Tarentula cubensis is a remedy that has stared and beckoned for many years: because it was one of the 144 precious “cm” s, “grafts from his pocket case”, sent to us by DR. NASH, after his visit to this country. If so high in the estimation of such a prescriber as to have a place in his pocket case, and to be one of his “144”, surely it was worth trying for the septic conditions for which he advocates it in his Leaders (?) as follows:
“Tarentula cubensis, or the hairy spider. It is one of the most efficacious remedies for boils, abscesses, felons, or swellings of any kind where the tissues put on a bluish colour, and there are intense burning pains.
“We used to think that we had two great remedies in Arsenicum and Anthracinum; but Tarentula cubensis is simply wonderful. I have seen felons which had kept patients awake night after night walking the floor in agony from the terrible pains so relieved in a very short time that they could sleep in perfect comfort until the swellings spontaneously discharged and progressed to a rapid cure. This remedy should receive a thorough proving. It is a gem.”
One may say, that many experiences with this remedy have more than confirmed its worth.
KENT, New Remedies, gives a case showing the powerful action of Tarentula cubensis in Carbuncle on the back of neck.
A lady, age about 30, suffered greatly from a carbuncle on the back of her neck. She had applied many domestic remedies and obtained no relief. The tumefaction seemed destined to suppurate. It was mottled bluish and the pain was intense, knife cutting and burning. She was sick at the stomach to vomiting, and at night she was delirious. Her eyes were staring and there was some 0 fever; the tongue was foul and the breath fetid. There was great tension in the scalp and muscles of the face. She begged for morphine to “stop that burning and cutting.” Tarentula cubensis 12x, one dose, produced quiet immediately and the angry looking tumefaction failed to complete its work: it did not suppurate. The discoloration was gone in two days, and the hardness soon disappeared also. She regained her normal state very rapidly, and she said to me a short time ago that she had never had her old headache since that swelling left her, showing how deeply the medicines affected her whole system.
If a part is mottled (Lachesis), bluish, growing dark, with those symptoms, Tarentula cubensis must be the most appropriate remedy.
In regard to Tarentula cubensis, Dr. Oscar Hansen, of Copenhagen in his Textbook of Rare Homoeopathic Remedies, writes: “Therapeutics. Gangrene. Carbuncle, even sloughing, with great prostration and diarrhoea, intermittent fever of evening exacerbation. Acts magically in the most terrible burning, stinging pains here. A purplish hue with the above pains is characteristic. (Compare Lachesis, Anthracinum, Silica.) Recommended in the last stage of tuberculosis pulmonum. Diphtheria, malignant type, deposit dark-coloured, fetid breath, septic fever. Typhoid fever, fetid dark stool, great prostration.”
Our Materia Medica textbooks have so little to say about the Tarentula-either the Spanish or Cuban, that it may be helpful to quote a discussion in America, on a paper entitled “Tarentula in Meningitis” by Dr. Neiswander (Ohio) which appeared some time ago in the Homoeopathic Recorder. Here we learn a great deal about Tarentula cubensis, for knowledge of which we are greedy, since it is such a very potent remedy, especially in septic conditions, and since so little is to be learnt about it in our textbooks.
By the way, Dr. Neiswander’s Tarentula in Meningitis” was the Hispania. But what Dr. Roberts has to say regarding the origin of the cubensis, is of the greatest interest. He tells us that we have here not only the Cuban Tarentula, but a rotten Cuban Tarentula; which gives us, he suggests, not only the temperament and mental symptoms of Tarentula, but the septic element of the decomposed spider. Sounds nasty? but it works. And it comes into line, to some extent, with Pyrogen, ‘gotten” as they say “across the ditch”, from rotten meat. These have powers of combating similar conditions of sepsis, and are drugs of the greatest importance and value. We will reproduce from the discussion on the two drugs.
DR. MACFARLAN: I don’t know anything about Tarentula hispania, but I know that Tarentula cubensis is a wonderful remedy. I made that proving about ten years ago. I also made a good cure with it in a terrible case of cough, something like whooping cough that seemed to tear the patient to bits. Tarentula does tear them to bits, and I gave it with a marvellous response from the start.
Tarentula cubensis produces great drowsiness, I think it is more useful in whooping cough than Ipecac. or Castanea vesca or any other remedy I know; it is marvellous.
