Eduardo Fornias, Bothrops lanceolatus, The Homeopathic Recorder Vol. 23, No. 10, p. 436, Oct. 1908
(The article has been edited for the reader’s convenience; the description of the snake itself is to be found on p. – Ed.)
Witnesses of the effects of the bite of Bothrops lanceolatus state that after protracted illness, those who survive, have, as a rule, the limbs cut and mutilated. The characteristic syndrome consists of sudden swelling of the parts, which soon become blue and shriveled, with acute pain, vomiting, fainting, convulsions, pain in the heart, invincible somnolency, and death after a few hours or days of suffering. In favorable cases the reaction is slow, and there is diminution or perversion of the faculty of expressing ideas by speech; that is, the articulation of words is defective; the sufferings may have a steady course for years, and vertigo, pain in the chest, anguish, confirmed aphasia, gangrene, abscesses and lameness constitute the leading expressions of the poisoning. It is said that old cicatrices do break open, bleed and become gangrenous. Moreover, that such profound morbid state as that produced by the bite of Fer de lance should translate itself, not only under the form of acute pain, but under the form of abnormal sensations (numbness, formication, itching, crawling, burning, etc.), cannot fail to be appreciated by anyone conversant with our methods of observation and experimentation.
From various observations made by officers of the French Government, the bite of the Bothrops lanceolatus is soon followed, in some cases, by heaviness of the leg and inability to stand on it, and then a profound prostration sets in, attended often by repeated fainting spells. Voluminous edema and a feeling of impending paralysis, have also been noticed. Dr Gries, of Fort-de-France (Martinique), speaks not only of enormous swellings, but of accentuated numbness of the parts bitten, and even of complete insensibility of the limb affected. Dr Lavigne, of the same locality, also alludes to acute pain, edema, vomiting, tetanic phenomena and elevation of temperature, with a crisis of profuse sweating.
This venom, however, does not seem to produce a genuine paralysis of the organs of articulation, like Naja, but a trouble of speech, which consists in impossibility of expressing thoughts by words, and in the fact that the center of verbal expression does no longer transmit words as in the normal state.
Toxic action: The wound is announced by a sudden acute pain, often accompanied with syncope. The effects are, in general, perceptible in about fifteen to twenty seconds, and the first manifestations are entirely local. The sensibility becomes blunted and may terminate in complete insensibility. These are the phenomena ordinarily present in slight morbid cases of poisoning.
The amelioration of this condition usually becomes manifest towards the fourth day, by profuse sweats and a diminution of somnolence or sopor. Sometimes the cause and termination of the malady is not so encouraging, and a more or less intense fever supervenes, with pulmonary congestion and oppression of variable intensity. Pneumonia is usually a fatal complication.
In severe cases we notice around the bite a swelling which is first pale, soon becomes livid, and finally extends to whole limb. This tumefaction is attended by a distressing sensation, radiating to epigastrium and by an indefinite malaise or general suffering, then follow nausea, vomiting, inexplicable lassitude, frequent dizziness, embarrassment of ideas, somnolence, and a deep coma which may end in death. At the same time we find the pulse and respiration are lowered, the cutaneous surfaces are more or less dark in color or more or less livid, as in the algid stage of cholera, or as in the last stage of yellow fever. Moreover, the extremities are cold, the body is bathed in a cold, clammy sweat, and repeated fainting spells precede death, which is the result of cerebral or pulmonary complications.
Sphere of Action: Like all the snake poisons Bothrops lancealotus is a powerful hemolytic. It has a special predilection for the right side of the body.
Clinical History: The homeopathic school has had only a limited experience with this remedy in aphasia. Its pathogenesis, however, seems to indicate it in yellow fever, cholera Asiatic, lipothymias, hypochondriasis, right hemiplegia, hemeralopia, amaurosis, tetanus, hemicrania, vomiting, intolerable colic, rebellious diarrhea, pulmonary congestion, malignant pneumonia, necrosis of bones, and obstinate ulcers.
Mental: Persistent hypochondriasis.
Head: Hemicrania, stupor, vertigo.
Eyes: Hemeralopia, amaurosis without any notable pupillary dilatation, persistent amaurosis.
Face: Swollen, injected, cyanotic.
Mouth: Trismus on eighteenth day; aphasia at the end of seven to fifteen hours, inability to articulate words, while the tongue retains all its liberty.
