Brown Recluse Spider- A Lesser Known Spider Remedy

Dr.Akshata S. Halladamal discusses about rare homeopathic remedy Loxosceles recluse prepared from Brown Recluse Spider.

When we say spiders, we think of the most commonly used spider remedies like Tarantula, Theridion, Aranea or Lactrodectus. Unlike thousands of species of spiders available on the planet today, proving of these species has been much less in number compared to their availability.Let us know some interesting facts about this rare remedy named Loxosceles recluse (loxo-r) – Brown Recluse Spider.

Introduction and history :

Gertsch and Mulaik were first to describe this brown spider in 1940. This remedy was first proved in homoeopathy by Dr.Louis Kleinin 1997-1998 by conducting provings with the double-blind trial method. The remedy is now recognized as Brown Recluse with necrotic venom.

Dr.Klein decided to prove this remedy after many homoeopathic practitioners and veterinarians requested it. Numerous brown recluse spider bites were being reported in certain parts of North America, not only in humans but also in animals. Some of these cases ended in severe illness and even death.

Description of the spider :

This spider is found mostly in south central United States, belonging to class- Arachnida and family-Sicarridae. The coloris dark chocolate or mahogany brown. It consists of six eyes (unlike other spiders that have 8 eyes) arranged in pairs with one medial and two lateral pairs. It measures about 7-12 mm in length and 4-6 mm in diameter. It has an oval body with four long, thin legs on each side of the cephalothorax. Both body and legs are covered by short hairs invisible to the naked eyes. They are seen mostly in dry areas, indoors or outdoors, garages, closets of homes, under rocks, decaying logs etc.

Parts used for homeopathic preparation: Venom of the spider.

Behaviour of the spider:

The brown recluse is shy and avoids light. These habits all support namingthis brown spider the recluse. It is thought to bite only in self-defense.It is not an aggressive spider and will not attack unless cornered or molested. These spiders move very slowly, with great caution but when they attack, theyare extremely quick, their legs begin tovibrate, and they withdraw slightly, and then jump.It is nocturnal, moving freely in search of its prey which is an important aspect of its behavior as the bites commonly occur at night. In terms of mating behavior the initial contact between 2 spiders is likely to be theresult of chance. Once they have becomeaware of each other, they either freeze or flee. On mating either the female kills the male spider or the male gives the female a non-fatal bite.

Effects of spider bite:

The venom of this spider contains phopholipase, sphinomyelinase-D, which components are involved in cell lysis. The bite from these spiders results in a dermo-necrotic lesion which is difficult to heal. The spider injects only a few tenths of a microlitre of venom. The bite is found to be unpainfull initially and painful and itchy within 2-8 hours. The immediate reaction is transient erythema followed by a mottled appearance of the skin. Within 24 hours this zone of erythema becomes an irregular zone of necrosis ranging from a few centimeters to 30cm and soon ulceration of the wound takes place. If the venom injected is less in quantity no necrosis takes place.

Major Symptoms produced during its proving:

Mind– Feeling of hopelessness, despair, isolation- feels alone even when with others. Anger with rage and quick repentance. suicidal thoughts-wants to kill himself. Desire to escape. Fear of animals, bats and dark. Industrious- mania for work. Hallucinations ‘I felt I could die’. Insomnia, negative at best (child).

Head– Frontal headache with burning sensation.

Eyes –Blackened, dilatation of pupils, redness and yellowness of eyes with burning and stinging sensation.

Ears – Pain worse from cold.

Gastrointestinal – Cyanosis of lips, difficulty swallowing, severe cramps, diarrhea with cramping pain before stools. Prefers to drink small amounts of water, which is promptly vomited. But there is intense thirst, forcing patient to drink at least four litres per day.

Heart – Consciousness of heart palpitations. Pulse with poor volume.

Pains– Stitching, stabbing and stinging types of pain.

Sexual organs – Uterine neuralgia, increased sexual desires, sexual dreams.

Extremities – Paralysis- right arm and hand numbness, sensation like ‘pins and needles – it was like it had no muscles in it’. Cold hands. Pain on moving affected limbs.

Skin– It produces dermonecrotic lesions. The entire lesion ‘itched terribly’ or can produce mild pruritus.

Generalities – Alternating feeling of hot and cold.

Hence proving this remedy it was found that, though it plays a major role in the treatment of brown recluse spider bite, it is also helpful in the treatment of symptoms like suicidal depression.It also works well in chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and muscular rheumatic complaints and for individuals who have suicidal impulses.

References:

  1. Dillaha CJ, M.D., Jansen GT, M.D., Honeycutt WM, M.D., and Hayden CR, M.D. 1964. North American Loxoscelism;Necrotic Bite of the Brown Recluse Spider. JAMA 188: 33-36.
  2. Julian OA. Materia Medica of New Homoeopathic Remedies. Beaconsfield: Beaconsfield 1979.
  3. Foil LD, Frazier JL and Norment BR. 1979. Partial Characterization of Lethal and Neuroactive Components of the Brown Reclluse Spider (Loxosceles reclusa) Venom. Toxicon 17: 347-354.
  4. Geren CR, Chan TK, Howell DE and Odell GV. 1976. Isolation and Characterization of Toxins from Brown Recluse Spider Venom (Loxosceles reclusa). Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics 174: 90-99.
  5. Loxosceles reclusa- A homeopathic proving. Available from:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281366608_Loxosceles_reclusa_a_new_proving.

About the author

Akshata Halladamal

Akshata Halladamal

Dr. Akshata S. Halladamal is a postgraduate student in the department of Homeopathic Pharmacy, Father Muller Homeopathic medical college, Mangalore, India.