Keynotes and materia medica
Sudden onset: especially of septic states; with rapid progression of the disease leading to prostration and nervousness Sepsis: septic conditions, blood poisoning with hemorrhages; in any acute illness i.e. typhoid, diphtheria, puerperal fever, dysentery (from bad water or food Ars., Pyr.,), malignant scarlet fever smallpox cholera, yellow fever, tubular nephritis, acute alcoholism (with the delirium tremens), hydrophobia, epilepsy etc. It is a specific for black-water fever (S.H. ). Or from insect stings/bites, burns, abscesses (with sepsis).
Hemorrhage: bleeding from all orifices in the body (eyes, ears, nose, stomach, mucous membranes everywhere, bowels, uterus). Even the sweat is bloody (axillae/anywhere). The blood oozes out and is black, fluid and thin and keeps on flowing. Or it is partly clotted.
Jaundice: due to haemolytic anemia (rather than hepatic). The skin is mottled -blue intermingled with yellow.
Prostration: general collapse with weak pulse; a rapidly increasing unconsciousness; slides down in the bed.
Nervousness: there is a tremulous weakness; the tongue quivers on protruding it; twitching and trembling of muscles (chorea-like); convulsions (in septic states).
Besotted: in appearance, like one intoxicated; bloated; blue, mottled (blue and yellow) or pale.
Pains: come on suddenly, last some time and disappear suddenly.
Malignancy: with hemorrhage; cancer of stomach, of tongue, of uterus; with ulceration, and jaundice.
Oedema: of parts affected with sepsis; of tongue (tongue can be dry/cracked with a central brown streak).
Offensiveness: of breath (which smells mouldy); of urine; of all discharges
Ulceration: anywhere (mouth/stomach etc.); in mouth, bleeding -after Merc-s in those with increased salivation (Kent).
Neuralgia: after sepsis (or malaria).
Bilious: sick headache with vomiting of bile; nausea, vomiting, distention ++.
Menopause: with hot flushes and heavy sweating; with hemorrhage from uterus (esp. with cancer of uterus) and jaundice.
Melancholy; thoughts dwell on death in a disinterested way.
Weeps easily: while reading.
Irritable: from trifles (Nux-v.)
Aversion to certain family members: in delirium, sepsis or dementia
Terrible dreams: of death, murder, dead bodies
Differential diagnosis with lachesis
The snakes have many similarities, all affect the cerebrospinal nerve centres and the blood (causing decomposition/ a breaking down).
Crotalus and Lachesis have the following similar symptoms:
• An aggravation on waking (after sleep) -Lachesis more so.
• Intolerance for tight clothing (especially around the neck)-Lachesis more so.
• Both are hemorrhagic remedies: Crotalus is more so.
• Both have blueness of the parts: Lachesis is more so.
• Both have yellowness and jaundice, Crotalus is more so.
• Both are loquacious, Crotalus mumbles and stumbles and can talk to him/herself in a low, passive way. Lachesis talks fast, is more lucid and finishes other peoples sentences and stories (Crotalus can do this too), tells stories and is more wild and excited.
• Both talk of death, only Lachesis is more scared, Crotalus more apathetic.
• Both have a sense of constriction, of tightness around the throat with difficulty swallowing. Crotalus has difficulty swallowing solids, Lachesis has more difficulty with fluids than solids (and more difficulty still with empty swallowing than with fluids).
• They can both have one-sided symptoms. Crotalus is more right-sided; Lachesis is more left-sided.
• Crotalus has a cold, dry skin (especially cold extremities); Lachesis has a cold, clammy skin.
• Crotalus is worse for cold air (respiratory symptoms); Lachesis is worse for heat.
• Both have trembling of the tongue when protruding it; Lachesis more so.
Comparative materia medica
Hemorrhage (snake) remedies:
• Crot-h.-dark, fluid blood (partly coagulates)
• Elaps -dark, fluid blood (no clotting)
• Lach.-blood with charred straw sediment; hemorrhage amel.
• Naja -blood coagulates into long strings, least hemorrhagic of all snakes.
• Tarentula -axillary abscesses and septic insect bites
• Sepsin -septic dysentery (see Clarke)
• Pyrogen -restlessness, high temperature with low pulse (or v.v. – not as often).
• Anthrac -anthrax; boils, carbuncles with burning pains.
• Crotalus cascavella has the same sensitiveness and intolerance to tight clothing (as Crotalus horridus and Lachesis) and some liver symptoms, some yellowness and some bleeding, but these symptoms are not as marked. Crotalus cascavella affects the tissues less and the mentals more.
Heart symptoms are not as marked with Crotalus horridus -as with the other snake remedies (Naja, Lach., Elaps). Boils, abscesses, carbuncles, whitlows etc. -oozing thick black blood that does not coagulate (Arsenicum, Lachesis, Secale.). Puerperal fever with continued oozing of black offensive blood that does not coagulate (Sec.). Prostration with sepsis (Bapt., Ars., Sec., other snakes and sometimes Arn., Phos., Pyr.,-Kent *). Sepsis (Lach., Crot-h., Tarent-c., Anthrac., Pyr., Sepsin.-Tyler). Also consider: Secale, Kreosotum, Terebinthina.
The chronic picture
Makes lots of mistakes in writing and calculating (in broken down constitutions).
Irritable. Excitable (can get to fever pitch over certain things).
Suspicious of friends (can’t be rational).
Change of weather to warm aggravates.
Periodicity (yearly or every 3 months).
Craving for stimulants, especially alcohol.
Delirium tremens in “old inebriates” who look besotted, with a purple face and a craving for alcohol, especially wine.
“It is remarkable how much alcohol can be swallowed by persons bitten by serpents, without the usual psychological manifestations.”
Great difficulty sleeping. Terrible dreams, of murder, death, dead people, dead bodies (they can even smell the dead bodies). Wake in fright and become increasingly tired.
Miranda Castro FSHom, RSHom (NA), and is a Fellow of the Society of Homœopaths (UK), is a recently registered member of NASH. She is author of The Complete Homeopathy Handbook and Homeopathy for Pregnancy, Birth and Your Baby’s First Year (Homeopathy for Mother and Baby in the UK). Miranda teaches in the US and the UK, and has recently emigrated to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she is writing another book.