Bitis atropos


Vergleich: Commonsx of Bitis arietans arietans, Bitis gabonica gabonica and Bitis atropos

Siehe: Schlangen allgemein


[Victoria-Leigh Schönfeld]

The homeopathic drug proving of the substance Bitis atropos 30CH took the form of a double-blinded, randomised, placebo controlled trial. A total of 28 provers

took part in the proving, 21% (6 provers) were randomly administered placebo, the other seventy nine percent (22 provers) were randomly administered verum (active proving drug).

The Puff Adder is a slow moving and bad tempered that may hiss when disturbed (Marias, 2004:63). Although the Puff adder is a slow sluggish snake, it can strike rapidly

(Marias, 2004:64). 


Vergiftung: The venom of differs to the other adders in that it is mainly neurotoxic, with specific action to the optic and facial nerves (Marais, 2004:69).

According to Davids (2008), the neurotoxin from Bitis atropos can cause temporary blindness which can last 4-5 days and in severe cases up to 3 weeks.

There can be different degrees of blindness including double vision, dilation of pupils and an inability to focus, followed by complete paralysis of the eyelids.

Effects on the facial nerve causes ptosis of the eyelids, dizziness and loss of taste and smell, bite victims may also experience difficulty in swallowing, and respiratory distress (Marais, 2004:39). 

University Of Adelaide-Clinical Toxinology: Other effects Resources, include local pain at the site of the bite, swelling, bruising and local necrosis to the surrounding area although rare can

occur and become moderate to severe. Systemic effects of venom can include headaches, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, dizziness, and convulsions (University of Adelaide, 2012);

The venom of the snake is mainly cytotoxic (Marais, 2004:65)

Once envenomation occurs, the local site demonstrates severe oedema, followed by bruising and blistering of effected part (Spawls and Branch, 1995:116). Death is rare, and

complications usually occur from development of disseminated blood coagulopathy (Spawls and Branch, 1995:116)


The original proving of Bitisarietans arietans produced a total of 555 rubrics, of which 116 were new rubrics, as well as producing  472 clear symptoms in the Materia Medica, of these,

156 were classified under mind, 50 were general symptoms, 28 in extremities, 24 were symptoms in the head, 23 were dreams and 18 were in the back and neck (Wright, 1999: iv).

The most outstanding symptoms were noted to effect the mental state of the provers; the provers experiencing sensations of ‘spaciness’ and disconnectedness. In addition, the

general energy levels were affected producing mainly lethargy and fatigue (Wright, 1999:iv). Other notable effects on the provers were seen as pain and distension in the abdomen,

sprains and stiffness of the musculoskeletal system, tenesmus in the rectum, asthmatic symptoms as well as a predominance of menses that occurred too early and were too heavy.

Sense perception:

Generals (Wright, 1999:107-109)

Tiredness, lethargy, fatigue, exhaustion


Food and drink: desire for ice cream and peanut butter

Appetite, diminished

Thirst, increased

Cold sensitive and chilly, coldness and cold sensations

Weekly periodicity



Heaviness in the head

Dryness of membranes

Modalities: >: rubbing; <: movement;

Musculoskeletal (Wright, 1999:109)


Spraining of joints

Abdomen (Wright, 1999:109-110)

Pain, cramping


Flatulence, borborygmi and rectal tenesmus

Female genitalia/sex (Wright, 1999:110)

Menses: too early, much heavier


Increased libido

Respiratory (Wright, 1999:110)

Bronchial asthma, expiratory wheeze, tightness

Hay fever, itching and sneezing

Congested or weight sensations produced in the chest


Bitis gabonica gabonica (Thompson, 2004)

This snake is found mostly in Southern Africa in moist, thickly wooded lowland forests and moist savannas (Marais, 2004:66). The Gaboon Adder is the largest and most attractive of the

African vipers (Spawl and Branch, 1995:116). These snakes are mainly active at night, but may be seen basking in the sun. It is a huge, sluggish snake that may remain in a single place for

days (Marais, 2004:66). Compared with the Puff Adder (Bitis arietans arietans), Bitis gabonica gabonica is surprisingly placid, but when disturbed is said to “huff and puff” a great deal

(Marias, 2004:67). 

Butterfly adder

The Gaboon Adder has potently cytotoxic venom and is comparable with that of the puff adder, except the venom is injected in much larger quantities (Marais, 2004:67). If bitten, the site

will rapidly swell until the entire limb is swollen. The pain is said to be intense, haemorrhagic oedema and blistering at the bite follows rapidly and hypotension, cardiac damage, dyspnoea

and unconsciousness may occur; there is haemorrhage, with haematuria and haematemesis as possible sequelae; necrosis and the need for amputation are possible; death is not rare 

(Spawls and Branch 1995: 116-)

Proving symptoms:

This remedy was made from a fresh specimen, unlike in the proving of Bitis arietans arietans. Manufacture process was a modified version of the method 5a of the German Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia (GHP) (1991), subsequent impregnation of lactose granules followed the method 10 of the German Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia (GHP) (1991).

The remedy produced symptoms mainly in the mental and emotional state. The most prominent symptom being isolation, a sense of being alone and forsaken (Thompson, 2004: iv).

