A Supplement to Clarke's Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica

by Peter David Fraser



Dendroaspis polylepis

Dendroaspis polylepis

Black Mamba

Found in many parts of South and East Africa.


Dilution and succusion of the venom taken from a live snake and mixed in glycerin.

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Reptilia

Order: Squamata

Suborder: Serpentes

Family: Elapidae


Typhoid fever


The Black Mamba is one of the most dangerous of all the snakes. In Africa it is second only to the King Cobra in size with an average length of 2.5m and a maximum of 4.5m. Its venom is one of the most deadly, 10-15mg can kill a man and they can inject up to 400mg. It is the fastest of all the snakes able to move at up to 20km/h. It is also aggressive all of which make for a very dangerous animal. However, it does not generally attack unless threatened or the path back to its lair iis blocked and prefers to run off at great speed. It is not as ubiquitous or as unnecessarily aggressive as the Puff Adder which cause more bites but it is more deadly. Untreated the fatality rate from Black Mamba bites is 100%, the higher than any other snake.

The venom is neurotoxic and cardiotoxic. The bite is somewhat painful in the area of the bite. This is followed by tingling in the extremities, drooping of the eyelids, tunnel vision, sweating and slaivation and lack of muscle tone, especially in tongue and mouth. There is a rapid onset of nausea, respiratory difficulties, confusion and paralysis. The end state, can come in as little 20 minutes, and includes convulsions, coma and fatal respiratory failure caused by paralysis of the respiratory muscles.

They are solitary animals that come together only to mate, after which the male returns to his lair and the female to hers where she lays 10 to 25 eggs which incubate for 2 or 3 months. The hatchlings are immediately independent and can kill prey the size of a rat.

Although Dendroaspis means "tree snake" the Black Mamba is less arboreal than the Green Mambas. It does climb trees and bushes but it tends to spend more time on the ground or in its lairs which are usually old insect mounds or hollow trees.

When preparing to strike it can lift up to a third of its body off the ground which means it can reach up to four feet high. It opens its mouth, which is black inside, hence its common name, its general colour being shades of grey and olive green, and exposes its fangs. It is diurnal hunting by day or by night but it does spend a lot of time resting. Diet consists of small birds and mammals such as rodents. After biting it usually lets go and waits for the animal to be paralysed, however, it holds on to birds so they can't fly away. When threatened it strikes repeatedly, often to the body and head rather than the extremities, which are more reasons why its bite is so dangerous.

The remedy was proved by Rajan Sankaran with 21 provers, 8 male and thirteen female, in Mumbai in April 1994 and is included in his 1998 book of Provings.

The main theme of the remedy is one of isolation of being alone. They feel that no one is on their side and will not help or look after them. At the same time they are incredibly selfish. They see everything from their own point of view and have no sympathy for anyone else. The only time that they seem to be sympathetic or caring is at the mistreatment of children and that might be because they identify closely with them. They are concerned about the health of others but usually because they are concerned as to what they will do without that person.

They are critical and argumentative. They are absolutely convinced that only their opinion is correct and everyone must agree with them, even if they are wrong. They see things as purely in black and white and they are white and everyone who disagrees with them is black. One prover felt sympathy for the blacks of South Africa and developed a hatred of white people. They will argue and fight in a cruel and uncaring manner even with, or perhaps especially with, their relatives. They are absolutely insensitive to the troubles of others and will watch terrible misfortune happen to others with concern only about how it affects them. She was angry when her train was stopped because a woman had fallen on boarding and felt no concern for the woman.

They react violently and cruelly to any attack, or even disrespect, and act without any remorse. They are impulsive and violence and sexuality can be out of control and they described themselves as animal like.

They feel that they are being cheated and act vindictively against anyone who they feel as cheated or betrayed them.

There is great anxiety about the future and a fear that something will happen. They feel trapped and crushed. There is considerable hopelessness and despair. This is described as being enveloped in a black cloud or going into a tunnel that is getting narrower and narrower and blacker and blacker. They think only of accidents and death and wish they could sleep and never wake.

