A Supplement to Clarke's Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica

by Peter David Fraser



Blatta orientalis

Indian Cockroach

Roach, Black Beetle, Water Bug.

Originally from Africa now distributed worldwide.

The living insect is crushed and can be either triturated or tinctured and then succussed.

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Arthropoda

Class: Insecta

Order: Blattaria

Family: Blattidae





Chronic fatigue





The remedy was used on the anecdotal evidence of a man who was cured of asthma after consuming a cup of tea into which a cockroach had fallen. Dr D.N. Ray of Calcutta reported a number of cases of asthma cured with Blatta which are found in Anshutze's New, Old and Forgotten Remedies. A proving was conducted in 1995 by Dr Munjal Thakar, Co-ordinator Spandan Holistic Institute, Ahmedabad Branch, which confirmed many of the known physical symptoms and introduced an interesting mental picture. There were five provers, four female and one male. Alastair Gray conducted a proving in Sydney in 2002. There were eleven provers, nine female and two male.

The cockroach is a pest found all over the world, ten percent of properties in the world are estimated to be infested. It likes a cooler and damp environment, living outdoors in sewers and under rocks and leaf mould. Indoors it is much more likely to be found on the ground floor than higher up and likes places where there is some water. It is incredibly hardy both as a species having survived from the cretaceous period at least 65 million years ago and individually. They can survive radiation doses that may be 100 times greater than those fatal to humans. They can live for a month without food and for two weeks without water. If one's head is cut off it can survive for at least ten days and when it does die it is from starvation.

The adult is shiny black or dark brown, younger ones are lighter. The females are twice the size of the males. The females have wing pads and walk almost dragging their abdomens on the ground while the males have wings and walk with their bodies lifted higher, neither can fly. The nymphs are similar to the adults but have no wings. The female produces an egg case about once a month, up to eighteen in her lifetime, she carries the egg case around until she finds a place that is safe, moist and well provided with food. Unlike other species of cockroach they do not tend their young. The eggs take about two months to hatch and then a year for the nymphs to fully develop. In mating the male is very direct and the female calm, though only one in twenty matings are successful.

The cockroach is nocturnal and avoids the light.

They do not have specialized mouth parts and can eat or drink practically anything but prefer sugary and starchy foods. They have an unpleasant odour and can contaminate food by moving between it and rotting garbage.

Cockroaches contain similar allergens to shellfish and their waste and body parts in the air can cause or exacerbate asthma.

The main feeling of the remedy is one of indifference and of numbness. In the proving there was a lack of feeling, especially towards family and those they were close to. It appeared that the provers had become more patient and less likely to anger but this was only because they did not care. There was some physical numbness and there was a lack of facial expression. Sad stories and sad music did not affect her, though one prover became more sentimental and more prone to cry.

There is a strong desire to be left alone and an unwillingness to talk or interact. Other people's desire to interact was met with anger and irritability. There is a feeling that people are taking up there space. Everything and everyone seem to be moving too slowly, which they found irritating. They are also too loud and annoy the people around them. They are sensitive to noise, to touch and to smells, particularly bad smells. They are irritated by everything, even their children irritate them and they want to push them away.

There was a fearfulness, fear that someone is under the bed. They are easily startled. The fear and the starting were also in dreams and during sleep.

There is a feeling of being tipsy and considerable difficulty in concentrating with a tendency to make mistakes. There is dizziness that is worse for looking backwards and a feeling of falling forward on looking down. Also a feeling of floating or that others would float away. There was also a sensitivity to alcohol, becoming drunk easily.

One prover felt that she was very tall, had long legs and was looking down on everything. The proving revealed a desire to be noticed, respected and acknowledged, especially in a professional sense. There was a desire to excel and not just to be an average worker. There was a desire to look good and to wear fine clothes but this was more to do with looking the part of the professional than personal vanity. There was a desire to be noticed and admired and adored, again in a professional capacity rather than a personal one. There was a reciprocal admiration and adoration of their teachers and colleagues and a desire to emulate them but also a willingness to be argumentative in order to be noticed and a degree of professional jealousy. There was also jealousy or envy of what other people had that she did not. This jealousy was also found in dreams.

Some of this was expressed as a need to find her identity.

There was also a desire to be a good person and a sense of remorse and guilt when this was not the case. Again this was particularly so in the professional arena, where there was a tendency to use "the tricks of the trade" but considerable remorse about having done so.

