SNAKES AND HOMOEOPATHY

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Abstract

Some Snake remedies have been among the most used of polychrests but there are many more snake remedies that could be considered. Some are neglected old remedies; others, including the family of constrictors are recently proved and not well known. This title indicates some of the characteristic features of Snake remedies and some of the peculiarities that can be used to differentiate them.

No creature has taken up a place so mysterious, resembling deity and evil at the same time. They are connected to deceit, dishonesty and pride and yet are timid, almost shy to the trespasser in their territory. Their movement is majestic, their appearance biased by fear and reservation in those that search for them. Mythology believes that their eyes can kill and doom to chaos. The lick of their tongue is feared to cast a magic spell. Through the millenniums the fascination for these creatures has been cast in stone on temple walls and on altars. The snake resembles a goddess of fertility or an underworld eater of souls. Across many cultures, for thousands of years, she has been worshiped for she resembles immortality in a cycle of death and rebirth through the shedding of her skin. She is a dual being, a living dead, neither male nor female, is able to kill and to cure at the same time.

Introduction

Every year, poisonous snakes kill thousands of people around the world. But the venom that kills can also save lives. Scientists have been studying the medicinal properties of various snake venoms for decades. For example, certain Tunisian vipers have been shown to have anti-tumor properties. Others have antibacterial and painkiller features.

Hemotoxins in snake venom target the circulatory system, and typically attack the body’s clotting ability and muscles. But scientists have also found ways to use hemotoxins for medicine — such as treating heart attacks and blood disorders. Other drugs have been developed from neurotoxins in snake venom, which are used to treat Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, as well as stroke and brain injuries; more research will need to be done to better understand the medicinal properties of these toxins.

The Rod of Asclepius

The Greek god of healing, Asclepius, has been symbolized by a stick that has a snake winding around it. The rod of Asclepius, has become the emblem of the healing professions, and the snake symbolizes “the will to live” and rehabilitation.

Snake venom in allopathic medicine today, is prescribed successfully for patients that have suffered a stroke. But throughout history, a potion made of snake was said to cure ailments and bestow endless life to he who nourished of such a poisonous elixir.

In the Arab speaking countries, stories are told of the consumption of snake as a cure all, which renders invulnerable and bestows eternal youth to he who drinks a potion made of snake. Apparently, up until today, Bedouins of the Sinai follow an old tradition by eating a preparation of a poisonous snake.

In parts of Macedonia, a decoction of snake, peppers and vinegar is believed to contain the healing powers of the snake. Life expectancy in this area is well above 100 years of age.

Lachesis trigonocephalus, to give him his full title, the surukuku snake of Brazil, is a formidable fellow and, the most important of all the snake venoms used by hom~eopaths. We met him first a long time ago, when Dr Constantine Hering made a trituration and dilution in alcohol of the venom in 1828; and he appeared in our Materia Medica in 1835.

In Dr E. B. Nash’s Leaders in Homeopathic Therapeutics (Philadelphia 1898) we find this tribute to his fellow American: “To Dr Constantine Hering belongs the honour of introducing and developing the wonderful medicinal properties of this snake poison. If he had never done anything besides this for medicine, the world would owe him an everlasting debt of gratitude.”

A third American, Dr E.C. Whitmont, writing nearly a century later, has summed up some of the medicinal properties in his “Psycho-Physiological Reflections on Lachesis”.

List of snake remedies in homeopathy

Bitis arientans                                                                                    Lachesis muta

Bothrops atrox                                                                                Naja tripudians

Bothrops lanceolatus                                                          Oxyuranus scutellatus

Bungarus fasciatus                                                       Oxyuranus microlepidotus

Cenchris contortrix                                                                              Phyton regia

Crotalus cascavella                                                                   Toxicophis pugnax

Crotalus horridus                                                                              Vipera aspis

Echis carinatus                                                                                 Vipera redi

Elaps corallinus                                                                               Vipera torva

Sources of drugs

The poison taken from the snakes. Chemically, the snake poisons are cyanhydrates of soda and other salts.
Alcohol is a natural solvent and an antidote for these poisons.

