Hahnemann’s proving of Rheum has confirmed many of its traditional uses. In the form of Compound Rhubarb Powder (Pulv. Rhei. Co.─Gregory’s powder) along with Magnesia and Ginger, most of us can remember it as one of the terrors of the nursery. In its homœopathic form it has no terrors, but it remains a great remedy of sucklings and children, especially during dentition, to whom as well as to pregnant and nursing women it is particularly suited.
Milne well summarises its action from the traditional point of view: “Tonic, cathartic, and a feeble astringent, the latter property being overborne by the cathartic and only coming into play afterwards” [i.e., the constipation which follows Rhubarb purgation]. “In small doses, it improves digestion and appetite, and renders the renal secretions more healthy. In larger doses it is an excellent cathartic, acting on the whole bowel and especially the duodenum, and increasing the peristaltic action. It is well suited for the early stages of diarrhœa, as a laxative in constipation from debility of the digestive organs, and in disorders of children, such as flatulence and irritation of the alimentary canal. It renders the serum of the blood yellow, the urine is almost of a blood-red colour.” In connection with the last observation it must be remembered that Rheum contains a large amount of Chrysophanic acid (named from its brilliant yellow crystals). Among its many other constituents is Oxalate of Lime (Calc. ox.) and Rheo-tannic acid. Milne’s observations agree in the, main with homœopathic experience, but it is the latter alone which brings out the distinctive characters of the medicine.
The grand keynote of Rhe. is sourness: The stools are sour; the taste is sour; the whole body has a sour smell.─No amount of washing will wash the sourness out of a characteristic Rheum baby. Such a condition may occur in sucklings, or at the period of dentition; and it may be associated with another characteristic Rhe. symptom, night-screaming; and yet another sopping-wet hair.
The Rhe. child is as acid in temper as he is in body: peevish, impatient; screams for things; dislikes even his favourite playthings. “Screaming of children with urging and sour stools” is characteristic. With a few drops of Rhe. Ø I have relieved severe constipation in an acid child who was intolerant of almost all remedies in the attenuations. But Rhe. is by no means exclusively a children’s remedy. Its symptoms are good for any period of life. The stomach disorders calling for Rhe. are characterised by: Sour, flat, slimy taste; or insipid or nauseous. Food tastes bitter, even sweet things (there is no bitter taste independently of food). The mouth is covered with offensive mucus after sleeping; and after sleeping there is bad taste and offensive breath. There is hunger for various kinds of food and the first few mouthfuls nauseate. The effects of eating plums or unripe fruit. There is nausea in abdomen. Colic is severe, compelling one to bend double, after; Wrapping up; from warmth. In open air: eyes full of water. Hot weather Lying doubled up; takes the queerest positions in order to rest awhile. Lying on limbs = them to go to sleep. Motion <. walking the indication only during active exercise hurndall w. xxxvi. cured a horse of diarrh which came on when he was at work. standing as if brain moved colic uterine bearing down after eating plums. before and stool> or not > after stool).
Mind.─Indifference.─Indolence, and dislike to conversation.─Peevish disposition, with tears.─Restlessness, with desire to weep.─Impetuous desire for particular objects.─The child demands various things with vehemence and weeping; even its favourite playthings.─Screaming of children with urging and sour stools.─Unable to collect her senses for long after waking.─State of mind as if half asleep (or in a dream).─Delirium.─Incoherent talk.
Head.─Stupefying cloudiness of head, as after intoxication, with prominent (bloated) eyes.─Vertigo, which occasions falling sideways, when standing.─Giddy headache, with anxiety.─Pressive headache, esp. in sinciput, temples, and vertex.─Pressure as with a finger at point where head joins neck.─Heaviness of head, with heat and tearings.─Dull and cramp-like tension in head.─Throbbing in head, sometimes proceeding from abdomen.─Movement of brain when stooping.─Sweat on forehead and scalp after slight effort.─Hair always (awake or asleep, active or still) sopping wet, may or may not be sour.
Eyes.─Eyes weak and downcast, with aching pain, esp. when looking steadily at any object.─Pressure and pullings in eyelids.─Smarting in eyes, as if caused by dust.─Painful throbbing in eyes.─Convulsive starting in lids.─Lachrymation (swimming eyes, full of water), esp. in open air.─Pupils contracted.