A feeling of social detachment and of being an “outsider” was experienced. This remedy reflected the “Divided” nature of all snake remedies. Provers felt panicked and as if they were under

threat. There were delusions of being divided, that body and mind are divided, that they are separated from themselves in some way. Headaches very common, and were mostly left sided,

mainly in forehead and temples and tended to refer to the eyes, the neck was also affected. Other areas that were affected was the nose, and the stomach (Thompson, 2004:iv)

MIND (Thompson, 2004:109)

Isolation/being alone/desire to be alone

Panic/feeling threatened

Separation from self/scattered


Well being



Mistakes/poor concentration/forgetful

Confidence/lack of confidence

Mental activity: hyper/hypo-active




DREAMS (Thompson, 2004:110-111)



Of Parents and Relatives, both dead and living

Of Conflict/Fear/Escape

HEAD (Thompson, 2004:111)

Left sided, located forehead and temples

Pain of a pressing nature

Heaviness and constriction

NOSE (Thompson, 2004:111)

Left sided

Sensitive to cold

Postnasal discharge

Watery discharge

THROAT (Thompson 2004:111)





Sensation of lump in throat

GENERALS (Thompson, 2004:111)

Chill easily

Flushes of heat


Swollen sensation

Modalities: better for rubbing , worse on wakening

Food and drink: desire for coffee, chocolate, warm food and drink, and sweets

EYES (Thompson, 2004:112)

Left sided

Swelling and inflammation

Feeling of heaviness

Vision blurred, photosensitivity

GENITALIA/SEX (Thompson, 2004:112)


Left sided

Vaginal discomfort during coition

Thick, bland, white leucorrhoea

EXTREMITIES (Thompson, 2004:112)

Twitching muscles

Dry feet

Hands perspire

Rashes and boils on upper and lower limb

Pain in knees on walking

EAR (Thompson, 2004:112)

Pain in ear

Right ear

Sensation of fullness

Buzzing sounds in ears

BACK (Thompson, 2004:112)

Cervical region-stiffness and pain


Other symptoms to note: (Thompson, 2004:112)

distension/bloating in the abdomen;

diarrhoea, constipation and sudden urging;

difficult respiration, sighing and desire to breathe deeply; oppression of the chest, pain and constriction behind the sternum

difficulty sleeping at night with sleepiness in the day


burning pain and the sensation of a lump in the stomach

There is a metallic taste in the mouth and profuse salivation, the palate and tongue are sore.

Other related research

Provings of other snake venoms in addition to those  previously discussed (Bitis arietans arietans and Bitis gabonica gabonica) have taken place over the years at DUT, namely

Naja mossambica (Taylor & Smal, 2004), Hemachatus haemachatus (De la rouviere, 2008) and Dendroaspis angusticeps (Hansjee, 2010).


Table 2.2 summary of methodology applied in other snake provings conducted at DUT

Proving substance              Starting substance & manufacture method   Sample size

Verum: placebo

Naja mossambica

(Taylor & Smal, 2004)

Fresh venom. GHP methods 2a and 2b respectively


Hemachatus haemachatus [De la Rouviere & Cahill 2008]

Freeze dried venom. GHP methods 5a,

impregnation of granules, method 1030 24:6

Dendroaspis angusticeps (Hansjee, 2010)

Freeze dried venom. GHP methods 5a, impregnation of granules, method



Naja mossambica (Mozambiquan Spitting Cobra)

The Mozambique Cobra is usually found basking near a retreat or in forage on over cast days, but is mostly active at night. This snake is a retiring snake that seldom stands its ground.

If threatened, the snake will spread its hood, but not hold the pose for long. Its most common defense is to eject or spit its venom

(Marias, 2004:108). The venom predominantly cytotoxic, causing serious localised tissue damage, slightly neurotoxic causing symptoms such as drowsiness, fatalities are rare (Marias, 2004:109)

The venom used to manufacture the proving remedy of Naja Mossambica 30CH, was prepared from a fresh specimen. According to Small (2004), the mother tincture and potencies were manufactured according to method 2a and 2b respectively in the German Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia (GHP), Fifth edition (1991) to the First Edition (1978).

The proving of the snake venom Naja mossambica (Taylor, 2004) produced the most symptoms on the mental state of the provers. Some of these symptoms experienced were heightened emotions which oscillated between feeling extremely high, motivated and manic to then feeling extremely low, depressed and antisocial (Taylor, 2004:vi).

Polarity regarding emotions experienced was also noted, for example: irritability, anxiety and restlessness were found along with a carefree attitude, laziness and a spaced out sensation.

A strong delusion of separation was observed in some of the provers (Taylor, 2004: vi). The most outstanding symptoms on the physical plain were a preponderance of eye symptoms

and headaches connected to the eyes. Mouth and tongue symptoms were noted, with the mouth being either extremely dry or with increased saliva.

Some other physical symptoms produced included throat and neck complaints, peeling hands, painful stomach cramps and nausea. Provers experienced ravenous hunger even after

eating and fullness after only eating small amounts. Pain in the ovaries, difficulty breathing, muscle twitches and pain and inflammation of axillary lymph nodes were found in some provers.