The major poisonous snakes, the poi son of which are made use of in homoeopathy are

Viper [ including pit vipers of crotalidae]

Cobras [Naja)

Kraits [Bungarus)

Sea snakes [Hydrophis)

Snake Venom
The Snake Venom is the modified saliva. The venom contains nine enzymes such as

(i) Phosphatidases

(ii) Proteases

(iii) Cholinesterases

(iv) Hyaluronidases

(v) Ribonucleases

(vi) Deoxyribonucleases

(vii) Ophioxidase

(viii) Lecithinase

(ix) Crepsins

(1) In addition Cobra and Krait venoms also contain highly neurotoxic non enzymatic components like basic polypeptides, which cause neuromuscular block.
(2) Viperine venom contains haemorrhagic, necrotic, coagulant and haemolytic substances which lead to extensive necrosis.
Lesions are due to intravascular coagu lation, fibrinolysis, damage to vascu lar endothelium and extensive necrosis.
(3) Venoms of Sea snake are neurotoxic. They can also cause extensive tissue

H. A. Roberts, in his paper analyses the snake remedies to their personal habits.

“However, it is charachterestic of all the snake venoms that in the provings there is an excessive sensitiveness to touch. The snake is an antagonist of every living  creature; he avoids all contact with other creatures, except for food when his is the offensive attitude. The snake does not coil to strike at haphazard; there is regularity to this posture in many snakes.

The provings of the remedies prepared from snake venoms invariably develop in the direction of the symptoms, the same direction as the snake takes in coiling. For instance, the LACHESIS always coils from the left to right; LACHESIS symptoms, in the provings, start on the left side and move towards the right, with the aggravation usually on the left.

According to the doctrine of signature,

Rising heat – snake rears up when caught

Worse for heat – prefers cool and dark

Spring aggravation – looses skin

Common Characteristics of Ophidia

1. Paralysis

Features of typical bulbar paralysis occur in Naja.

The paralysis of Ophidia group occur in right side as well as left side.

Right side

(1) Crotalus horridus

(2) Crotalus cascavella right sided hemiplegia.It is complementary to Lachesis as it completes the curative action.)

(3) Elaps corallinus

(4) Bothrops-hemiple gia with aphonia

Left Side

(1) lachesis has left sided paralysis especially from apoplexy.

There will be extensive paralysis

Naja: Bulbar paralysis, sphincter control will be lost.

Vipera: Paraplegia of lower extremities, re sembling acute ascending paralysis of Landry.

Bangarus fasciatus: Acute polioencephalitis and myelitis.

2. Constriction of throat – larynx & sphincters

(i)Lachesis: Constriction of throat, larynx and abdomen, with intolerance to least touch or pressure, especially on neck. There’ll be constriction in rectum. Anus will feel tight. There will be dysphagia for liquids as in Bothrops.

(ii) Cenchris contortrix: There’ll be constriction as in Lachesis with the neces sity for having the clothes loose. There will be vivid dreams. Like Arsenic alb, there’ll be dyspnoea; Mental and physical restlessness; Thirst for small quantities of water.

(iii) Elaps: There’ll be constriction of pharynx. Food and drinks are suddenly arrested and “ fall heavily into stomach.”

(iv) Crotalu horridus: There’ll be spasms o The patient is not able to swallow any solid substances. There’ll be an intolerance to clothing around stomach.

(v) Vipera: Tears his clothes open due to violent congestion in chest. There’ll be “Cardiac anguish with violent, chest pains.”

(vi) Naja: Grasping throat with a sense of choking. There will be asthmatic constriction in evening.

(vii) Bothrops- There will be constriction in throat with difficulty in swallowing, especially towards liquids.

3. Haemorrhages of dark, non-coagulable decomposed black blood oozing from all orifices of the body with ecchymosed.

(i) Lachesis: Oozing of dark, decomposed blood, purpura with intense prostration, epistaxis, bleeding gums. There will be haemorrhages from bowels like charred straw, black particles. There will be a general relief by menstrual flow.

(ii) Crotalus horridus: Dark non-coagulating blood; haemorrhagic diathesis; retinal haemorrhages. Blood oozes from ears. There’ll be epistaxis where the blood will be black and stringy: persistent haemorrhages; intestinal haemorrhage; bloody urine; purpura haemorrhagica; bloody sweat.

