toxicodendron is a homeopathic remedy. It is also known as Rhus tox. and by its more common name,
poison ivy. Other names include Toxicodendron
pubescens and Toxicodendron radicans.
Rhus toxicodendron is used for treating
several conditions, including:
- skin rashes
- restless leg syndrome
- viral infections
This remedy has primarily been studied for its effectiveness
as a treatment for arthritis pain. Research shows that its effectiveness against
this kind of pain is questionable at best.
What Is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a philosophy developed over 200 years ago in
Germany. It features two key beliefs:
- Like cures like. Homeopathy
suggests that you can cure someone by giving him or her a substance that
reproduces the symptoms they are currently experiencing.
- Law of minimum dose. This means that
the substance given to the person who is ill should be diluted as much as
Homeopathic remedies purport to address health issues in a
way that adheres to these beliefs. According to the National Center for
Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 3.9 million adults and 910,000 children
used homeopathic remedies in 2006 (NCCAM, 2012).
What Does Rhus Toxicodendron Address?
toxicodendron is most commonly used for the alleviation of arthritis
It can be given to people with arthritis of any age, adult,
or child. Proponents say that it’s most effective when used during arthritis
flare-ups that do not respond well to the application of cold packs.
How Is Rhus Toxicodendron Administered?
toxicodendron is available in pill, capsule, liquid, ointment,
and gel forms.
Consult your primary care physician and a homeopath before trying
this treatment. Your primary care physician can warn you if there are any
reasons why you should not take it. A homeopath can help you select the means
of administration and the dilution that is right for you.
toxicodendron is available over the counter and requires no
prescription. You will self-administer it by swallowing a pill or rubbing an
ointment or gel into your sore joints.
What Are the Benefits of Rhus Toxicodendron?
The evidence is mixed regarding the effectiveness of Rhus toxicodendron as a treatment for
arthritis. A recent study in the journal Homeopathy
assessed a group of rats with arthritis who were given several dilutions of this
substance. The researchers found that Rhus
toxicodendron protected rats from inflammatory lesions, weight changes, and
radiological joint changes due to arthritis and pain (Patil, 2011).
toxicodendron has not proven as useful in trials on humans.
The NYU Langone Medical Center discusses two studies conducted on humans. The
first pitted Rhus toxicodendron
against the anti-inflammatory drug fenoprofen, a known effective treatment.
Fenoprofen proved more effective at relieving arthritis pain while Rhus toxicodendron did no better than a
The other study they discuss compared a homeopathic gel
containing Rhus toxicodendron to a
gel made from another anti-inflammatory drug called piroxicam. The two
treatments were equally effective. It should be noted, however, that piroxicam
in gel form had never been studied as a treatment for arthritis pain. It is
therefore possible that piroxicam gel and Rhus
toxicodendron are equally ineffective (NYU Langone Medical
What Are the Risks of Rhus Toxicodendron?
FDA does not evaluate over-the-counter homeopathic
medications for safety. Therefore they do not offer an official list of side
effects. There is anecdotal evidence of people who are highly sensitive to Rhus toxicodendron developing a rash and
swelling of the lower extremities. These stories have not been corroborated or
supported by the FDA.
What Can Be Expected After Taking Rhus Toxicodendron?
Every person will have a unique response to homeopathic medications.
Practitioners are usually reluctant to set a specific timeframe for relief of symptoms.
The goal is for acute symptoms to resolve within a few days.
Chronic symptoms like arthritis pain should ideally begin to show improvement
quickly. Symptoms will continue to improve over the next three to four weeks if
the treatment is effective.
Some people need to take the homeopathic remedy only once or
twice. Others with chronic pain may need to take it on a continuing basis.