There is a recklessness and courage. A desire to go fast. They also move fast, hurry as if there was not enough time. They can walk and run fast and far without fatigue. They want to wear bright and beautiful clothes and dance and do exciting things and become easily bored and feel everything is monotonous and dull.

The dreams in the proving reflected the mental and emotional states very precisely.

Numbness is found throughout the remedy. There is emotional numbness to the feelings of everyone else. There is physical numbness but there is also a mental numbness as if the brain is not functioning. This cause forgetfulness and an inability to concentrate.

The pains and physical symptoms as well as emotional symptoms like the anger tend to come and go very quickly. The pains are sharp and sudden and often neuralgic.

There is the common snake modality of < on waking but there is also a strong aggravation of symptoms in the afternoon.

The most overwhelming physical symptoms were of weakness and heaviness. The heady is so heavy and the neck so weak that the head must be supported by the hands. He felt that he was so heavy and his body so weak that it would sink into the ground. He is so weak that he slides into his chair.

There is also a tendency to high fevers.

Artistic correspondences

In the films Kill Bill the Beatrix Kiddo, the part played by Uma Thurman, is known as Black Mamba and she proves to be the most deadly of the Viper Assasination Squad. In Part 2 Elle Driver, played by Darryl Hannah, kills Bill's brother Budd, Michael Madsen, by placing a Black Mamba in the money she gives him. After he is bitten she reads out some facts about the Black Mamba as he dies. She is eventually also killed by the snake.

Peculiar sensations

As if surrounded by a black cloud.

As if she was going into a tunnel that is getting narrower and narrower.

As if the mind was not working.

As if he was going to sink into the ground due to his weakness and the weight of his body.

Sensation as if head would burst.
As if there was no sensation in the head.

As if head was light and rolling.

As if head would fall down.


< afternoon

< on waking

< contradiction

> sleep (weakness)

< evening (weakness)

< talking (headache)

> rotating head in a circle (neck pain)

> motion (shoulder pain)



Other snakes.

Anacardium (unfeeling)

Follows well



Stool & Anus
Neck & Back
Upper Limbs
Lower Limbs


Feels forsaken and alone. Needed others but couldn't depend on them, they didn't love her. Could not rely on anyone, must do everything herself. Felt alone, had to do things alone. Left out. Feels looked down upon and tortured. Others do not understand her hurt and difficulties. She faces a selfish world, especially towards her. Her feelings have been crushed. Great loneliness and the feeling that she is not understood. No desire for communication or relationships. No wish to talk.

Anger and hopelessness. Unfeeling, and aggressive. Quarrelsome. Uncivilised. Feels he is behaving like an animal. Direct and rude. Harsh and abusive. Desire to hurt people, especially relatives, both physically and emotionally. Insensitive and uncaring about the people around her. Selfish and unfeeling about the misfortune of others. Stopped praying for the welfare of others.

Retaliating. Reacting rapidly and aggressively. Malicious and vindictive. Deliberately and cold bloodedly hurting people without any remorse. Taking immense pleasure from hurting people. Cursing at trifles. Feels like attacking, strangling or beating people up. Ready to fight and take on anyone he comes across. Feels those around him are trying to harass or hurt him. Feeling that someone will attack him from behind, yet unafraid, feeling that he could deal with it.

Suppressed or hidden anger. Anger that comes and goes quickly. Wanting to help someone. Weeping when someone is helped. Sentimental and sensitive.

Contemptuous and critical. Opinionated and obstinate. Sees things as black or white. Demanding others listen to him and agree with him even when he was wrong. Forced his point. Attacking anyone who contradicts him. Sympathetic to black people and developed a hatred of white people.

Deliberately telling beautifully fabricated lies for the fun of it.

Impulsive. Won't listen to anyone, just acts impulsively. Hurried. Does everything quickly as if short of time. Loquacious. Irresponsible and rash. Courageous. Impulse to do brave things. Impulsive, animal like sexuality. Lack of self control over sexual matters, with guilt.

Feel trapped, crushed or caged. Bored and indolent. Everything is monotonous. Desire for dancing and fascinated by bright clothes.

