In 1926 the Associated Press reported six or eight deaths from a single town in California, caused by spider bite. All were traced to an infected area around a certain woodyard which was finally destroyed with no more fatalities.
From the Houston Press of August 27, 1927, I copied the following news item:.
“Caldwell, Texas-Funeral services were held at the Catholic Church here Thursday for Henry Fleckenstien, 45, who died Wednesday as a result of having been bitten by a spider just 24 hours previously”.
In the issue of April 16, 192, another fatal case of spider bite is recorded:
“Edinburgh, Texas – Funeral services were held here Monday for Miss Omer Vera Dreydry, 14, high school student, who died Sunday from a spider bite on the neck on Wednesday”.
A third fatality in Texas is copied from the Houston Chronicle in its issue of Tuesday, May 14, 1929:.
“A spider bite, one week ago, resulted in the death on Mrs. L.L.Roberts at Wallar, Texas, on Monday”.
Considering the small amount of venom that it is possible for a small spider to possess, and even less inject, we are considering for study one of the most violent of all poisons, the product of the N.O.Araneiae, which vies with hydrocyanic acid in the intensity of its action.
Our materia medica already includes fragmentary provings, mostly by accidental bite, of the Tarentulas (hispanica, lycosa, mygale cubensis and mygale lasidora) and the Latrodecti (katipo, mactans and theridion.- [Ed.]).
The astounding cure of an insane woman with Tarentula hispanica by Dr.James Tyler Kent, reported by Dr.A.W.McDonough, in the Homoeopathician for October, 1923, and partly recorded in Clarks Dictionary, opens up a most wonderful and promising sphere of action for the spider poisons. It is a pity that some of the great endowments are not used to further homoeopathic provings including the spider venoms.
They would, no doubt, prove priceless to the human race; far more valuable than the mediocre results achieved in laboratory experiments on animals, often conducted so inhumanely.
Let me present to the Texas State Homoeopathic Medical Society the record of a most remarkable proving from the accidental bite of a spider, probably the Latrodectus mactans. I am not quite certain that in was this particular spider as a specimen, secured and sent to one of our universities was lost before it was classified, but from my description it was thought to be the one named. It was a small spider, about five-sixteenths of an inch in length of body including the head but not including the legs. It was hairy, rather dark, with a stripe down both sides of its back. There was either a red dot, or the stripe may have been red, I am not quite sure which, as I failed to make a written description on the record at the time.
Mr. Joe Trinkle, 55, was bitten on the glands penis about 6 a.m., July 12, 1927. He immediately felt so deathly faint that he could hardly get to his house. They at once arranged to take him to Houston for medical treatment, a distance of about fifteen miles. On the way he collapsed and was taken to a farm house along the way. Here he remained until evening when he was brought to Houston, but I did not see him until the following morning about 9 oclock, when I elicited the following symptoms; No pain or swelling; so subsequent ulceration at point of bite; stinging sensation as though a wasp had stung him at the time of bite; within several hours the inguinal glands began to swell with much aching pain that extended up the back to the upper lumbar region.
“It almost knocked me down”, he said. This was followed by an awful aching of the hips, thighs and knees on both sides but worse on the left side. Finally the whole body ached. From the beginning to the end there was repeated nausea and vomiting. The vomited matter was green and watery, and there was much griping and colic like pain in the stomach and abdomen. The terrible pain in the stomach was relieved by the application of hot wet towels. The aching was particularly severe from 9 until 11 a.m. the morning of the bite, and again the following morning somewhat earlier. He could retain nothing on his stomach.
There was no desire to eat, but there was considerable thirst for cold refreshing fruit drinks. He was averse to drinking water but did drink pineapple juice which was ejected immediately; there was no diarrhoea. There was pain in the region of the heart, and also in an arm which was once broken; repeated attacks of pain over the kidneys which he described as “striking down pain”; the left toes all felt as heavy as lead, much worse in the left great toe; the right foot was not affected.
All his symptoms were violent, with much anxiety and restlessness, constant moving, every ten minutes or os, from bed to chair, and back to bed again, notwithstanding his great weakness. He was afraid he was going to die and constantly repeated as he rocked back and forth, “Oh, Lordy! Oh, Lordy! Oh, Lordy! Have mercy, have mercy”! He described all his symptoms as terrible; Terrible burning inside, terrible aching, of all his bones, terrible chill, terrible itching, terrible stinging of the legs.