There were violent and vivid dreams where the prover woke believing them to be real. Many provers felt an increase in body temperature and temperature fluctuations (Taylor, 2004: vii).

COUGH: morning on waking/only at night/IRRITABLE/IRRITATION from throat in pit/LOOSE/PAINFUL/PAROXYSMAL (attacks follow one another quickly/long paroxysms)/


SKIN: “As if cold”/dry

ERUPTIONS (boils/itching/pimples)

Itching (moles/stinging)




Possible clinical indications of

Bitis atropos

Based on the symptoms produced in the proving of

Bitis atropos, by applying the Law of Similars, this remedy could be indicted for the following clinical conditions:

Absent mindedness/ confusion




Loss of appetite



Asthma/ asthma type symptoms


Headaches- especially frontal headaches


Allergic rhinitis

Lower back pain

Neck pain

Muscle cramps

Eye pain


Skin eruptions

Ear infections 

5.6 The essence of the remedy Bitis atropos

The researcher felt that the essence of the remedy Bitis atropos was the theme of antagonism and polarity within oneself. These themes can be seen extensively

in the materia medica that was produced by the remedy. The theme of polarity Antagonism with oneself


Close mindedness


Fear of attack/being attacked from behind

Feeling of being pursued

Desire to hide

Increased sexual drive

In addition to these themes stated above, Thakkar (2007:68) mentions that snakes possess a powerful intensity of emotion. They can be very religious and spiritual, and can display great anxiety of conscience. The snake remedies are suspicious and tend to be quarrelsome, they like to display aggression on confrontation and may even be said to come across as behaving in a territorial manner, much like that of the animal itself.

Clinical themes according to Thakkar (2007:56) include:

Skin: Dry skin

Tendency to suppurate




Eye: Dryness

Blurry vision

Slow digestion

Heart burn

Increased appetite

Over eating

Inability to tolerate hunger




Premenstrual syndrome

Premenstrual breast tenderness

Sensitive to temperature changes

The researcher noticed that many of the themes and symptoms mentioned above were experienced by the provers during the proving of Bitis atropos 30CH, namely those of antagonism with oneself, jealousy, spirituality, a sense of clairvoyance, and a fear of attack. The researcher observed that fears of being pursued and fears of being attacked from behind were well represented in the dreams of the provers of Bitis atropos.

Physical symptoms shared with the above mentioned themes included skin ailments such as boils, dryness of skin, pimples (acne), and whitlows. In addition there were symptoms involving the eyes

including dryness of the eyes as well as respiratory symptoms that resembled that of asthma, increased appetite and sensitivity to changes in temperature; either being too hot or too cold.

Table 5.1 – Correlation of general snake themes with the materia medica of Bitis atropos


General snake theme

Correlating examples of symptom(s) of Bitis atropos

Sankaran             Antagonism with oneself                Antagonism with what the body desires (02F), the internal urge to be judgemental, and yet being easily sociable and a desire to be free, and mischievous, and yet the feeling of suspicion toward other people (03F), a desire to “shed this good boy persona and become liberated” (04M), as feelings of rebellion; to rebel against what is meant to be done, and against responsibility (06M), Antagonism with one selves identity (19F)



Guessed a test question correctly, felt a bit psychic”(19F)

Fear of being attacked there was a fear of thieves breaking into the house (02F), fear that someone would break into the house through the window (09F)

Feeling of being pursued being pursued and of being chased by someone  (35M), dreamt of being chased by men with weapons (23M)

Increased sexual drive

Libido increased (34F), an increase in libido (04M) Thakkar

Religious and spiritual

Increased physical and spiritual energy(06M) desire to pray, praying ameliorates (02F)

Aggressive                  something inside of me wants to come out to attack these annoying people around me (18F), “The frustration toward people also experienced  in the form of road rage” (20F)

Dry skin                      the skin was extremely dehydrated and dry (20F) Boils described eruptions as boils that were  on the left side of the groin (02F),

Acne                           Eruptions namely pimples (24F) on the face (02F) pimples in the forehead (04M)

Dryness of the eye            There was a dryness of the eyes, with a burning sensation (33F)

Heart burn                  burning pain in the stomach and felt it was due to a high acid level (13F)

Increased appetite            Increase in appetite (02F, 15F, 20F, 24F, 25F)

Inability to tolerate hunger sensation of being hungry all the time, craving any foods that would stimulate them (02F),

Hunger was described as “insatiable” (20F)

Asthma unable to breath “can hardly breathe” (02F), experienced especially at night( 30F),

Breathing became difficult  after slight exertion (33F), had quite a tight wheezy chest

” (04M), wheezing with a concomitant  cough( 35M)

Sensitive to temperature change craved the suns warmth (02F),

Enjoyed the warmth, it made me feel a bit better” (04M), sensation of being too hot experienced by one prover (17F), feeling cold, despite the climate being hot (18F), A sensation of coldness

occurred (20F)


Comparison with Bitis arietans arietans

The venom of the puff adder is mainly cytotoxic. Known to strike rapidly, and can be found throughout S. Africa and is responsible for many snake bites around the country (Marias, 2004:64).