Depressed. As if surrounded and overwhelmed by a black cloud. Surrounded by darkness. Could think only of death and accidents, especially of her relatives. Life is a drag not worth living. No inclination to do physical work or to go out. As if she was going into a tunnel that is getting narrower and narrower and blacker and blacker. Knows she must get out of this state but cannot fight it. Feels possessed by this overwhelming state. Nothing can be done.

Nothing left, no desire to live. Wishes she could go to sleep and never wake up. Anxiety about the future with hopelessness. Feeling that something was going to happen. Anxiety about the health of relatives. Anxiety and sadness. Weeping. Lack of confidence, overwhelmed.

Numb feeling in the brain. Absent minded, forgetful. Unable to concentrate. As if the mind was not working. Unable to comprehend what was spoken or to speak. Postponing things.

Fear of heights. Deja vu.

Sees snakes. Vision that he had two penises (the mamba has hemipenes, a dual set of penises).


Giddiness with fear of high places. Sudden headache disappears as suddenly. Severe sharp pain, < talking. Severe left sided pain from lack of sleep. Burning pain in forehead. Heaviness in right temple. Sensation as if head would burst with fever. As if there was no sensation in the head. As if head was light and rolling. Weak, numb, as if head would fall down had to support it with hand.


Pain with headache. Eyes burning during fever. Photophobia. Drooping eyelids as if about to close. Figures before the eyes.



Boil in left nostril. Coryza. Green-yellow discharge.


Trigeminal neuralgia. Heat


Sensitive to cold.


Pain in soft palate. Tongue protruding.


Sharp pain, right side, extending to ear, < swallowing, eating or drinking, > blocking ear with finger.


Desires very cold food even ice cream is not cold enough. Desires spicy food. Desires oranges. Desires cheese.


Vomiting with high fever.


Pulsation in epigastrium. Flatulence.

Stool and Anus

Diarrhoea. Watery stools with flatulence, < morning.

Urinary Organs

Pain in lower abdomen before urination, > for urinating.

Male Sexual Organs

Sexual desire increased. Intense desire to masturbate.

Female Sexual Organs

Menses early, scanty. Intense weakness with first day of menses.

Respiratory Organs

Hoarseness. Hacking cough at 13.00, gone by 18.00. Cough after sip of cold water.


Dull chest pain.


Palpitations, < afternoon.

Neck and Back

Neck pain in morning > rotating the head in a circular motion. Sharp pain in right side of neck. Stiffness, movement difficult. Pain, left side, when lying down.

Limbs in general


Upper Limbs

Lower Limbs

Pain in right toe. Trembling. Cold sweat on shins, < afternoon.


Neuralgic pains. Sharp shooting pains. Suddenness. Pains come suddenly and go suddenly. Pains move from right to left. Ache deep in the body. Weakness. Weakness at the same time, early afternoon, each day. Weakness on waking. Weakness during menses. Weakness, < evening, > sleep. As if he was going to sink into the ground due to his weakness and the weight of his body. Slides into his chair from weakness. Fatigue. Faintness with lack of strength. Increased strength and stamina, able to walk and run further without tiring. Numbness. Trembling. Awkward, dropping things. Cold sweat.



Refreshed after short sleep. Restless could only sleep for two hours but woke refreshed. Sleeplessness before menses. Waking after midnight. Talking and making gestures in her sleep. Sleepiness. Sleepiness with weakness.


Of being wrongly accused. Of being cheated and unfairly treated. Of seeing terrible things without being affected. A friend is murdered, I don't give a damn. Of ghosts, without fear. Of battles and fights. Of neglected children, with sympathy. Fighting with parents and family members. Selfishness. Of being pursued, attacked and tortured. Alone, unwanted and forsaken. Gender confusion, eunuchs and homosexuality. Sexual dreams, nakedness. Snakes. Disease. High places. Dancing. Movie stars. Dressing beautifully. Moving very fast.


Fever. Typhoid fever. Bed hot looking for cold place.


Sankaran, Rajan., Provings. Homoeopathic Medical Publishers, Mumbai, 1998