Stomach: Vomiting, extreme epigastric distress, nausea; the gastric mucosa is red and dotted.
Kidneys: Hematuria.
Chest: Precordial pains, syncope, bloody expectoration, pneumonia. The autopsy reveals black spots on the pericardium and under the endocardium; the trachea and bronchi are bluish and the heart soft and flabby.
Upper Extremities: Numbness. Soft, emphysematous-like tumefaction of the fingers, hand, arm, with very painful, livid stains. The cellular and muscular tissues are filled with black blood. An extensive phlegmon with destruction of the skin. Denudation of the bone of the forearm and of the hand. Consecutive necrosis. Paralysis of the right arm.
Lower Extremities: Enormous tumefaction of the thigh, bluish tint of the skin; sero-sanguinolent infiltration; phlyctena in hollow of the groin; gangrene of the skin in the right leg, from the knee to the foot; denudation of the lower extremity of the tibia (fifteen days after the bite); gangrene of the muscles, destruction of the whole cutaneous surface of the leg, denuded muscles, extensive suppuration; unbearable pain in the right big toe (the patient was bitten in the thumb of the left hand); gangrenous ulcers of right toe; paralysis of the right leg.
Fever: Coldness; general heat; frequent, tight pulse; chills, abundant sweats.
Skin: Abundant cold sweats at the beginning and end of the malady. Skin bluish, as from deep and extensive contusion. Skin yellow, as in yellow fever. Phlyctena. Blackish, serous infiltration, both subcutaneous and intramuscular. Gangrene of the skin. The wounds heal slowly.
Sleep: Tendency to sleep, somnolence; coma, deeper and deeper until death.
General Symptoms: Nervous trembling; syncope; sudden or rapid death without agony; general debility and emaciation; hemorrhages from various outlets, principally from the wounds; opisthotonos after eighteen days.
The description from Choudhuri is vivid:
The best way to study this remedy is to have a visual image of case of bite by this dangerous reptile. It resembles a case of septicaemia of the worst type.
The bitten limb swells speedily to an enormous size. It becomes soft and flabby as if full of gas. The whole limb becomes infiltrated with a bloody serum – the infiltrated limb looking discolored with blotches of blue. Very soon extensive suppuration sets in, the skin and flesh coming off in bits, The result is an alarming process of moist of gangrene, exposing the bones, tendons and the harder tissues. The whole limb is dissected alive. Colliquation succeeds and if the patient does not already die from effects of purulent absorption, fatal syncope sets in.
One remarkable feature about Bothrops lanceolatus poisoning is that the blood becomes extremely fluid and dark, and sometimes spouts out in jets.
Complete Repertory
The following additions are from Eduardo Fornias, Bothrops lanceolatus, Homeopathic Recorder, Vol. 23, No. 10, p. 436, Oct. 1908.
Stupefaction, as if intoxicated
Unconsciousness, coma, stupor, syncope
Pain, general, migraine
Head pain, one-sided
Blindness, daytime amel.
Discolouration, cyanotic
Bloody, spitting of blood
Inflammation, lungs
Pain, general
Pain, heart
Pain, region of heart
Abscess, leg
Gangrene, threatened with blue parts
Gangrene, leg
Gangrene, toes
Heaviness, lower limbs
Paralysis, hemiplegia, right
Suppuration, leg
Ulcers, first toes
Coldness in general
Heat in general
Cicatrices bleeding
Cicatrices break open
Discolouration, blackish
Discolouration, bluish
Discolouration, yellow
Pain, burning
Ulcers, gangrenous
Faintness, fainting
Haemorrhage, dark blood
Inflammation, gangrenous
Numbness, externally
Paralysis, right-sided with aphasia
Paralysis, one-sided with aphasia
Swelling in general
Swelling, oedema
Trembling, nervous
Vermeulen’s Concordat
Its venom is most coagulating (also Lach.). We should expect to find under these remedies the symptomatology of thrombosis, also thrombotic phenomena, such as hemiplegia, aphasia, inability to articulate (Linn J. Boyd). Broken-down, hemorrhagic constitutions; septic states. Great lassitude and sluggishness; hemorrhages from every orifice of the body; black spots. Hemiplegia and aphasia. Inability to articulate, without any affection of the tongue. Nervous trembling. Pain in right big toe. Diagonal course of symptoms. Pulmonary congestion. Paralysis of one arm or one leg only. Slight shivering, followed by profuse sweat. Bone becomes bare from gangrene and becomes necrotic. { Right side.