Bitis arietans arietans was proven at DUT by Wright in 1999.

There are 83 rubrics shared by the remedies Bitis arietans arietans and Bitis atropos.

The mind section shared 23 rubrics, generals there were 9 shared rubrics, and the head shared 7. The eye and dreams each shared 5 rubrics, respiratory section shared 4, and cough 2. The throat, chest, extremities, stomach, female and stool all shared 3 rubrics each. The back, urine, male, ear, abdomen, rectum, bladder and mouth all shared 1 rubric each. 

The most outstanding symptom in the mental sphere for the remedy Bitis arietans arietans was the feeling of ‘spaciness’ or being ‘spaced out’. This symptom was also described as being intoxicated with alcohol or cannabis. The feeling was said to be a feeling of disconnection, left out of the group, separation from their environment or their body. Similar feelings were experienced in proving

of Bitis atropos; prover 15F described herself as feeling dazed “I feel a bit dazed as if my mind is elsewhere”, prover 18F felt the separation that was described in the proving of Bitis arietans arietans

as “I am here but my mind is somewhere else”, a sensation of the mind being separated from the body.

There was a state of complete lack of energy in Bitis atietans arietans, provers were said to be lazy, slothful and dull, this was experienced by prover 02F who described the laziness as “Just lazy, don’t want to do anything” (02F:18:XX:XX).

Any task that required energy was a major physical effort. The same lack of energy was seen in Bitis atropos, together with a feeling of lethargy (06M). 

The proving of Bitis arietans arietans produced a feeling of confusion (speech and writing, as well as conversation). The provers were said to absentminded, forgetful and had difficulty concentrating.

Bitis atropos had similar symptoms, where the provers found it difficult to converse as well as to concentrate, this was experienced by provers 02F, 06M who experienced difficulty expressing words and prover 18F who felt it difficult to compose and understand sentences. They had an inability to focus on tasks as their thoughts seemed to drift to other things (15F, 18F, 20F). The researcher noted this theme can also be related to the sensation of spaciness experienced in Bitis arietans arietans. There was a difficulty expressing words and sentences with a confusion of words, much like the symptoms produced in Bitis arietans arietans.

However, in contrast to the above mentioned symptoms of the lack of focus and concentration, a feeling of increased focus and concentration occurred in the proving of Bitis atropos.

Prover 06M experienced the feeling of being more organised than usual, and more productive with tasks at hand. There was a great feeling of depression in Bitis arietans arietans, the provers found themselves with a great sense of melancholy. This symptom does not present itself significantly in the proving of Bitis atropos, there was a general feeling of sadness felt by provers 14F, 30F.

Prover 03F felt a sense of despair, prover 04M experienced feelings of loneliness and prover 19F felt the most sadness about life in general, and found it to be worse in the afternoons.

Feelings of anxiety and irritability occurred in Bitis arietans arietans; these symptoms were shared by Bitis atropos, irritability-being one of the most prominent symptoms of the proving of

Bitis atropos where 50% of provers experienced some degree of irritability. Provers 03F, 19F and 20F were found to be very easily irritable, and mostly irritated by other people. Prover 20F and 24F

tended to become very short tempered and prover 18F felt the need to attack.

The researcher noticed that the attack behaviour demonstrated by the provers is much like the characteristic of the snake itself, if left alone, the snake will not strike in defence, yet if bothered, the snake will strike (Marais, 2004:68). The irritability was also related to hunger (24F, 32F), and provers found themselves to be more irritated before meals. Provers 18F and 27F felt a desire to be left alone when in this mood. The feeling of anxiety in Bitis arietans arietans was mainly felt whilst in a car, where the anxiety experienced in Bitis atropos was due to the sense of being rushed (20F), and the anxiety about one’s self image (19F).

The emotion of feeling homesick occurred in both Bitis arietans arietans and Bitis atropos, this was expressed as the desire to be at home, and to be in surroundings familiar to them.

Two provers in Bitis atropos experienced the desire to be home, prover 14F felt homesick and had the desire to be at home, and prover 33F felt the need to be home specifically in order to sleep.

Positive feelings of being energised, happy, full of life, and very talkative were felt by the provers in Bitis arietans arietans.

Similarly, these feelings also expressed themselves in Bitis atropos.

There were feelings of increased energy (34F, 23M, 20F, 06M), and cheerfulness (02F, 06M, 18F, 27F, 34M). Emotions that involved positivity were experienced by prover 18F, as well as an energy for life were felt by the provers in Bitis atropos (06M, 18F).

Loquacity was shared by both remedies, as well as shared by the general themes of snake remedies. Provers 34F and 27F felt the need to talk to people and to connect with them in the proving of

Bitis atropos. The researcher took note that the majority of the themes formulated in the mind sections of the materia medica of the two respective remedies were shared.