(iii) Elaps: Epistaxis; Haemorrhages from lungs as black ink. Watery haemorrhage with pain in the apex of right lung. There will be cough with expectoration of black blood. Menstrual bleeding is black In typhoid fevers when ulcers have eaten into tissues, there’ll be the discharge of black blood.

(iv) Bothrops: Haemcirrhages from all orifices, b leading to hemiplegia aphasia and dysarthria; conjunctival and retinal haemorrage; bloody stools.

(v) Vipera-Persistent epistaxis; affects especially the veins.

4. Inflammations and fevers of low destructive type

Eg: gangrene, cellulitis, malignant ul cerations, diphtherIa and typhoid etc.

(i) Lachesis; Septic states, diphtheria and other low forms of diseases with pro found prostration. There’ll be boils, carbuncles and ulcers with bluish purple surroundings; pyaemia, dissecting wounds,bedsore with black edges. bluish or baickish swellings.

(ii) Crotalus horridus: Low septic states; carbuncles; malignant scarlatina; yellow fever, plague, cholera etc. Boils, carbuncles and eruptions are surrounded by purplish, mottled skin, and oedema; lymphangitis; septicaemia.

(iii) Bothrops: Cold, swollen skin with haemorrhagic infiltrations; gangrene; lymphatics swollen; Anthrax; m erysipelas.

(iv) Vipera: Lymphangioma, boils, carbuncles with burning sensation, relieved by elevating parts Skin peels off in large plaques.

5. Nerves, specially affected by snake poisons

(I) Vagus nerve

(ii) Spinal accessory nerve ,So, characteristically we get symptoms of larynx, respiration and heart.

Ophidia medicines cause choking constrictive sensation due to pneumogastric nerve irritation.

Weak heart, cold feet and trembling.

All the medicines have dyspnoea and cardiac symptoms

6. Yellow staining or colour of skin

Most marked in Cortalus horridus, less in Lachesis and Vipera communis and Vipera torva.

7. Action on heart-Produce palpitation, dyspnoea and valvular lesions.

(i) Naja: Heart rhythm is regular, but the force of c3ntractio1rr indicated in remote effects of advanced valvular lesions. There’s a well marked frontal and temporal headache with the cardiac_symptoms. Patient is always gasping for breath.

(ii) Lachesis: Indicated in the of rheumatic heart diseases. Palpitation with fainting spells especially during the clirnacteric period; Cyanosis.

(iii) Crotalus horridus: Palpitation,espe cially during menses. Heart’s actions feeble.

(iv) Vipera-Cardiac dropsy

8. Appearance of face

Sickly, pale, anxious, bloated swollen, dark red or bluish, especially in Lachesis, Bothrops, Vipera. The face is yellow in Lachesis and Crotalus.

9 . Alteration of spinal reflexes-

Dimness of vision, excitability of brain or spinal cord resulting in mental restless ness and physical sensitiveness

Torpidity, numbness twitching and formication.

10. Initial anxiety, mental excitability and over sensitiveness

Hallucinations and fear, followed by nervous depression which varies from debility to confusion, stupor, delirium and paralysis.

11. Periodicity:

Vipera : Symptoms return anually for years

Thxicophis: Pain and fever return an nually, sometimes changing location with disappearance of the first symp toms.

Lachesis: Complaints, especially the intermittent fever, returning in every spring.

12. Swelling

(i) Clotho arictans: Excessive swelling is the characteristic feature

(ii) Toxicophis: Oedematous swelling

(iii) Naja: No haemorrhage; only oedema.

XIII Climacteric ailments:

(1) Lachesis: Haemorrhages, haemorrhoids; hot flushes, hot per spiration; burning in vertex, headache at or after menopause.

(ii) Crotalus horridus: Intense flushings and drenching perspiration. Profound anaemia. Prolonged metrorrhagia; dark offensive fluid; faintness and sinking at stomach.

(iii) Vipera: Climacteric ailments.

