
    the motion further aggravates the pain. Bryonia has relief from pressure or lying on the painful side. Rhus Tox is restless, moving about. In Bryonia the complaints are felt more in the morning.
  2. The Rhus Tox patient is of a mild temperament. The Bryonia patient is irritable. He does not like to be disturbed or questioned. There is a sort of capriciousness in Bry.
  3. Rhus Tox is chilly, and very sensitive to cold air. It would start a bout of sneezing or aches and pains. Bryonia desires cold air. They feel hot and are uncomfortable in a hot and stuffy atmosphere. The stomach symptoms of Bryonia are however relieved by warm drinks.
  4. There is dryness of mouth in Bryonia yet there may be no thirst. If there is thirst, the patient drinks large quantities but not frequently. In Rhus tox, there is violent thirst but the patient finds difficulty in swallowing. Rhus Tox has a coated tongue with red tip or a generalized red tongue.There is tendency to formation of herpetic erruption on lips. The tongue takes the imprint of teeth. Bryonia has a thickly coated white tongue which is liable to become dirty. 
  5. In Rhus Tox, the sleep is restless. He dreams of great exertion. In Bryonia the dreams are usually of business activities. The Bryonia cases have delirium and talk of going home.
  6. Both Bryonia and Rhus Tox have headache, relieved by epistaxis. The aggravation from motion and relief by pressure in Bryonia applies to headache as well.
  7. In Bryonia, there is dryness of the mucous membrane of the nose with sneezing. The discharge is frequently thick and yellow. Bryonia is also indicated when there is suppression of nasal discharge and the sinuses get involved. Rhus Tox has violent attacks of sneezing, with sneezing more at night.
  8. Bryonia has dryness of throat with stitching pains. There may be little white spots on the throat. Rhus Tox has dry and burning, extremely sore throats, sensitive to swallowing.
  9. The cough of Bryonia is dry with gagging and vomitting with stitches in sides of the chest while coughing. The head hurts while coughing. The cough is worse after a meal. There is little expectoration, if there is expectoration, it is either yellowish or streaked with blood.The cough of Rhus Tox is at first dry then becomes more frequent and loose.
  10. Bryonia has constipation, the stools are large, hard and dry and are either brown or black in colour. Rhus Tox has diarrhea, copious, watery bloody stools. There may be involuntary stools as well.
Rhus Tox is indicated in erruptive fevers. There may be dark coloured erruption over whole body. In chicken pox, the pustules turn black from effusion of blood within. When there is diarrhea, there may be dark, bloody stools. Rhus Tox is indicated when there is suppression of erruption as well.

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