Aphasia. Forgetful of words while speaking. Mistakes, using wrong words.
Amaurosis; blindness from hemorrhage into retina. Hemoralopia, day blindness, can hardly see her way after sunrise; conjunctival hemorrhage.
Swollen and puffy. Besotted expression.
Red, dry, constricted; swallowing difficult, cannot pass liquids.
Epigastric distress. Black vomiting. Intense hematemesis.
Tympanites and bloody stools.
Swollen, livid, cold and hemorrhagic infiltration. Gangrene. Lymphatics swollen. Anthrax. Malignant erysipelas.
Worse: Right side.
Compare: Other serpent poisons; Bell. (night blindness); Trach. (Stingfish; intolerable pains, swelling, acute blood poisoning, gangrene).
Vermeulen’s Synoptic II
Bothrops lanceolatus.
The South and Middle American genus Bothrops belonging to the family of the Crotalidae, as are Cenchris, Crotalus and Lachesis includes various extremely poisonous varieties of snake, of which Bothrops lanceolatus or Fer-de-lance is the main one. This animal is indigenous from Mexico to Brazil and can also be found on many of the West-Indian islands. The name lanceolatus is due to the snake’s flat mouth that tapers off to a point (like a lance). It can grow up to two metres, and lives in forests and beside flowing water. The young snakes climb trees, while the adults stay on the ground, preferably in damp scrub. They can chase their enemies by beating the point of their tail very rapidly on the ground, which creates an alarming sound. The young snakes probably feed on frogs, but the adults mainly eat small mammals.
They are extremely fertile creatures; each female gives birth to 70 young at a time.
“When young the Bothrops lanceolatus lives chiefly on lizards, later on birds, and finally on rats. It causes, like Crotalus horridus, the largest number of deaths. It is of all the serpents, the one which, in the act of biting, opens the jaws more widely apart. In the impenetrable woods, it lies quiet as death, seldom disturbed but by the singing of some birds that live in the wilderness. The night is the time of its wandering, and it has been seen in the roads crossed by men during the day. During the day time and while resting, it lies rolled up in ring shape, with the head in the centre, but when disturbed, it stretches itself the whole length, and like an arrow springs mercilessly at the enemy, and rolls up again into a ring after the danger is over. Its attack is always powerful, and after a bite is ready for the next. When mad may bite its victim twice or more. While crawling it proudly holds its head up, and moves with such lightness that no noise is heard or impression left in its track. Even the young are very lively and vicious.” (Fornias, Hom. Rec., Oct. 1908)
The family of Crotalidae is characterised by grooves on the sides of the head, between the eye and nose opening, which are highly sensitive to temperature fluctuations and are good warmth detectors.
No provings have been carried out with Bothrops. The symptoms are based on the effects of bites from the snakes and on a few clinical experiences. Although the finer details are lacking, this information provides quite a clear picture.
The initial stages after the bite are roughly the same as after a bite from Crotalus: intense pain accompanies the spreading of the immediate oedema, followed by serous bloody infiltration of the subcutaneous interstitial tissue with ecchymoses and hemorrhaging. There is also hemorrhaging in the swollen mucous membranes. The mucous membrane of the throat becomes totally dry, accompanied by intense thirst. After some time, death occurs through exhaustion. With a less acute and non-fatal case, suppuration, necrosis, gangrene and rejection of tissue (to the very bones). The consequences are generally more serious than those of a Crotalus bite. This is probably due to the stronger tendency of Bothrops poison towards thrombosis and embolism, which is why it causes paralysis. In addition, acute blindness, which remains for quite some time, has been known to occur after a Bothrops bite.
Introduced by Ozanam. Drug picture based on observations of 15 persons bitten by the snake.
Lachesis. Phosphorus. Crotalus horridus. Arsenicum. Belladonna. Causticum. Vipera.
BLOOD. BLOODVESSELS. Nerves. Cellular tissue. * Right side.
* Common themes of snake remedies (according to Mangialavori):
•Forsaken feeling. (With snakes, there is no relationship between a mother and her young.)
•Sensation of constriction.
•{ Clothing. (Snakes must regularly shed their skin in order to continue to fits their bodies.)
•{ Swallowing lump in throat. (Prey is swallowed whole.)
