A Supplement to Clarke's Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica
by Peter David Fraser
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.
Red tailed boa, jibóia, macajuel, Idol Snake, King Snake.
Americas from Mexico to Argentina and some Caribbean islands.
The fat of a Boa constrictor
The Boa constrictor (it is one of the few species whose common and scientific names are identical) is a constricting snake found throughout South America. It is a gentle, nocturnal snake. Its docility and beauty make it a popular pet and it is bred to produce morphs with even more remarkable skin patterns than are generally found in nature. It has been worshipped as an idol in South America. The Boidae family, which also includes the Python, is a primitive form of snake. Some species have tiny vestigial rear legs. They are non venomous and kill by wrapping themselves around their prey and constricting until lung and circulatory functions are fatally compromised. They have well developed senses in particular the forked tongue and Jacobson's organs allow them to sense odours very accurately and in stereo. They have infra red sensors in pits between the nostril and eye, which give them an accurate picture of warm blooded creatures around them even in absolute darkness. The Boa tends to hunt at night where it has the advantage of its heat vision. It manages to maintain its body heat in the darkness and does not need to warm up in the sunshine as do most cold blooded animals. After catching its prey, usually ambushing it during the hours of darkness, they swallow it whole and spend several days quietly digesting it. Boas join in copulation for at least an hour and for as long as ten. (One male prover reported an erection of extreme intensity that lasted a very long time.) The male grips the female with small spurs that are the vestiges of rear legs. Ovulation occurs two months after copulation and gestation is 108 days after that. The boa is viviparous but the eggs hatch very close to the time of birth and can sometimes hatch during or after birth.
The fat of the snake was proved by Uta Santos-König in Vienna during 1996. There were ten provers of whom three were male and seven female. They took the remedy in a 12c potency once a day over two weeks or until very unpleasant symptoms appeared.
The proving is interesting for some of the areas that did not produce symptoms. There were no skin, back or heart symptoms and, perhaps most surprising, nor respiratory symptoms. The GI tract was the most affected from the cracked lips to the burning anus. Appetite was strongly affected. One prover found she was less hungry but on the whole appetite was greatly increased, with nausea or other symptoms expressed before eating. Oddly given that the snake has a very large meal that may take days to digest, the provers seemed to want to snack regularly rather than eat large meals.
The primary emotional expression of the remedy seems to be a need for order and control of the immediate environment. The immediate reaction to a loss of control is one of anger, indignation and behaviour that others find offensive.
Uta Santos-König when looking into the Boa and particularly the Mayan mythology associated with it, was struck by the use of the word dissipation. It would seem that the Boa as a remedy is trying to hold together, to constrict, a world that is breaking up or spinning out of control, dissipating.
This need for control and order is to be found in all remedies of the Cancer Miasm and is perhaps most clearly expressed in Arsenicum. While the reaction in Arsenicum is one of anxiety, timidity and "fussing"; in Boa there is a more animal reaction of anger, irritability and fighting back.
The constricting snakes do not seem to have the sophistication in their anger or their malice that is to be found in the venomous snakes. They are not as manipulative and do not seem to be able to disguise their feelings with the attractive veneer of charm that we are used to in snake remedies. During the proving the parents of one prover felt that her beautiful big eyes became small and mean so that everyone was afraid to come close to her in case they were eaten. While another prover stated: "My dark side is coming out, I am horrible to everyone, impatient."
The effort put into constricting and controlling the environment in itself restricts activity and behaviour and so becomes constricting. The patient feels restricted and suffocated by their environment and by their interaction with it.
The other constrictor for which we have proving information is the Python. In Python the feelings are similar but they are more focussed and clearly directed. The domain in which the Python issues: the feeling of needing control and of being suffocated, occur is specifically that of relationships and partnership and not so much the general environment.
The need to control the immediate environment is a strategy that takes a great deal of energy and attention and it will always tend to lead to exhaustion and a desire to hide away which is clearly seen in the Boa constrictor. This tendency to shut down has its roots in an inability to keep the environment under control and so is form of giving up and accompanied by despair. This despair and sense of failure is overwhelming and can lead to suicidal feelings: wanting to jump from a high place or to throw themselves in front of a train.
The other strong mental feature of the remedy is a fear that she is being watched or followed. There is a great fear that she will be violently attacked. This fear is much worse at night and is accompanied by physical trembling.
The most important feature of the dreams was also a fear of being chased and of being attacked, again particularly by violent men and particularly at night. There were dreams of genocide. Dreams of dead relatives and particularly her dead father were notable. The envy and jealousy common to snakes was more apparent in the dreams than in daily life.
