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Rhus toxicodendron – Poison Ivy



Primary use:  Joint inflammation with stiffness that is better after movement. Joint pain and arthritis. For stiffness in dogs that seems to get better after a warm-up period.


This remedy can be likened to a “rhusty” gate that is resistant to movement until someone opens and closes it a few times after which the motion is easier.  With stiffness, lameness, or swelling of joints such as the knee, the dog will move poorly after rest and then improve to a point but will find movement very painful.  It will become stiff and “gel” each time it rests.  Dogs that need this remedy are often restless but not out of impatience or anxiety—it is rather that they cannot find a comfortable position so they shift their weight constantly.


The modalities of Rhus toxicodendron are conditions that are much worse from cold, better from heat, and an indicator to the use of this remedy can be a dog that is always stiffer in the coolness of the morning or in cold damp weather.


This remedy might also be indicated in skin conditions where there is an itchy patch with tiny blisters—as in a case of poison oak.  (Dogs are generally immune to poison oak)  Skin conditions that respond to Rhus toxicodendron have soft, fluid swelling or blisters and are worse from dampness and cold wetness, especially rain. These skin problems respond well to warm applications and, like other Rhus toxicodendron conditions, are better with motion.

General indications or modalities:

✦  Stiffness, especially after rest

✦  Better with movement, as in inflammation or lameness that goes away  after a period of movement

✦  Better in warm dry weather

✦  Worse in cold wet weather


Conditions that respond to Rhus Toxicodendron:

Arthritis, joint inflammation and swelling, stiffness relieved by motion.  Skin eruptions with little blisters. Other uses include hot spots, sprains and strains, joint injuries, allergic reactions.

Dosage: This remedy works best when given in the morning. Give one dose every morning until improvement is noted. Stop when you see definite improvement and do not repeat again until symptoms recur.