This section is from the book "A Practitioner's Handbook Of Materia Medica And Therapeutics", by Thos. S. Blair. Also available from Amazon: A Practitioner's handbook of Materia Medica and Therapeutics.
Rhus Toxicodendron, Poison Ivy. In large doses (f.e. of leaves, 6 to 30 I.) it is a stimulant narcotic, somewhat irritant to the stomach and bowels and irritant to the nervous system like large doses of nux vomica. These doses have been suggested in a number of conditions, but they are apt to be very erratic in action and are much more liable to do harm than good, and, despite certain authors to the contrary, it is very unwise under any circumstances to give them. The probable reason these men have not met with disaster is that the preparations they used were nearly inert.
In small doses the fluidextracts and tinctures as usually made are of practically no value at all. The therapeutic agents in this leaf are the acids and oils dissipated by drying, and only preparations from the freshly gathered leaves should ever be used in medicine, and even these preparations should be destroyed when a year old and fresh stock secured. A good plan is to order direct from the factory 1 K of ec. tr. and dilute this with 9 K of 76% alcohol, thus making a reliable tincture, as the ec. tr. is rather dangerous to one's own hands. This tincture can be used in doses ranging from 74 to 10 I.or the @ can be used in the same doses. Usually I drop doses or even less give better results than do the larger doses. The drug can be said to be fairly effective up to the third decimal dilution, but in acute conditions it impresses me that larger doses than the 3x should be used.
Higher than that I have never used it, since I do not believe in the so-called dynamization theory. Prof. G. Hardy Clark, of Hahnemann Medical College, Chicago, says: "One or 2 drops of the tincture have been used with satisfaction, but doses ranging from the first to the fourth decimal dilution are more generally employed." Extreme homeopaths do not agree with him, and seldom use it below the 12X. Frankly, it is a peculiar drug. I have secured unexpectedly good results with it in some cases. and no results whatever in other similar cases. When it does benefit at all it does so in no uncertain way. It is undoubtedly a very powerful and useful remedy, but there is something about it not understood as yet. The indications subjoined are by Ellingwood, an eclectic, and Boericke, a homoeopath.
Eclectic indications: "In inflammatory fevers with sharp, hard pulse; acute inflammation involving the skin, with bright, circumscribed redness; extreme soreness or sharp, burning pain; extreme redness of local parts inflamed, with great local heat and sharp pain; sharp supra-orbital pain, especially of the left orbit; burning in the eyes with flushed face; inflammation with constitutional impairment, evidenced by a sharp, red tongue and deep red mucous membranes. The tongue has a pointed tip upon which the papillae are elongated and pointed. Their "specific medication" theory aside, they practically use it in acute erysipelas; typhoid fever with sordes, red tongue, flushed face, and evidences of sepsis; cerebral irritation in the course of fevers; in the latter stages of severe types of the exanthematae; in acute inflammatory rheumatism and some forms of chronic rheumatism; in gastro-intestinal disorders of children with cerebral irritation; in septic cholera morbus; and in suppurative diseases of the skin with redness. They esteem it very highly.
Homeopathic indications: "Mind-extreme restlessness and delirium. Head-vertigo when rising, heavy feeling, occipital pain. Eyes-swollen, red, edematous. Lids inflamed, scalding tears. Face-swollen, irritation in articulations of jaws. mouth-tongue red and cracked, corners of mouth ulcerated. Throat-swollen glands. Stomach-want of appetite, great thirst. Abdomen pain, relieved by lying upon abdomen. Urine-dark, turbid, scanty. Respiratory-dry, teasing cough. Heart -pulse is quick, weak, irregular, and intermittent. Extremities-hot, painful swelling of joints. Fever-adynamic, restless, trembling. Skin-red, swollen, vesicles, intense itching. Sleep-heavy, stupor. Modalities-worse, cold and wet weather, at night, during rest. Better, warm dry weather, motion." This is a mere abridgment of four pages of symptoms, but it illustrates the complicated indications of homoeopathy. Practically, they arrive at just about the same place as the eclectics, with the addition of sprains, granulated eyelids, smallpox, hypertrophy of the heart, and some menstrual difficulties.
If our pharmacologists investigated the matter in detail, they would probably arrive at indications amounting to about this: An inhibitory agent in cerebral engorgement, influencing the vasa-motor mechanism; a sensorial sedative inimical to toxic irritation, increasing nerve tonus and promoting the functional activity of the terminal nerve filaments; a vital alterative, influencing defective metabolism.