The male prover experienced sudden sexual desires with a desire to talk in a vulgar way about his sexual fantasies. Again this alternated with a feeling of guilt and considerable remorse. There was a fear that he was losing control and would do some terrible sexual thing to his girlfriend. There was a peculiar sensation on sexual arousal of having already had sex and a sensation in the urethral region of having ejaculated. Eventually numbness took over and there was a complete indifference to sex.

There was a feeling of being dirty as well as bad. This was also expressed physically as in the tongue which was described as dirty.

Discharges, the coating of the tongue, discolouration of the face are all yellow in colour.

There was a desire for order and for doing things in an orderly and systematic way. There was a feeling that things were working in this smoothly and systematically. If things had to be done they needed to be done right away and she could not relax or laze around until they had been done. Again everyone else seemed to move too slowly.

In the remedy there is a sensitivity to cold and a tendency to catch cold, which develops into bronchitis and eventually into chronic respiratory problems.

The asthma is worse at night and the sufferer is unable to sleep because it is impossible to lie down. They must sit propped up in order to avoid suffocation. Attempts to clear the mucus by coughing lead to profuse cold perspiration and exhaustion but produce little expectoration. It is also aggravated by humid cold weather. Vithoulkas stresses that it is especially when there is a smell of mould in the air. The attacks recur but without any particular pattern and though the attacks may be severe; between attacks the patient may be perfectly well.

The cough is short, dry, hacking and unproductive. Streaks of blood appear in the sputum which may cause great anxiety though the patient is not generally anxious.

The patient radiates heat from any part of the body, but is sensitive to cold. Heat in the abdomen, palms, soles and face. One prover had hot flushes that felt as if hot vapours were coming out of her body while a friend said that if you sat next to her the radiation of heat was suffocating and that she felt feverish to the touch. Desire for open air, to uncover, to remove clothes and to be fanned, better for open air and from a cold bath. Feels suffocated and wants the fan and to throw off the covers; but also feels chilly and wants to be covered and switch off the fan.

As with most insects there is itching and irritability though in Blatta it is more the internal, mucus surfaces that itch.

There is coryza and a blocked sensation in the nose often accompanied by sneezing.

There is photophobia and a need to close the eyes in the sunlight. The eyes are itchy with a feeling of grittiness. The sleep patterns were also nocturnal with difficulty sleeping in the night but a tendency to sleepiness during the day. Symptoms were worse at night and on waking.

Some provers desired cakes and pastries and even dreamt of them; others wanted fruit and wholesome food.

Generally pains were burning in nature. The lips, mouth, throat and oesophagus as well as the anus had burning sensations, There are also stitching and stabbing pains.

Heaviness is a common feature. The head, stomach, tongue and other parts felt swollen and heavy as if they were being pulled or dragged down. Exhaustion is common to the Insects and is found in Blatta. One prover was relieved of her long standing chronic fatigue.

One of the provers who had had acne with large pustular eruptions and much scarring found the acne and the old scar disappeared after the remedy. Everyone said that she looked much more beautiful. Erythematous rash precede by itching, the itching is pleasant and ameliorated by scratching. Eruptions like the bites of mosquitoes.

Peculiar sensations

Numbed feeling.

As if drunk.

Sensation of floating.

Sensation of being very tall.

Feels like my body moves and then I move after it.

Sensation as if head would burst from irritation.

Tongue feels heavy.

Sensation that tongue is dirty with desire to wash it.

Abdomen heavy as if full of water.

Sensation of having already had sex on sexual excitement.

Sensation in the urethral region of having already ejaculated, on sexual arousal.

As if a heavy weight on the chest.

As if breathing from the trachea not the lungs.

As if lungs not expanded enough.

Shoulders feel as if dragged down towards feet.

Sensation of warmth in legs.

Excess of heat radiating from the whole body.

As if hot vapours are coming out of the body.

As if bitten by mosquitoes.


< night (asthma, cough, congestion)

< lying down

> sitting up, > bending forward

< cold wet weather

< coughing (headache)

< standing < walking < stretching (pain in ankles)

< talking (breathlessness)

< on waking (breathlessness, irritability)

> open air (fever)

< left side



Blatta american (has more oedema), Other insects, Antimonium tartaricum, Sambucus, Arsenicum, Carbo vegetabilis, Drug remedies, Opium (Indifference),


Damp, mouldy air.