•Loquacity. (Only the Crotalidae rattle, the other varieties do not.)
•One-sided symptoms.
•Sensitive to temperature. (Snakes can register the slightest fluctuations in temperature.)
•Congestion; swollen sensation.
•{ After sleep. (Snakes are nocturnal creatures: during the day, they are quite apathetic, unless disturbed.)
•Particularly complaints of nervous system and circulation.
•Religious affections. (Paradise snake.)
•Sense of persecution. (The tragic fate of many a snake.)
* Common themes of snake remedies (according to Jayesh Shah):
•Demand attention.
•Must be attractive.
•Love of colours, music.
•Strong fear and dreams of snakes.
•Marked PMS.
•Strong fear of water, of drowning.
•Dreams about dead people.
Inability to articulate, without any affection of the tongue.
Word hunting; forgetful of words while speaking.
Indisposed to talk.
G Right-sided complaints.
Or crosswise.
“Stabbing pain from right nipple through to back, worse deep inspiration, raising left arm (as in putting on overcoat).”
“Sensation of fullness in right ear.”
Right-sided headache.
Blueness of right hand, worse letting hand hang by the side, worse carrying anything, worse leaning on hand (*)
Blood thin, pale; does not coagulate.
Blood dark.
G Slight shivering followed by very profuse cold sweat.
“Profuse sweat; warm on covered parts; cold, clammy, sticky on the hands.” (*)
G General feeling of amelioration in a warm room. (*)
G Pains and exhaustion and depression. (*)
G “Putrid, carrion-like odour, not traced definitely to perspiration or to breath; not perceptible to or near the prover but noticeable at a distance of five or six feet; worse after exertion, unusual strain or broken rest.” (*)
G Sudden momentary giddiness; tendency to fall to the right side; to the left side; comes suddenly and goes as suddenly.
Giddiness on carrying a heavy package; on raising the arms level with the shoulders; on exertion; on turning in bed, the room seems to turn around; on rising from a seat. (*)
P Right-sided headache.
Dull pain in right side of head.
Sensation of a nail in right parietal bone.
Dull pain in right side of occiput.
Headache returns on going into open air. (*)
P Day blindness; “can scarcely see her way after sunrise.”
P Face bluish or dark red; bloated.
“Veins on the nose like little purple threads.” (*)
P Swallowing liquids more difficult than solids.
P Heart.
Pressing ache extending to left axilla, wakening from sleep, esp. 4 to 6 a.m.
Persistent pressure about cardiac region as if there was not sufficient room for the heart,
Worse: after midnight to sunrise.
Fear that heart will stop beating.
Sticking in heart region, worse severe exertion, worse deep breathing, worse talking; worse motion, worse walking; worse reaching across desk with left arm; worse on inspiration.
Sharp sticking stabbing with each inspiration, which is a little deeper than usual. Sticking in heart region on getting out of bed in the morning. (*)

MIND: Aphasia (2); inability to articulate without any affection of the tongue (1/1). Forgetful of words while speaking, word hunting (3).
HEAD: Cerebral haemorrhage (3). Ailments from injuries of the head (1).
EYE: Apoplexy of retina (1). Bleeding from eyes (1); from retina and blindness (1; Crot-h.).
VISION: Dim vision during daytime (1); worse sunlight (2). Loss of vision at daytime (2); in evening at twilight (1); from retinal hemorrhage (1; Crot-h.).
NOSE: Epistaxis, dark (1); fluid (1).
FACE: Discolouration dark (1); dark red (1). Expression besotted (1).
THROAT: Difficult swallowing of liquids (1); liquids more difficult than solids (2).
STOMACH: Vomiting black (1); blood (1).
FEMALE: Metrorrhagia fluid (2).
LARYNX: Speech slow (2); stammering (1); wanting (1); lost (2).
EXTREMITIES: Blue discolouration of thighs (1). Gangrene to the bones (1/1). Milk leg (3). Paralysis from hemiplegia (2). Bluish swelling of joints (1; Lach.). Thrombosis of lower limbs (2).
SKIN: Discolouration, blackish spots (1); pale spots (1).
GENERALITIES: Side, crosswise, left upper and right lower (2); crosswise, left lower and right upper (2).
They behave as if they have had a stroke. One case of mine a patient’s leg was badly infected after surgery for varicose veins
Case MR 1953
Case BG 2797

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