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.
Formerly Toxicophus pugnax
Moccasin Snake, Cottonmouth, Black Moccasin, Mangrove Rattler.
Found in Southeastern United States as far West as Texas and as far North as the extreme Southeast of Nebraska.
Dilution and succusion of the venom.
The Cottonmouth is a Pit Viper closely related to the Copperhead, (Cenchris). It is usually less than a meter in length but is the largest of the Agkistrodons. It is brown to olive in colour with dark brown to blackish crossbands. The inside of its mouth is bright white and it opens wide its mouth as a defence, hence the common name of cottonmouth. The Cottonmouth is semiaquatic and spends most of its time in or near to water. It almost always lives close to permanent water sources, such as streams, ponds, estuaries or swamps. They swim with most of their bodies above the water which distinguishes them from water snakes. Diet consists of fish, small mammals and small reptiles including alligators, turtles and other snakes. They envenomate the prey and release it, following it until it dies if it does not succumb immediately. The Cottonmouth is oviviviparous, giving birth to the eggs at the same time as they hatch. and independent soon after birth. The young attract prey by caudal luring, using the bright yellow tip of their tails to entice their victim into range. The bright tail darkens as they mature and the adults do not use this technique. The venom is haemotoxic and causes intense pain, swelling and necrosis near to the site of the bite. It is a relatively weak poison when compared to a rattler and is unlikely to kill a healthy adult human, though gangrene may set in.
The Cottonmouth is regarded as aggressive and dangerous in areas where it is found but is in fact remarkably reluctant to actually bite. It "smiles" with its wide open bright white mouth to warn off anyone who threatens it and will give a "dry bite", where no venom is injected, before inflicting a venomous bite.
Farouk master conducted a proving in Mumbai between 1996 and 1998 with 16 provers, 11 female and 5 male.
Clarke notes the annual periodicity of the remedy and Grimmer gives several cases of Sarcoma and congenital syphilis where the remedy was extremely effective.
The Cottonmouth, like the Copperhead is an extremely fearful remedy. There is a feeling of being attacked and of being vulnerable. The fear is particularly pronounced at night and there are horrible and fearful dreams which prevent sleep. She is afraid of the least thing and becomes completely overwhelmed by her fear. She feels as if she will go mad. She feels that somehow the fear she feels is her fault, as if she had committed a crime. She has hallucinations, sees a cat or someone that is coming up behind her. There is a fear of the animal impulses. A fear of sexuality and a fear of giving into them by, for example, falling in love.
As in all the snakes there is anger at being contradicted or crossed in any way, They are argumentative and easily offended and there is a desire to hit anyone that argues with them. There is a strong aversion to being questioned.
They are sensitive and weep easily. They want to be alone and undisturbed.
There is a tendency to depression. This can come on very suddenly or can alternate with elation. On the whole the depression tends to ameliorate during the fear and strengthens when the fear is reduced. They do not wish to communicate and want to be alone. There is a listlessness and an aversion to work. There is no joy or amusement or interest in anything. Everything seems to be a burden. There is no wish to live and suicidal thoughts.
The depressing thoughts are so powerful that she cannot think of anything else and is unable to concentrate or work. She becomes paralysed by her depression.
There is the usual snake aggravation on waking and in the morning and the depression and listlessness are particularly bad in the morning.
The remedy has a certain childishness to it. Religious feelings and religious dreams are common.
The dreams are fearful and violent, such that they wake her and she is afraid to go to sleep. Anger and weeping are both experienced in the dreams in a particular and powerful way.
There is an affinity to the eyes and the upper eyelids, with swelling, soreness, heaviness and inflammation. There is lachrymation and a yellowish discharge.
Appetite is reduced, but thirst for cold drinks is increased. There is painful constipation.
Feeling of uneasiness in the throat.
Sensation of a heavy weight on the chest.
< left side
< before menses
> cold applications (eyes)
< touch (eyelids)
< movement (eyelids)
< right side (throat)
> taking deep breaths (oppression of chest)
All snakes but especially the closely related Cenchris.
Feels threatened, unable to cope with the threat. Fear of being alone at night in the dark. Waking frightened. Cannot sleep because of fear. Fear of impending danger. Easily frightened. Startled easily. Frightened by little things like cockroaches. Fear alternating with sadness. Fear of allowing sexual urges, fear of falling in love. Feels she has done something wrong, committed a crime. Anxiety. Anxious about minor matters. Hallucinations. Feeling that someone is coming up behind her. Sees frightful images on closing her eyes.
Overwhelmed, cannot cope. Feels as if she will go mad.
Argumentative and unreasonable. Anger at the slightest thing. Anger over unnecessary things, he knows it is so but cannot help it. Desire to hit someone during an argument. Cursing and abusive.
Sensitive, easily offended. Sensitivity < before menses. Weeping. Weeping at slightest cause. Irritable at trifles, especially when questioned. Edgy, frustrated and irritable. Restlessness.
Depressed and sad. Paralysed by her depression. Depression appears suddenly.
Listless. Dull and uninterested < evening. Indifference to everything. No interest in life. Nothing is amusing. Aversion to work. Even a small task seems a burden. Sighing. Wants to be alone, sitting in one place thinking. Suicidal thoughts. Aversion to company. Silent, wants to say something but can't express it.
Alternating states. Changeable mood. Laughing one minute, sad the next. Depressed in the morning, elated in the afternoon.
Concentration difficult. Can't concentrate because of constant thinking of depressing thoughts. Confusion due to many thoughts. Confused and unable to make decisions. Absent minded. Forgetfulness and calling things by the wrong name.
Confidence. Lack of anxiety in situations that demanded anxiety.
Wants to be held and caressed. Religious, praying. Arrested mental development, Childishness.
Heaviness, < morning. Hair dry and brittle. Falling of hair.
Inflammation, swelling and soreness, > cold applications. Redness. Itching. Continuous watering. Yellowish discharge. Swelling of eyelids. Upper lids inflamed and sore, < touch, < movement of eyelid.
Thin watery discharge. Sneezing.
Dryness with thirst for cold water.
Pain radiating to ear, < right side. Feeling of uneasiness.
Appetite decreased. Loss of appetite with weight loss. Aversion to food that is not vegetarian. Thirst for cold drinks.
Sudden colicky pains.
Constipation. First part of stool is hard and lacerating, end part is soft. Soreness after stool. Soreness, < sitting. Haemorrhoids.
Menses profuse, dark, clotted and offensive. Dysmenorrhoea. Pain in back and legs at menses.
Feeling of suffocation, trying to take deep breaths. Oppression, > taking deep breaths.
Sensation of a heavy weight.
Oedema and swelling. Pain, as if legs would give way at menses.
Weakness. Whole body aches. Intolerance to heat. Restlessness. Left sided. Annual Periodicity, the pains return at the same time each year.
Sleep unrefreshing. Sleep disturbed and restless. Sleepiness all the time. Cannot sleep because of fear and horrible dreams.
Fearful dreams. Feeling vulnerable. Of being attacked by people or by animals. Attacked by a crocodile. Of danger. That her mother is shouting at her and she is scared. Of anxiety for loved ones. Of danger to loved ones. Of children being attacked. That she is criticised. That she is shouted at. That she is being laughed at. It is her birthday and no one has wished her happy birthday. Of exposing herself sexually. Of violent anger. Weeping bitterly in her dreams. Of dead bodies. Of dead bodies coming alive. Of water. Of the sea and of fish. Of eating an alligator. Of snakes. Of a snake coiled around a woman. Of visiting the temple. Of marriage. Of being pregnant. Unremembered dreams.
Master, Farouk, A Proving of Moccasin Snake