Stool & Anus
Neck & Back
Upper Limbs
Lower Limbs


Restlessness. Indifference. Emotional dullness. Numbness, lack of feeling. More tolerant but perhaps through a lack of caring. Feeling cool and indifferent, reactions are cool. Coldness and indifference in his reactions to others. More patient because less reactive. Apathy. Emotionally disinterested. Not showing emotions, emotions are very controlled. Indifference to her appearance. No feeling on seeing something sad or listening to sad music. Indifferent to those she usually cares about.

Emotionally sensitive, weeping from emotions. Cries in public.

Desire for order. Wants life to be systematic. Must do everything on time and for a fixed period of time. Feels sophisticated, that everything is happening as he wants it to. Cool and able to handle situations. If she has something to do she must do it immediately, doesn't want to leave anything hanging. Doesn't want to rest until the job is complete. Desire to excel, not to be an average worker.

Need to establish her identity.

A feeling of being very tall, of having long legs, of looking down on everything. Desire to dress up, to wear fine and impressive clothes. Jealous of those who have fine clothes. Envious of people who have things. Feeling that she must wear fine clothes and look good. She is more feminine, more ladylike. Desire for possessions and for her own space. Conscious of the image she projects. Appreciative of compliments, comparing herself to others. Desire to be noticed. Arguing just so that she will be noticed. Desire to be a good human being. Desire for appreciation and for respect. Desire to be famous. Desire to be praised. Desire to be noticed and respected by her teachers or superiors. Excessive admiration and adoration of her teachers. Professional jealousy.

Feels that he is using people to advance his career. Using cheap tricks of the trade that he knows to be wrong.

Feel tipsy, as if drunk. Concentration difficult. Making mistakes. Disorganized.

Very sensitive. Irritable. Snappy and cranky. Irritability and an angry response without provocation. Desire to be left alone. No desire to talk to anyone. Irritable when someone tries to talk to her. Irritation as if head would burst. Sensitive to smells and noises. Aversion to her children. Abrupt and curt to people with a feeling of guilt. Talking too loud and annoying people. Does not wish to interact with people. Desire to be alone. Aggravated that people are in her space. Everything and everyone is moving too slowly. Feels like my body moves and then I move after it.

Fear of being attacked.

There is some fear of being attacked and paranoia and suspicion.

Sudden sexual excitement with a desire to talk in a vulgar way. Sexual desire followed by remorse, praying for forgiveness, self-condemnation and a sense of being bad or dirty. Dread of morbid sexual attraction. Sudden sexual desire with a feeling of already having had sex. Fear of losing control, that he would do something terrible to his girlfriend (in a sexual way). Losing control over his sexual thoughts and saying sexual things he did not want to say. Alternation between vulgar sexual talking and guilt and remorse. Need to suppress sexual desire out of a sense of guilt.


Tipsy, as though everything is swaying back and forth slightly. Dizziness as if about to faint. Dizziness < looking backward. Feeling of falling forwards when looking down. Sensation of floating.

Head feels big, > drinking water. Dull ache in left temple or above left eye. Head pain made worse by the cough. Boil on the right side of the occiput < hard pressure.


Photophobia. Muscae volitantes. Loss of peripheral vision. Burning in the eyes, with lachrymation. Sleep and grit in the eyes. Eyes itching. Dull ache and burning pains. Worse from reading and draft of air. Burning in right eye, < in the sun, had to close her eyes, > washing with water. Pupils dilated. Can't bear to be in the sun, must close the eyes, it is the light not the heat. Sunlight too bright in the afternoon.


Sensitive to noise. Sounds irritate. Ears blocked, hearing as through cotton balls.


Nose sensitive to odours, particularly horrible odours. More aware of her own body odour. Left nostril blocked. Burning in right nostril with coryza and sneezing. Frequent sneezing. Itching and tickling sensations in the nostrils. Face

Face flushed. Yellow discolouration. Lack of expression. Acne. Acne on the cheek.



Sore and burning. Lips dry and burning. Lips too sensitive. Numbness of lips. Breath smells offensive. Pus-like taste in the mouth. Tongue swollen and sore. Yellow discolouration on the tongue. Tongue is dirty and want to wash it. Tongue feels heavy.