These similarities are represented in the table below.


comparison of mental symptoms and themes of Bitis arietans arietans and Bitis atropos

Bitis arietans arietans (Wright, 1999)                                  Bitis atropos

Absentminded and forgetful                                                        Absentminded and forgetful

Anxiety                                                                                 Anxiety

Company – desire                                                                Desire for company

Concentration difficult                                                         Difficulty - concentrating

Conversation                                                                         Loquacious

Difficulty in speaking                                                           Difficulty - expressing words , sentences

Energetic / over stimulated                                                     Increase in energy

Happiness                                                                              Cheerful

Homesick                                                                              Homesick

Irritable                                                                                 Irritability

Laziness                                                                                Laziness

Placebo                                                                                 Placebo

Sensitive to the opinions of others                                         Indignation

Depression                                                                            Sadness

Difficulty - in reading/with words/in writing/sentences             Disconnected from self

Separation from oneself

Dullness                                                                                Weariness

Exhaustion and slowing down                                               Fatigue, weariness and weakness

No motivation / difficulty in working or studying                 Difficulty concentrating/laziness

Polarity                                                                                  Socially detached / Left-out


Spaciness / Spaced-out                                                      Spaciness

Talkative                                                                               Loquacious

The dreams experienced in the two provings were very similar (of danger/being pursued/of violence. Dreams of men chasing them with weapons, and the need to escape.

There were sexually inappropriate dreams, and dreams of babies. The researcher found it peculiar how in both the proving of Bitis arietans arietans and Bitis atropos there was only

one prover in each separate proving that experienced dreams of snakes. In the case of this proving, prover 20F dreamt of ‘a massive snake. It looked like a big fat brown puff adder

and felt scared in the dream. I don’t normally dream of snakes’.

Stiffness was felt in Bitis arietans arietans, and was seen to be a generalised stiffness, unlike in Bitis atropos, where the stiffness was specifically located in neck  (02F and 33F),

prover 35M found the stiffness > movement.

Food cravings for ice cream and peanut butter in particular stood out in the proving of Bitis arietans arietans, however the main craving for foods in Bitis atropos was for salt, and savoury food. Appetite was diminished and thirst was markedly increased in both remedies, however the appetite of Bitis atropos was either veracious and insatiable, or completely diminished- the researcher noticed that the polarity with regards to the extreme hunger or complete lack of appetite confirms the theme of polarity and antagonism with one self that is felt to be the essence of this remedy

Bitis atropos, as well as a being a common theme shared by all snake remedies according to Sankaran (2005).    

Temperature sensitivity was experienced by both remedies.

Bitis arietans arietans was cold sensitive and very chilly.

Bitis atropos was both chilly and too warm, again demonstrating the theme of polarity and antagonism common to snake remedies.

Bitis atropos had a fundamental lack of vital heat, prover 02F described being ameliorated by the warmth of the sun, and being wrapped up in warm things, prover 04M describes this need for warmth from the sun as “got some sun at about 10.30. Enjoyed the warmth, it made me feel a bit better”

Bitis arietans arietans Bradycardia was produced the heart as pumping slower than usual.

Bitis atropos The heart palpitations were described as “If heart is knocking on rib cage” by prover 25F, and described by prover 35M as “I noticed that my heart was beating fast and I was a bit dizzy but after a few minutes I was okay”.

Bitis arietans arietans, dryness of the mouth lips, throat, eyes, stool and cough in

Bitis atropos, the same dryness occurred in with the exception of dryness of the stool in which the opposite occurred; the stool was said to be loose, and in some cases became diarrhoea. 

Bitis arietans arietans, Headaches were described as being heavy in and mainly felt in the temporal region.

Bitis atropos Headaches mainly in the frontal region and were described as being throbbing, pulsating, sharp or dull pain. 

Bitis arietans arietans, The eyes affected producing 18 rubrics-and were described as being itchy, and tired.

Bitis atropos The eye symptoms of produced 76 rubrics

Bitis arietans arietans differed to those of and was predominantly a pain described as a bruised pain in particular by prover 33F and prover 02F, in addition dryness of the eyes

Bitis atropos dryness of the eyes was a marked symptom

Bitis arietans arietans The nose symptoms in a lot less prominent than in Bitis atropos, only itching of the nose occurred.

Bitis atropos were significant, the most predominant symptom was the post nasal drip described by prover 33F as ‘a mucous plug stuck in the throat’. Nasal congestion occurred in a number of provers (03F, 15F, 19F, 30F, 33F, 35M) as well as coryza (02F, 03F, 04M, 15F, 30F, 33F, 35M). Prover 03F described their coryza as burning mucous, and prover 04M described theirs as a

pale green mucous.

Bitis arietans arietans. throat and a sensation of a lump in the throat, pain and a sense of constriction was felt in

Bitis atropos, throat and a sensation of a lump in the throat, pain and a sense of constriction was felt in the throat. A sensation of something in the throat, (not particularly a lump). Prover 19F described it as a ‘ball of air’, prover 08M described the sensation as if something ‘sticky or slimy’ was in the throat; prover 35F had a prominent sensation of a mucous plug in her throat, that

was described by her as being stuck and  resulting in difficulty breathing, 35F also described the sensation of a splinter in her throat. Prover 17F described a sensation of ‘fullness’ in the throat.

Pain in the throat was a strong symptom, described as a splinter type pain, mostly by prover 02F and 33F.

Bitis arietans arietans, Abdominal pain was felt, there was cramping with distension and a concomitant flatulence, borborygmi and rectal tenesmus.