DR.BENTHACK: I have never before heard of its use in meningitis, but Tarentula cubensis is my standby in any abscess where there is severe pain. I formerly thought I had a wonderful remedy for such conditions in Arsenicum and Anthracinum, but I have found Tarentula cubensis in the 30th potency does much better.
DR. ROBERTS: Tarentula is one of the most interesting of the spider poisons. I think we get a better concept of it we study its habits. Tarentula hispania, as you know, is found in the western part of this country, I have been told that before the rainy season they migrate in herds, travelling in leaps and bounds. It makes its nest in the ground, a burrow lined with web, and turning a sharp angle after going down a few inches. Here the spiders sits to watch for its prey.
It does its work by violence, one sharp pounce on the neck of its victim, serving the ganglia. It strikes and retreats, never holding on. It is a perfect coward when away from home. It is in these things you get the characteristics, for you find this sudden violence all through the remedy-the sudden impulse to do harm.
One Tarentula patient whom I knew seemed to be quiet and peaceable; the nurse left the room and instantly the patient jumped from bed before the nurse left the room and instantly the patient jumped from bed, swept everything from the shelf and was back in bed before the nurse could get back. That is Tarentula: violence of onslaught, fear to face real opposition or when they are away from home-just as the spider does in its natural setting.
In regard to Tarentula cubensis, while it is not mentioned in this paper, it is much like Tarentula hispania; it is the same spider or closely related, only coming from Cuba. Dr. T.F.Allen told me the history of this remedy. The Tarentula cubensis was being shipped to this country in a container with alcohol to preserve it. The container broke on the way up, the alcohol ran out and the specimen decomposed. However, a potency was made, and it is the pyogenic effect of the decomposition that is the greatest differentiation between Tarentula hispania and the Tarentula cubensis, for all our higher potencies were made from that stock. It is worth consideration, because there you get the mentality of Tarentula hispania and the septic conditions of Tarentula cubensis.
DR. FARRINGTON: It would be interesting to re-prove a fresh specimen of Tarentula cubensis. That is one deficiency you might say, in our materia medica and its provings, that we have evidently not got the real symptoms of Tarentula cubensis. Perhaps it would result in a reproduction of what we get from Tarentula hispania.
DR. FARRINGTON: Probably the accident gave us a new remedy which we would not have had before, much as an accident gave us Causticum, because that is a compound subject, Hahnemann’s tincture acris kali, which cannot be found in any pharmacopoeia except the Homoeopathic.
A number of years ago I reported a case to this society, of a young fellow of eighteen who was supposed to have had dementia praecox cured with Tarentula, and his symptoms and his general behaviour were just as Dr. Roberts has described. He would fly into a rage over something and throw whatever was in his hand, whatever he could reach. He nearly killed his mother with a big pitcher. She objected to something he had done or said and he threw it at her and just missed her, and smashed an enormous mirror to smithereens.
Another interesting symptom of Tarentula is the heart. A number of you know those heart symptoms, sudden and violent, and in some of our materia medicas the condition Tarentula produces and cures is called St. Vitus’ Dance of the heart.
Several years ago I was called in the middle of the night to South Bend, Indiana, and found a man of forty-five years of age, pales as death, frightened. His heart was beating rapidly and he thought he was going to die; in fact, the physician who examined him told him that he had a serious heart trouble and did not have long to live.
I examined his heart very carefully and found no lesions whatsoever, but every now and then he would start to jump, and then it would go like that, up and down, and then settle down; and he had a previous history of diarrhoea and digestive symptoms, referable especially to the colon, and I have to add, though I asked him a few questions, I could get very few symptoms besides the objective ones. I think what I said to him did him almost as much good as the medicine. I told him he was suffering from auto-intoxication and had no heart disease at all, and I gave him a dose of Tarentula. Two weeks later he was up to see me, apparently a well man.
DR. GREEN. I have had a chance to watch Tarentula fairly closely and I want to add to what Dr. Roberts said about the sudden sly, destructive tendency, a tendency to change one’s disposition altogether from a sweet, wholesome, rational person, to someone who is so terribly self-centered and selfish, and who wants nothing but to have everyone standing around waiting on him, and even to interfere with the nurse going on or off duty, because of some imaginary ailment like feigning a swoon, or some thing to oblige that person to stay near.
DR. BENTHACK said that before he knew Tarentula was used in ulcers, he used to depend on Arsenic for burning ulcers. “That reminds me to say that I have learned that Tarentula and Arsenicum are complementary remedies in such chronic cases.”.