Throat feels swollen or constricted. Sore throat > sipping warm water. Left sided congestion, with pricking sensation. Burning pains. Irritation as from tickling in the throat. Cough with a desire to clear the throat. Sensation of something light stuck in the throat with occasional sharp pains.


Desire for pastries. Craving for sweets. Desire for fruit and natural foods. Aversion to oily food and all food tasted oily. Hunger on waking. Aggravation from alcohol. Thirst < night, waking in order to drink. Lack of thirst. Very full from drinking small amounts of water.


Burning in oesophagus. Tasteless eructations. Hunger around noon. Hunger as if stomach is totally empty and must eat something. Hunger passes off on eating a little.


Stabbing pains in abdomen as if a knife going through the side. Heaviness in the lower abdomen with flatulence. Heavy as if full of water. Uneasiness in the abdomen. Eruptions on the right side of abdomen. Erythematous eruption along the dermatome, as in Herpes zoster.

Stool and Anus

Sudden severe urge to stool. Urge recurring within 10-15 minutes of satisfactory stooling without a sense of incomplete evacuation. Anus sore and burning after diarrhoea.

Urinary Organs

Male Sexual Organs

Sexual excitement. Sudden urge to have sex. Sudden sexual urge with feeling as if already had sex. On sexual arousal a sensation in the urethral region of already having ejaculated. Sexual desire completely absent.

Female Sexual Organs

Watery menses as if a few drops of blood diluted in a glass of water. Menses delayed. Menses heavy flow. Menses profuse. Acne before menses. Lack of libido.

Respiratory Organs

Dyspnea. Extreme difficulty breathing. Breathlessness at night. Shortness of breath on first waking. Sensation that lungs will not expand enough, that she is breathing from her trachea not her lungs. Desire for fresh air and fanning. Spasmodic cough. Dry hacking cough, which exhausts. Short dry cough. Unable to raise mucus leading to suffocation when lying down. Must sit up. Streaks of blood in the sputum. After crisis, quantities of mucus in yellow lumps.


Sensation as if a heavy weight on the chest. Heaviness on the sternum when talking, can't finish the sentence. Chest feels tight, air does not flow naturally. Pain on right side of chest. Cramping pain in ribs. Pain deep in breasts. Breasts swollen.


Neck and Back

Aching pain around or between scapulae.

Limbs in general

Upper Limbs

Stiffness in left index finger (after dreaming of it). Ache in the bones of the thumb. Shoulders heavy and feel as if pulled down.

Lower Limbs

Pain in leg, foot. Tingling and numbness of legs. Weakness in hollow of the knee. Cramps. Pain in ankles < standing, < walking, < stretching. Calves and ankles swollen. Sensation of warmth in legs. Restlessness in legs. Legs feel light as if they wanted to run.


Numbness. Flu like symptoms. Whole body aches. Weakness > sleep. Exhaustion. Feeble and exhausted from inability to sleep. Feel chilly but suffocated by covers, wants to cover herself but then throws off the covers. Feel suffocated but the fan makes me feel chilly. Unable to lie down, must sit up. Sensitive to alcohol.


Eruptions as if bitten by mosquitoes. Eruptions preceded by itching. Itching pleasant and better for scratching. Urticaria. Acne with scarring from large and pustular eruptions. Hyperpigmentation.


Uneasiness in sleep, waking every hour. Waking feeling heavy and unrefreshed. Waking feeling she had not slept properly. Can't seep during the night. Sleepy during the day, sleepless at night. Extreme sleepiness at nightfall. Tired at night but can't sleep, sleeping during the day. Only sleeping well in the morning. Feeling suffocated by covers. Yawning. Sleeping on stomach.


Confused and unremembered dreams. Of eating cakes and pastries. Of Gypsies, dancing and music with sense of community. of jealousy. Buying clothes. Stiffness of fingers. Of helping someone. Slighted by her teacher. Black shiny ant. Of being attacked. Of being chained to a bed in the dark.


Flushes of heat. Radiating heat from any part of the body. Sensation that heat or hot vapours are coming out of the body. Desire to uncover, remove clothes and be fanned. Better from open air and from a cold bath. Profuse clammy perspiration.


Anshutze, P. New, Old and Forgotten Remedies.

Gray, A. The Homœopathic Proving of Blatta Orientalis. www.grayhomeopathy.com

Thakar, M. The Homœopathic Proving of Blatta Orientalis. www.hominf.org

Vithoulkas, G. Materia Medica Viva.