Bitis atropos The abdominal pain that was experienced in differed somewhat to the abdominal pain in Bitis arietans arietans, the pain was rather described as a poking sensation, as well as a hot burning sensation as if there was too much stomach acid.

There were clear symptoms of bronchial asthma in the proving of Bitis arietans arietans such symptoms were described as expiratory wheeze, tightness in the chest, rattling secretions, < at night.

These asthma symptoms were common in Bitis atropos, where a prominent symptom was a wheeze and tightness of the chest. Wheezing was experienced by prover 04M and was described as,

“I had quite a tight wheezy chest” (04M:20:XX:XX), tightness and wheezing with a concomitant cough occurred in provers 04M and 35M. The wheeze  was worse when in the lying down position, and worse at night (04M, 35M).

The menses of provers became was much heavier when taking Bitis arietans arietans, and seemed to have begun too early. Overflow of menses occurred, as well as some dysmenorrhoea. In the case of Bitis atropos, the menses were described as watery by a few provers (02F, 25F). Over flow of menses was experienced by prover 19F, as well as many clots that were granular in appearance. 

Both the male and female in both remedies compared had an increase in sexual desire and libido. Prover 34F described herself as having an increased libido, and also experienced some amorous dreams. Prover 04M had an increase in libido, this occurred especially at night and even was said to increase in the mornings.


Comparison with Bitis gabonica gabonica

The gaboon adder is the largest and most attractive of the African vipers (Spawl and Branch, 1995:116).  Compared with the puff adder, Bitis gabonica gabonica is surprisingly placid, but when disturbed is said to “huff and puff” a great deal (Marias, 2004:67). The venom of the gaboon viper is mainly cytotoxic, and is injected in much larger quantities than that of Bitis arietans arietans

and Bitis atropos (Marais, 2004:67).

Bitis gabonica gabonica was proven at DUT by Thompson in 2004.

There were 103 shared rubrics between Bitis gabonica gabonica and Bitis atropos.

In the mind section 29, head 20, nose 16, eye 6, sleep 6, dreams 4.

Vertigo, stomach, throat and abdomen, respiration, chest  all shared 2 rubrics each. Rectum/stool, female, urine, back, extremities and skin all shared 1 rubric each. 

The most prominent symptom seen in the mental sphere in the proving of Bitis gabonica gabonica was the sense of isolation, and a sense of being alone in addition there was also a strong desire to

be alone. This desire to be alone was shared with Bitis atropos, and featured strongly amongst 5 of the provers (06M, 08M, 18F, 19F, 23M). Described by prover 18 F as a need for hibernation”,

and by prover 23M - the desire to be alone was a result of feeling overwhelmed, prover 15F felt an indifference towards people, therefore wanted not to be around anyone.  In the proving of

Bitis gabonica gabonica, a feeling of social detachment and of being an outsider was also experienced and presented with the feelings of being separated from themselves and was expressed by

a prover as “felt they were looking at my face and I was behind my face looking out; I wasn’t in myself; I couldn’t connect with people; I feel very alone”.

This ‘separation’ was seen in Bitis atropos, where prover 18F stated “I am here yet my body is somewhere else”, a sensation that the body is separate from the mind. A great depression and sadness was experienced in the proving of Bitis gabonica gabonica, described as a melancholic, brooding and tearful feeling. No depression as such was reported in Bitis atropos, however a feeling of sadness

was noted by 2 provers, (14F, 30F), prover 04M felt a sense of loneliness. However contrast to the feelings of depression, there was also sense of happiness, joyfulness and positivity reported in the proving of Bitis gabonica gabonica; this cheerfulness was also experienced by some provers in Bitis atropos (02F, 06M, 18F, 27F, 34F), a sense of positivity was felt by prover 18F, and prover 02F found herself smiling without reason.

A sense of irritability, moodiness, insecurity was felt by the provers in Bitis gabonica gabonica, as well as an oversensitivity to others occurred in the proving; the provers felt irritable towards others, towards their family, toward trifles, and when overheated. The provers felt most irritable on waking in the morning. The irritability can be seen in both remedies, especially in Bitis atropos, where this symptom was one of the most predominant symptoms experienced in the mental sphere during the proving, where 50 percent of provers experienced this symptom. The majority of provers felt irritability toward other people, especially provers 03F, 19F and 20F.

Bitis gabonica gabonica had a feeling of confusion. An unusual amount of mistakes were made, letters were missed out when writing, dates were confused, memory was poor, concentration is lacking and the provers were unusually forgetful. This confusion was very similar to that experienced in Bitis atropos, where forgetfulness and absentmindedness occurred in 7 provers. 

Provers 06M and 03F felt forgetful towards completing tasks, 06M and 19F misplaced things in wrong places. The confusion and forgetfulness towards spelling and speech was experienced by prover 06M and 19F, as well as a confusion with words, and a difficulty expressing words and sentences (02F, 06M). The sense of insecurity in the proving of Bitis gabonica gabonica was expressed

by provers as feeling sorry for oneself and  feelings of insecurity about their looks. Provers felt they were useless and ignorant and felt unappreciated. Similar feelings of insecurity in the proving of

Bitis atropos was demonstrated by feelings of inadequacy, where the provers did not feel good enough and felt like they had to “prove” themselves in order to acquire others approval. Insecurity was also noted and was demonstrated in the need to look better, a constant comparison was made to what others around looked like, and an obsession with their appearance.