13. Mental Symptoms:

(i) Fear of rain: Elaps, Naja

(ii) Dreams of dead persons: Elaps, Cro talus horridus, Crotalus cascavella

(iii) Dreads to be left alone: Elaps, Naja

14. Action on liver

Hepatomegaly and Jaundice

(i) Lachesis- Liver regions sensitive. Can’t tolerate clothing around waist

(ii) Crotalus- Haemolytic jaundice; yellow conjunctiva and skin

(iii) Vipera: Violent pain. Enlarged liver with jaundice and fever pains extend to shoulder and hip

15. Sleep aggravation

(i) Lachesis: As soon as the patient falls asleep, breathing stops

(ii) Croralus horridus: Sleeps into his symptoms

(iii) Naja: Suffocative spells after sleeping

16. Dysarthria:

(i) Bothrops: Hemiplegia with aphasia; in ability to articulate without any affect tion to tongue.

(ii) Vipera: Speech is difficult

(iii) Naja: Blurred speech (bulbar paralysis)

Summary of the 12 snakes

Dendroaspis – Nothing left, no desire to live. Feels forsaken and alone. Neuralgic pains, weakness. Anger and hopelessness.

Hydrophis cyan.– Especially useful for the central nervous system and muscular disorders.

Python regia

Fear of starvation and of being alone.

Fear of being strangled, of suffocating.

Fear of weddings, the dark, catastrophes.

Loosing of one’s own identity – release of what has been confined or cut off. Coagulation.

Toxicophis pugnax

Fear of being alone.

Has many fears, easily frightened, frightful images on closing of eyes.

Terrified after dreams.

Fear alternating with sadness.

Dropsy, bone-cancer. She wishes to be a saint.

Elaps coralinus

Fear of rain.

Fear of being alone.

Fear of snakes.

Apoplexy (brain-stroke).

Dreads to be alone lest some calamity may overcome him (trembling, chattering of teeth).

Fear of fatal and impending disease.

Fear something terrible will happen.

Haemorrhage with dark or black blood. Fear of rain. Painful coldness within stomach or chest. Internal spasms.

Crotalus cascavella

Fears death – especially when alone.

Someone is behind them (at night).

Suffocation.

Being thrown from a height.

Fear of being alone.

Fear of ghosts.

Delusions/fear of ghosts and spirits. Hears voices. Dreams of spiders. Weakness of memory. Inarticulate speech. Aggressive urticaria with burning pain. Right-sided palsy.

Cenchris contortrix

Fear of being bitten by a snake.

Strong sense of anxiety with a feeling they will die suddenly.

Dreams of rape. Sensation of body being enlarged to point of bursting. Lids swollen, below and above the eyes. Increased nocturnal production of saliva.

Bothrops lanc.- Fear that his heart will stop.

Hemorrhage, thrombosis, affinity to apoplexy. Inarticulate speech. Palsy of the tongue, forgets words.

Vipera– Guilt-projection. Blood-vessels are enlarged and inflamed.

Lachesis

Fear of being damned.

Fear of falling under satanic influence.

Fear of the unknown.

Fear of dying in her sleep.

Insanity, misfortune, impending disease.

Vipera

Great anxiety and premonition of death.

Fear of thunderstorm.

Fear of travelling by car.

Fear of divine punishment and death.

Overstimulation, needs a valve/outlet. Jealousy, suspicion. Discoloration-purple, blue. Sensitivity to touch. Asthma following jealousy. Palpitation.

Crotalus horridus

Thunder and lightning.

Fear of being pursued by enemies and therefore constantly suspicious.

Fear of medicine.

Fear of public places-agoraphobia.

Fear of crowds and people.

Melancholic and indolent. Haemorrhagic diathesis – blood leaks from every body-opening. Chest-pain, weakness of the heart, haemorrhoids.

Naja

Fear of being alone.

Fear of the rain.

Suicidal, life does not really touch her. Spiritually focused (from spirituality to life). Feeling of constriction. Loud palpitation. Angina pectoris. Different heart-problems. Oedemas.

Case history

A 45-year-old man presented with complaints of heaviness and fatigue in his legs. He did not experience the symptoms when he first awakened, but they become more noticeable and prominent as the day progressed and with prolonged standing. When he stood for the majority of the day he noted swelling in both legs. The symptoms were concentrated over his medial calf, where he had prominent tortuous veins. He first noted the veins about 8 years ago when he was working in a company where he had standing job. Initially they did not cause hIM any discomfort but they have progressively enlarged and over the past 5 years have become increasingly painful. He recalls that his mother had similar veins in her legs.