It was so violent he could not keep from “clawing it out”. Copious, ice-cold perspiration poured from his ankles, accompanied by this awful itching stinging, with desire to claw a this legs. The arms were hot, the feet warm, but the legs, from knees to ankles, were cold and sweating. The feet were dry, From 12 to 2 p.m. he was burning up inside; pains in the stomach at 4 p.m. that “cut off his breath, relieved by not wet towels applied to the abdomen; better at 7 p.m.
At 9 a.m., the day following the bite, I found him in a violent chill, shaking all over, even his facial muscles quivered, especially his upper and lower lips. This chill continued from 7 a.m. until he was given a remedy at 9 a.m. He complained of being cold but did not ask to be covered, and as the weather was warm no effort was made to cover him. The burning and stinging of the legs continued with general aching in all the bones. He was unable to sleep during the entire night and continued vomiting greenish water, but not very copiously.
“Oh, give me something to make me sleep”, was his repeated cry. I did but it was not morphine. I have never found it necessary to give morphine, as the homoeopathic remedy in suitable potency will relived and do it more quickly. I have proved this even in injuries and accidents with Arnica or Hypericum, or in eye injuries with Symphytum.
This man received a dose of Arsenicum 10M which was repeated in ten minutes, after which he became calm and dozed off to sleep. He returned to his work on an oil well rig in five days.
The remarkable likeness of these symptoms of those of Arsenic suggests the interesting thought “whether the full range of curative medicines may exist in either of the three kingdoms, mineral, vegetable and animal”.
In analyzing this proving we notice that the velocity is very rapid, and the pace intermittent. The physical symptoms were restlessness, with relief from motion and from hot applications. Hot drinks might have relieved his stomach symptoms had they been given, for we know, that, while he had a moderate thirst for cold drinks, there was no relief from them. There was no particular dryness of the mouth. In the direction of symptoms there was a left sided tendency, and at first a tendency to extend upward. Perhaps nature later made an effort to throw off the symptoms which then took a downward and natural healing course of direction.
The inguinal glands were affected but there was a decided preference of the cerebro-spinal nervous system. This remedy should prove efficacious in a grippe, malarial fevers, anginas, syphilis and zymotic disease. Seldom do we find a remedy that at once attacks with such violence the three planes of man, physical, mental and moral. I doubt whether the man would have lived 12 hours longer had he not received Arsenicum. I am of the opinion that without Arsenicum he would have died.
Physiological, medication, physical therapy, and expectant treatment I believe would have been useless, if not harmful. It would be interesting to know whether Arsenicum in the 30th potency, or arsenic in the form of cacodylate of soda, 606, or Fowlers solution would have cured the man. I believe any of the arsenical preparations would have saved him, but I am certain that none of the arsenical preparations could have relieved him any sooner, more permanently, or more gently the 10M that was given.
It is generally though that low potencies administered on the same plane of cause, are better antidotes for crude poisons. This may be the case with drugs of less velocity of action, but the spider venom at once attacked the inner man as well as his physical, so I gave him the 10M rather than the 30th. potency.
The spider should be proven in the higher potencies to bring out the moral symptoms. There is much work for all of us. The masters spent much time and suffering preparing the way for us, giving us our start in banking, but how few of us ever think of that promissory note, past due, to do our bit. How many additional lives would it help the next generation of physicians to comfort and save?.
The first impression of the uninitiated, who first take in hand our voluminous works on materia medica, is to perceive no difference between the recorded provings of many medicine. He thinks on glancing over the pages of the materia medica, that every medicine has caused some giddiness, some headache, some fever, some cough; all and every one of them. He remains unavoidably puzzled on the subject, until he begins to compare the records more closely and accurately, he then sees clearly the differences that exist between the various medicines and the manner in which they are similar and differ. He will first try to ascertain what kind of a pain a remedy generally produces, and on what part of the body, on what organ or part of an organ it is most apt to act.
He will find under that conditions the changed sensations in the organism are produced, and these conditions he will subdivide first as to the time, at what time of the day, month, or year, periodically and so forth; under what change of position at rest or in motion, by what kind of food or drink, and b what mental emotions the condition is either aggravated or ameliorated, and lastly in what connection the various changes appear, and their accompanying symptoms.
In this manner the progressive student will obtain the characteristic symptoms of each medicine; he will find by so studying each medicine, that various medicines have in some respects great similarities, but that in other respects they differ, in various ways, much from each other; he then makes comparisons as to similarities and differences, and he so finds out their relationship.-AD.LIPPE, 1864.