An over sensitivity was experienced by the provers in Bitis gabonica gabonica, as a sensitiveness to reprimand, the provers felt more offended than usual, there was also an over sensitivity to noise and people. Over sensitivity can be seen in Bitis atropos where feelings of indignation occurred, as an over sensitivity towards others and their actions experienced by prover 03F. 

Confusion was a strong symptom shared by both Bitis gabonica gabonica and Bitis atropos. They both had difficulty concentrating, difficulty with words and sentences, confusion when speaking and writing as well as a general lack of concentration.

An interesting symptom that was experienced by provers of Bitis gabonica gabonica, was the feeling that they had taken placebo when in fact they of were in the verum group. The researcher has noticed this peculiar symptom was common to all three remedies of the Genus Bitis, and perhaps could be explained by the theme of suspiciousness shared by all snake remedies (Sankaran, 2005).

As in the original comparison with Bitis arietans arietans, the researcher noted that majority of the themes found in the mind section of Bitis gabonica gabonica were also shared with themes of

Bitis atropos. These similarities are represented in the table below.

Table 5.3 - comparison of mental symptoms and themes of Bitis gabonica gabonica and Bitis atropos

Bitis gabonica gabonica (Thomson,2004) Bitis atropos

Isolation / being alone / desire to be alone   Alone / aversion to company

Irritable                                                          Irritability

Sensitivity                                                     Indignation/sensitive to opinions of others

Mental activity: hyper/hypoactive                    Increase in energy / laziness

Placebo                                                          Placebo

Calm / confusion                                           Confusion

Confidence / lack of confidence


Depression / sadness / crying                         Sadness

Mistakes / poor concentration / forgetful            Lack of focus/difficulty with words and sentences

Panic / feeling threatened                              Fears of robbers

Separation from self / scattered

Freedom/Separation from self

Notable themes, developed from the dreams experienced in Bitis gabonica gabonica were that of chaos, fragmented dreams, relatives and parents, conflict, fear and escape. Only two such themes were shared with Bitis atropos, namely dreams of fear and dreams of escape. Both these themes were represented by dreams that involved being chased, pursued, especially by men with weapons

and by monsters in the proving of Bitis atropos.

Headaches were a common symptom in Bitis gabonica gabonica, they tended to be left sided and found to be painful in the forehead region, the temporal region and were referred to the eyes with 

a pressing pain by nature. However, the characteristic headache of Bitis atropos did not compare to those of Bitis gabonica gabonica.

Instead they were experienced in the frontal region, and ranged from a dull pain to a sharp pain in nature. 

The nose had symptoms mainly in the left side in Bitis gabonica gabonica, and experienced a discharge that was clear and albuminous, and was said to be postnasal. The postnasal drip was a very common symptom that stood out in the proving of Bitis atropos, as well as coryza, which was characterised as being clear and watery- similar to the discharge of Bitis gabonica gabonica, although

the discharge of Bitis atropos also had a yellow discoloration, unlike that of Bitis gabonica gabonica. 

Both remedies Bitis gabonica gabonica and Bitis atropos experienced throat symptoms that were described as dryness of the throat, and a sensation of something in the throat.

Bitis gabonica gabonica described the sensation as a lump in the throat and a tightness of the throat, where the sensations in Bitis atropos varied and was described as a ball of air stuck in the throat by prover 17F, a sensation of a mucous plug and splinter in the throat (33F), as well as a sensation of fullness in the throat by prover 17F.  Dryness in the throat was experienced by provers 15F and 33F in Bitis atropos.

Common symptoms shared in the eye by both remedies Bitis arietans arietans and Bitis atropos and was described as a sensation of swelling and inflammation as well as actual swelling and inflammation, the eyes felt heavy and the lids were sore.

Bitis arietans arietans had eye symptoms that affected mainly the left side and the lids, where Bitis atropos had eye symptoms that affected the actual eye, and was described a bruised pain.

The lids however were affected in Bitis atropos, and were described as being heavy. Vision was commonly affected, yet differed as Bitis arietans arietans had a sense of photophobia where in

Bitis atropos, vision was described as being strained (02F). Dryness of the eyes occurred in Bitis atropos.  Bitis gabonica gabonica had ear symptoms described as pain mainly on the lobe,

behind the ear and also in the meatus.

Bitis atropos also experienced a pain in the ear which was located inside the ear, and affected mainly the left- contrary to that of Bitis gabonica gabonica which was mainly affected on the right.

The sensation of fullness of the ear was shared by both remedies, more specifically described in Bitis atropos by prover 02F as sensation of water in the ear. 

There were rashes and boils on upper and lower limbs of provers in Bitis gabonica gabonica, similarly skin eruptions on upper and lower limbs occurred in Bitis atropos, but were characterised more

as pimples or appeared as insect bites as opposed to boils. 

There was some pain in the knees in Bitis gabonica gabonica, especially when walking. Bitis atropos did not have this symptom in common, instead there was a cramping pain of the lower limbs, especially the calves.

