Drug Provings Homeopathy Papers

Proving of Heloderma (Gila Monster)

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Reading lists of proving symptoms never gives the flavor of what the prover experienced. Here is the dramatic firsthand account of homeopath Dr. Robert Boocock’s proving of Heloderma.

I am feeling like a man who had just come from under a deadly risk”

The oppression round my heart and chest producing a suffocating feeling that makes me afraid”

I fear sometimes that the trembling in my hands may never fully leave me now.”

I know it looks cowardly to give up, but my family compels me to do something to enable me to keep about.”


The proving that follows is from the virus of the Gila monster obtained by Dr. Charles D. Belden, of Phoenix, Arizona, in 1890, who suggested it as a possible remedy for paralysis agitans and locomotor ataxia.

A supply of this poison was sent to Dr. Robert Boocock at his request for Proving. He made three different trials of it, the results of which were published in the Homeopathic Recorder for March and April, 1893. Here is a portion of the nearly 30 pages of notes he took.

The following is from Dr. Boocock’s notes:

I am in my sixtieth year, sanguine, bilious temperament, fair complexion and weigh 160 pounds ; height, 5 feet 6 inches. My normal pulse rate is 72, full, round and regular. I am in very good health. I do not drink alcoholic beverages of any kind, neither do I smoke nor drink strong coffee, or tea, or cocoa.

When I received the first bottle of Heloderma horridus I took a one drachm vial and filled it with the 6x trit., and dissolved it in four ounces of diluted alcohol, of which I took a few drops and dried my fingers on my tongue. A severe feeling of internal coldness, so intense as to cause me to fear being frozen to death, ensued. I had some twitches about my heart, as if the blood was hard to get in or out. I was somewhat alarmed, but as I had no trembling I sat over the register and tried to get warm. The day was a very cold one, but my office was comfortably warm, and I had no consciousness of having taken cold.

I was not surprised at feeling this so soon after taking the few drops, for I know that I am very sensitive to any medicine and have a bad habit of tasting medicine, but never without being conscious of its effects, sometimes very unpleasantly so.

Now, today is warm and damp, thunderstorm this morning, although it is December 9th. The storm lasted three or more hours; lightning very vivid. I had already taken one drop of the 30th, with a very severe nervous headache, but I forgot that when I took the medicine. I have medicated 2 oz. No. 35 globules with 30th dilution, and have taken six globules as a dose before they were dry.

A feeling of heat in head and face, some headache over the right eyebrow. Cold feeling in my legs; after two hours a numb feeling around and down my left thigh ; feeling very drowsy, so took a short nap in my chair. Was awakened suddenly with a jerking in my head. Central part of frontal bone so queer as to awaken me.

When my office bell rang it threw me into a startled and trembling condition, something new to me. At 5:30 took four globules more.

8 P. M. The pressure at my heart and in my head and scalp is very great A feeling of great heat and some pressure. Not so much burning in my face, but a feeling on my left cheek as if being pricked with points of ice. A very severe and tired feeling, with coldness of legs and feet a slight dryness of my lips, with a tingling feeling and great dryness in my throat. Gurgling in the region of the spleen.

9:30 P. M. The pressure and heat on the top of my head appears like an inflammation of the meninges. It does not affect my mind. That remains clear, and I can think and read as well and as long as ever. No more medicine.

December 29, 1892. No medicine. Some trembling, but not so great or so extensive; it does not now extend along the whole limb. Parts of right arm and left thigh hemiplegial; no acute feeling, but some muscles will twitch and tremble for a few seconds. Just enough to arrest my attention and amuse me and feel like saying, “Hello, Heloderma! Have you not done with me yet?” For it is a great surprise to me how these feelings will come on and creep over me. And I am inclined to ask myself, can it be that all these strange and to me new feelings can be the effects following the taking of these few doses? And yet, if it were necessary, I could swear they were.

I have my fears if I will ever be free from these nervous trembling spells, and the feeling in my head and heart. (The foregoing gives the gist of the first trials. The third and last now follows. It was made with repeated doses of the 30th potency. )

Sensation as if a cold, freezing wind were blowing upon me from the bend of my knees. Head feeling as if the scalp were being drawn tight over my skull, and my facial muscles were being drawn very tight over the bones. A giddiness and a cold pressure from within the skull. A cold, running chill from superior maxillary down to the chin. Trembling of limbs. Coldness extending from the knee into the calf of the leg. Pain and pressure within the skull from crown to occiput, and from back forward over the left eye. A very drowsy feeling. I could sleep if I gave way to the feeling.

January 4, 1893, 7:45 a. m. Took another dose of six globules. Pulse, 72, Temperature 97 . A flush of heat in my face. A feeling as if I were walking on sponge or as if my feet were swollen. Dull headache. The arctic cold feeling is more in my right arm, elbow joint, and right thigh and left foot. A great trembling of my arm. It is hard work to steady my hand, which holds my book, enough to continue reading or writing.

The feeling of swelling in my feet of walking on sponges sensation, continues ; a springiness, with a sense of looseness in stepping out, which requires some caution, as if I were not sure of my steps. The trembling of my hands is on the increase; feeling of soreness in my heart, more under left nipple; pain in my back, lumbar. Some little scalding of urine; flow not so free and full, intermitting slightly, as if I had some calculus in the bladder which interfered with continuous flow. Stool more free and full. Ear wax, which had been very dry now flows from both ears but is more free on the left side. Left nostril sore, ulcerated. Throat sore and tender to outside touch.

9 p. M. Very weak feeling, with pain in my heart; same place, under left nipple. Head aches and arctic rays in various parts of my body.

January 5, 12 noon. Took twelve more globules. Numb feeling in my head. A feeling as if I would fall on my right side. A good drive this morning in the snowstorm and felt a desire to bear to the right side and could not walk straight because of this, and had repeatedly to stop or step to the left to get a straight course on the causeway. A good deal of the same feeling, but very weak and sleepy; was compelled to lie down, but did not sleep, although feeling very drowsy; laid very quiet, as if I was in a stupor ; the old feeling in various parts of my body, only more acute; a feeling in various parts as if a needle were being thrust into my flesh.

4:45 P. M. Took thirteen globules. A very stiff neck the most prominent feeling. All the previously recorded feelings, only more intensely. I have a painful boring feeling in the middle third of left thigh.

8:30. Flushed, hot feeling in my head and face, but no increase in color; but then I have just come out of the storm.

9:30. Took twelve globules more and retired to rest; very tired ; slept very profoundly until 1 a.m., then could not sleep. My back, in the lumbar muscles, ached so and my left leg that I could not sleep for hours, and my brain felt as if scalded; an intense burning feeling in the meninges, for this did not affect my power to think. This hot feeling commenced and spread down my back. An intense pain over left eyebrow, through my left eye to base of brain and down my back.

The pain in the back of my head caused me to bore my head deep into my pillow, and reminded me of cases I have seen of cerebro-spinal meningitis. An intense weakness, as if I had no power to move, and no wish to do so, and yet I was afraid I could not attend to my business. Yet, strange to say, I was not alarmed, but passively indifferent, I could not open my eyes without great effort; it was hard work to keep them open and the easiest thing for them to close, as if there were a great weight upon them, keeping them down. I begged to be allowed to remain in bed until someone wanted me professionally, and yet I could not thus give way to my feelings, and so got up.

About the author

Robert Boocock

Dr. Robert Boocock (1833-1903) was born in York, England and was a homeopathic physician and an ordained minister in the Baptist Church.

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