Ears.─Otalgia with itching in ear.─Pressure (at meatus as from a finger) and throbbing in ears.─Dulness of hearing, as from relaxation of tympanum, with rumbling in ears, > by violent swallowing but only for a moment.─Crackling and bubbling in ear and in muscles on side of neck.─(Ménière’s disease).─(Old-standing and frequently recurring deafness with cicatricial membrana tympani gets well after single dose of Rhe. Ø.─R. T. C.)
Nose.─Stupefying drawing from root of nose to tip, where it tingles.─Sensation of heat in nose.
Face.─Face pale; or one cheek red, the other pale.─Tension of skin of face.─Frowning and contraction of muscles of forehead.─Itching rash on forehead and arm.─Cold perspiration on face, esp. on mouth and nose.─Twitching at commissures of lips.
Teeth.─Digging pains in teeth which are carious.─Painful sensation of coldness in teeth (with accumulation of much saliva).─Difficult dentition of children.─Teeth feel blunt.
Mouth.─Sensation of numbness and insensibility in tongue, with loss of taste for whole day (from chewing the stem).─Tongue swollen, articulation affected (poisoning case).─Salivation with colic or diarrhœa.─Mouth covered with offensive mucus after sleeping.─Offensive breath (after sleep).─Dryness and sensation of dryness in mouth.
Throat.─Contraction of gullet.
Appetite.─Loss of taste.─Mawkish, clammy, or sour taste.─Bad taste after sleep.─Food has a bitter taste.─Appetite for different things, which, however, changes to disgust at the first mouthful.─Dislike to fat and insipid food.─Repugnance to coffee (not sweetened with sugar).─Hunger without appetite.
Stomach.─Nausea, as if proceeding from stomach, with colic.─Fulness in stomach, with pressure, as if overloaded.─Contractions in stomach.─Shootings and throbbings in pit of stomach.
Abdomen.─Distension of abdomen, with tension.─Pressure in umbilical region.─Cutting and rumbling in abdomen as from flatulence.─Nausea in abdomen.─Cuttings in abdomen, which force a curving of the body, often shortly after a meal, by stool; before and during stool, > after; with very sour stools in acid children.─Incarceration of flatus, with aching and tension in chest.─Palpitation and jerking (swelling-bubbling sensation which seemed as if it could be heard) in abdominal muscles.─Itching stitches in inguinal gland.
Stool and Anus.─Urgent and frequent want to evacuate, without any result, reduced by movement, and walking.─Diarrhœa only when exercising.─Desire for stool after a meal.─Loose evacuations, generally of a sour smell, liquid, or of the consistence of pap, preceded and followed by tenesmus, with constrictive pinching in abdomen, and shuddering during the evacuation.─Stools frequent, soft, semi-liquid, evacuated with great pain in back and burning in rectum.─Stools: brown, slimy; loose, thin, curdled, sour-smelling; corroding anus; mucous and fecal; whitish, curdy, turning green on exposure on diaper; pea-green; fetid; frothy.─Liquid, slimy stools as if fermented, with pale face, ptyalism; child draws up legs; smells sour.─Greyish or brown diarrhœa, mixed with mucus; followed by tenesmus, pain in back, and great burning in anus and rectum.─Profuse diarrhœa, with vomiting, and great weakness.─Diarrhœa of lying-in women; of children.─Constipation after the proving.
Urinary Organs.─Increased secretion of urine.─Urine red; or greenish-yellow.─Blood flows freely from urethra (poisoning case).─Weakness of bladder: the urine cannot be discharged without effort.─Burning sensation in bladder.─Burning urine.─Urine has agreeable benzoic odour.
Male Sexual Organs.─Unusual emissions.
Female Sexual Organs.─Bearing down in uterine region while standing.─Drawing burning in l. ovarian region.─Urinary complaints after abortion.─Milk yellow, bitter.─Diarrhœa after confinement.─Stitches in nipples.
Respiratory Organs.─Cough: dry in evening; with expectoration of mucus.─Snoring inspiration during sleep.
Chest.─Dyspnœa on breathing deeply, as from a weight on upper part of chest.─Lancinations in chest.─Rush of blood to chest.─Crackling bubbling even audible in r. then l. pectoral muscles.─Palpitation of muscles of chest.─Pains and lancinations in breasts.─Milk of nursing women bitter and yellow; the infant refuses the breast.
Back.─Violent cutting, as if in lumbar vertebræ,