Back pain was a symptom that occurred in Bitis gabonica gabonica, and was experienced mainly in the cervical region and left side. The pain was described as a stiff pain and seemed to affect the provers more at night. The pain was said > lying down. In contrast to cervical pain, Bitis atropos had pain in the neck that was described as a stiffness and tightness by 2 provers (02F, 33F). Pain of

the neck was described as a burning pain by prover 17F and dull and aching by provers 19F and 33F. Back pain occurred in 5 provers (02F, 04M, 18F, 19F, 20F) in the lumbar region and was described as being bruised or aching, also pain just below the scapulae was experienced. A general symptom shared by the remedies Bitis gabonica gabonica and Bitis atropos is the sensitivity to temperature. Both remedies were either too cold, or became cold easily, or were too hot, having flushes of heat. The researcher noted that these symptoms correlate with the general theme of polarity or opposite in the snake remedies, where two sensations which are polar opposite occur in the same remedy. The researcher also noticed that the temperature sensitivity experienced by the provers in both remedies can be related to the characteristic feature of snakes, particularly reptiles of a constant and fundamental need for thermoregulation (Marias, 2004:22).

Food cravings for Bitis gabonica gabonica: coffee, chocolate, warm food, and sweets. The desire for coffee was shared by Bitis atropos specifically by prover 04M. In contrast to craving sweets, salty and savoury food was preferred, and in fact sweet foods made the provers experience nausea. Chocolate cravings in Bitis atropos were most strong in the mornings on waking. 

Bitis gabonica gabonica experienced weakness and fatigue, similar to that of Bitis atropos. The weakness and weariness stood out in the symptomatology during the proving of Bitis atropos, where provers felt a fundamental lack of energy as well as in some cases weakness. 

A sensation of general swelling which was better for rubbing and occupation occurred in Bitis gabonica gabonica, this symptom did occur in Bitis atropos but was not very pronounced as it only appeared in one prover as a slight oedema of the ankles, with no modalities. The researcher suggests that perhaps the theme of swelling was represented in Bitis atropos as bloating of the abdomen,

as opposed to actual swelling/oedema, however bloating of the abdomen also occurred in the proving of Bitis gabonica gabonica and could therefore also be associated with the theme of swelling. 


Results of the group analysis

The analysis of the remedies found in the genus Bitis resulted in the following common themes that shared by the three remedies Bitis arietans arietans, Bitis gabonica gabonica and Bitis atropos.

These themes were compared manually as the remedy Bitis gabonica gabonica is not found in the electronic version of the repertory Radar version 10 (Archibel, 2007): 

Great sense of irritability




Mental confusion and lack of concentration


Disconnection from oneself


Sensation of something in the throat

Decreased appetite

Temperature sensitivity

Increased libido


A total of 36 rubrics were found to be shared amongst the 3 remedies in the genus Bitis; (Bitis arietans arietans, Bitis gabonica gabonica and Bitis atropos)

the shared rubrics being predominately from the mind chapter of the repertory (13 rubrics):

Mind: absentmindedness



company, desire for

concentration, difficult


conversation, aversion to

delusions, separated, world; from the he is separated





spaced out feeling

Head: congestion

Pain – forehead/temples (l.)

Eye: heaviness

Pain, burning

Nose: sneezing

Throat: pain

Stomach: (capricious) appetite

Abdomen: distension

Rectum: constipation, ineffectual urging and straining

Urine: copious

Female Genitalia/Sex: sexual desire increased

Chest: oppression

Palpitation of heart

Back: stiffness, cervical region

Sleep: falling asleep, difficult

Dreams: amorous/nightmares/being pursued

Generals: Desires: food and drink: coffee/sweets;




Successful provings of indigenous substances that have taken place at DUT in the last decade include the provings of

Bitis arietans arietans (Wright, 1999),

Sceletium tortuosum (dos Ramos, 1999),

Pycnoporus sanguineus (Morris, 2002), Pilz, produziert Vanillin.

Bitis gabonica gabonica (Thomson, 2004),

Naja mossambica (Smal & Taylor, 2004),

Harpagophytum procumbens (Kerschbaumer, 2004),

Sutherlandia frutescens (van der Hulst, Webster, Kell, Low, 2006),

Chamaeleo dilepis dilepis (Pistorius/Moore, 2006),

Erythrina lysistemon (de Beer, Olivier, Gryn, Thiel, 2007),

Peucedanum galbanum (Wagner & Wayland, 2007),

Gymnura natalensis (Naidoo & Pathar, 2008),

Haemochatus haemochatus (de la Rouviere & Cahill, 2008),

Loxodonta africana –Ivory (Forbes & Speckmeier, 2008),

Protea cynaroides (Botha, 2010),

Dendroaspis angusticeps (Hansjee, 2010)

Strychnos henningii (Ross, 2011).

16 homoeopathic medicines of South African indigenous origin is insignificant in comparison with the approximate ?3500? proven homoeopathic substances world wide it is therefore

recommended by the researcher that provings conducted under the authority of DUT should continue with their endeavours of expanding the South African materia medica.



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