Other presentations

Patient reported severe unbearable pain as if it would burst in extremities. Leg must kept elevated for relief. Intolerable itching over the varicosity on his left leg. He also complained of restlessness, swelling, and stiffness. The symptoms were worse on the left side but both legs were affected. Patients also presented with thrombophlebitis, bleeding, and venous ulceration. Thrombophlebitis presented as severe pain and erythema, with pigmentation over, and hardening of, the vein.

Patient had symptoms of pain in left leg during and after walking, he felt as if a tendon was drawing from sole of foot through bone of leg. Cramp like pains in calf, heels and toes. Sore pain in calf ; in sole of foot. Swelling of feet every evening. Itching of leg with pigmentation.

 Mentals

–         Irrational talking

–         Anguish

–         Delirium raving

–         premonition of death

–         Aggressive, no patience, tolerates no contradiction

Past history   

No major illness in past

Personal history:

Appetite                      Normal

Thirst                           NAD

Desires                        cold food,Ice creams, juice

A/F COLD in any form

BOWEL                      NAD

Urine                           NAD

Sleep & Dreams : disturb due  to itching.

Thermals CHILLY

Vital data

General Examination: Temp:  Afebrile               Pulse:77\min                 BP: 120\80 mm of Hg

Systemic Examination:

CVS: NAD                 RS: NAD             CNS: NAD

P\A: Soft, non tender; no organomegaly.

Miasmatic background

SYPHYLITIC

Analysis of symptoms

MIND – ANGUISH

MIND – TALK, talking, talks – irrational

GENERALITIES – VEINS – varicose, distended, engorged, plethoric – bursting, as if

MIND – DELIRIUM – raging, raving

MIND – DEATH – presentiment of

MIND – IMPATIENCE

PDF chilly patient,

cold weather aggravated

Totality of symptom:

1.      MIND – ANGUISH

2.      MIND – TALK, talking, talks – irrational

3.      GENERALITIES – VEINS – varicose, distended, engorged, plethoric – bursting, as if

4.      MIND – DELIRIUM – raging, raving

5.      MIND – DEATH – presentiment of

6.      MIND – IMPATIENCE

7.      Skin – discoloration, skin – blackish

8.      Constitutions – weak, constitutions

Repertorisation

Final remedy

Vipera 30 t.d.s  for 7 days

Follow up summary

Sr.no

Date

Complaints

Remedy

Reason

1           14/04/16

 

Increased weakness, complaints aggravated. S.L for 7 days. Considering it as a homoeopathic aggravation.
2           21/04/16

 

Itching complaints better,menses were scanty, not black, irritability better. S.L for 1 month.

 

As improvement is there S.L given.
3           20/05/16

 

No further improvement. Vipera 200 single dose followed by S.L for 15 days. As no further improvement seen same drug in higher dose is given.
4           1/06/16

 

Skin condition better, .

S.L for 15 days

As improvement is there S.L contd.
5. 10/06/16 Skin condition better, weakness much better S.L FOR 15 days.

 

As improvement is there S.L contd.further.

 

BEFORE  TREATMENT :      VARICOSE WITH ULCER

                                       

 

  AFTER TREATMENT:  ULCER GETS CLEARED

Case Discussion

While Vipera, like most remedies, has many symptoms, it is good to try to make sense of the symptoms, as they relate to each other. In this case, vipera covers different aspects of the physical and emotional of case. After analyzing the case and considering these facts and repertorial totality, Vipera was selected as a remedy of choice. Patient responded very well and improved almost completely.

References

  1. Leaders in Homeopathic Therapeutics : Dr E. B. Nash
  2. “Psycho-Physiological Reflections on Lachesis”: Dr E.C. Whitmont
  3. Clinical MateriaMedica-E.A. Farrington
  4. Comparative MateriaMedica-E.A. Farrington
  5. Pocket Manual of Homoeopathic Materia media-William Boericke
  6. Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica-JH Clarke
  7. Radar 10 software
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HOD &Associate Professor Department of Homoeopathic Pharmacy Dr. D.Y. Patil Homoeopathic Medical College, Pune.

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