The most important word in describing sensations and pains is "dragging". Dragging pains and dragging sensations are experienced in almost all parts while the proving coordinator stated "None of the trials which I have ever taken part in have dragged themselves out for such a long time." Mentally this was expressed in lethargy and procrastination, an aversion to carry out her duties.
The primary affinity of the remedy is to the gastro-intestinal tract. Hunger and nausea were common and there were also dreams of food. The feeling was that she had to eat now in case there was not enough food later.
The stomach and abdomen expressed bloat and cramping pains and there was diarrhoea with painful, incomplete stool that was offensive and caused burning of the anus.
That she in pursued in the dark.
As if the right side of face didn't belong there, with numbness.
Empty feeling in head.
Feels as if lips are bloody.
Anus burns as if the stool were a hot coal.
< right side
< night (fears)
< chewing (earache)
Python regia and other constrictors. Snakes in general. Cancer miasm: Carcinosin, Arsenicum (feeling out of control). Aurum (suicidal, desire to throw themselves from a height).
Self confident. Dictatorial. Wants to decide everything. Finding fault. Irritable and moody. Impatient and offensive to everyone. Rebellious and indignant with his wife.
Quick tempered. Explosive temper. Grumbling and moaning.
Laziness. Aversion to fulfilling her duties. No desire to tidy up. Craving peace and quiet. Averse to company, less desire to speak. Forgetful. Concentration difficult, from tiredness. Loses the thread when talking. Can't pronounce words. Feeling that he has to keep his thoughts together. No desire for sex.
Sadness. Hopelessness. Weeping in the afternoon, > after weeping. Despair, feeling of failure. Suicidal thoughts, wanting to jump off somewhere, throw herself in front of a train.
Cheerful late at night.
Feeling that she is being followed, with trembling. Feeling that she is pursued in the dark with great fear. Fear that she is always being watched and pursued, by a man with a knife, < night.
Dizzy with empty feeling. Dragging headache on right side. Pain at the back of the head. Pressing pain above the ears.
Pain in right ear, radiating to eye. Dragging pains. Dragging pain in right ear radiating to the throat. Pressing pain in left ear in the morning. Stabbing pain, < chewing.
Whitish discharge. Nose blocked. Unpleasant smelling discharge. Thick yellow discharge runs down throat, tastes of blood.
Numbness on right side of face, as if it didn't belong there. Dragging pain in right upper jaw, ear and teeth. Pain and itching in lower left jaw. Pale.
Dragging pain on right side with headache. Dragging pains. Itching of teeth. Pain in back teeth.
Dry. Mouth dry at night. Splits in corner of mouth on the right side. Feels as if lips are bloody.
Stabbing pain on left side.
Appetite increased. Eating snacks rather than meals. Doesn't want to eat at mealtimes but before because she has the feeling that she won't get enough. No feeling of hunger. Craving for alcohol, for beer and for wine. Desire for black tea. Desire bread and mustard.
Dragging ache. Cramping pains. Feeling of nausea before meals with a desperate need to eat.
Dragging pain in right groin. Bloating and cramping.
Diarrhoea. Watery diarrhoea. Sudden urge to stool. Gushing diarrhoea with burning of anus. Anus burns like fire, as if the stool were a hot coal. Urgency with soft stool that is hard to expel, cannot empty bowels. Flatulence. Hard light brown stool. Stool smells foul.
Long lasting extreme erection.
Irritation in vagina. Sexual desire diminished. Profuse yellow, odourless secretion.
Cramping pain in right pectoral with twitching. Dragging in breast at menses.
Perspiration in axillae, smells spicy. Hands cold.
Dragging pain in right groin radiates over thigh to shin.
Very tired. Tiredness 6-8 p.m. Great coldness. Very sensitive to draughts. Restless. Trembling of whole body. Tired in the day, energetic in the evening.
Restless. Easy to get up in the morning. Falling asleep early in the evening. Very little need for sleep.
Dirt and dust. Woman dancing and showing off her beautiful body. Jealousy and envy. Being followed and chased. Threatening men. Suspicious people. Demanding people. Dream that anyone of African origin will be eliminated. Relatives. Her dead father. Making mistakes. Being late. Autumn leaves and colours. Changing her appearance. Food.
Fever with paleness and cold hands. Perspiration reduced.
Uta Santos-König, Clinical Trial of Adeps Boae constrictoris.