Dr Shilpa R Metran
Background: Homoeopathy is a system which does not treat based on the diagnosis of any specific condition rather it treats any condition based on its symptom similarity with the remedies, which is capable of producing similar signs and symptoms in healthy human beings.
Discussion: Snake bites produce signs and symptoms similar to the signs and symptoms of varicose veins, hence based on symptom similarity, snake remedies are dynamised and used in the treatment of varicose veins. Thus demonstrating the “law of similars” in a scientific way.
KEYWORDS varicose veins, snake remedies, homoeopathy, symptom similarity
DIC(disseminated intravascular coagulation), SVSP(Snake venom serine protease).
Objectives of the study
- To understand how snake remedies produce symptoms similar to varicose veins.
- To demonstrate the law of similars.
Homoeopathy is a system based on the law of similar, “similia similibus curentur”, meaning let likes to be cured by likes. Homoeopathic medicines are prepared by various substances from plants to minerals to toxic animals. One such animal venom used is, snakes. Medicines prepared homeopathically from snakes act on various disease conditions of human system. One such condition is varicose veins.
Varicose veins are twisted, enlarged veins near the surface of the skin and they mostly develop in the legs and ankles. Due to prolonged standing or sitting, the blood in the veins of the legs pool and the pressure in the veins increase and causing stretching of the veins, weakening the vein wall resulting in varicose veins . 
In simple words the function of veins is to drain the deoxygenated blood from all the body parts into the heart for oxygenation. The veins in the lower limbs must drain the blood from the legs to the heart against the gravitational force hence to prevent the back flow of the blood the valves in the vein wall prevents it.
But due to long standing, obesity, long sitting, smoking, hormonal factors etc, the valves in the veins become weak and thus hamper the one direction flow of blood in the veins causing reverse flow and stagnation of blood in the veins causing dilated, torturous veins in the legs, called as varicose veins.
The conventional treatment for varicose veins usually involves techniques like sclerotherapy, laser surgery, micro sclerotherapy, endovenous ablation therapy and endoscopic vein surgery. These treatments commonly has side effects that include vascular injuries, deep vein thrombosis, nerve damage, , wound complications like skin infections, blood clots, scarring and staining of the skin. Despite an invasive surgery, the chances of recurrence of the problem are common.
Hence, here comes the role of homoeopathy in the treatment of varicose veins, where the presenting signs and symptoms of the patient are considered and based on the symptom similarity of the drug and the patient’s complaints medicines are given. Medicines act on the dynamic level of the patient and strengthen the valves of the veins, dissolves the clots formed inside the veins due to stagnation which in turn reduces the symptoms like pain, cramps, heaviness and edema etc. There are many remedies which help with these signs and symptoms of varicose veins in homoeopathy like Arnica montana, Bothrops lanceolatus, Calcarea flourica, Crotalus horridus, Flouric acid ,Hamamelis virginiana, Lachesis muta ,Pulsatilla nigricans, Vipera berus etc. Among these the snake remedies have astonishing effects on varicose veins they are Lachesis muta, Crotalus horridus, Vipera berus, and Bothrops lanceolatus.
Snake venoms are aqueous solutions of proteins mixed with mucus and epithelial debris, fatty matter and some other salts like chlorides, calcium, magnesium and phosphates of ammonium, are also found in the venom. Chemically they resemble the ptomaine bodies; but physiologically most venoms contain:
- Haemotoxic – This damages the blood vessels and bleeds into the tissues.
- Neurotoxin- which paralyzes the nerve centers, particularly the nerve centers of the medulla
- Anti-coagulant – which prevents the coagulation of the blood and predisposes to hemorrhage
- Haemolysin – This dissolves the red blood corpuscles.
- Agglutinin- which effects the agglutination of both red and white blood corpuscles
- Other components yet to be established conclusively.
Most snake venoms exhibit strong haemotoxic properties by interfering with blood clotting factors, platelets, blood pressure and causes hemorrhage. Hematological abnormalities such as thrombocytopenia, DIC (disseminated intravascular coagulation) and prolonged bleeding and clotting times due to coagulation factor abnormalities are very common with snakebites, particularly viper bites.
The underlying mechanism for thrombotic complications is due to the imbalance between the pro-coagulant and anti-coagulant systems in the body. Haemotoxic snake venoms cause profound abnormalities in the coagulation system and platelets leading to the syndrome of DIC (disseminated intravascular coagulation). This condition causes excessive bleeding following the uncontrolled activation of coagulation events resulting in a consumption coagulopathy.
Snake venom serine protease (SVSP) toxins increase the vascular permeability of blood vessels by degrading capillary basement membranes, resulting in hemorrhage. Hemorrhage caused by snake venom is often complicated and exacerbated by patients presenting with blood clotting disturbances as the result of venom induced consumption coagulopathy. Snake venom haemotoxins exhibit diverse functionalities resulting in hemorrhagic, coagulopathic and hypotensive pathology in snakebite victims. 
Snake bites causes cytotoxicity which are characterized by painful and progressive swelling at the bite site, developing into tender local swelling, edema, heaviness, cramps, increased local heat blistering and bruising pains which is similar to the presentation of varicose veins. 
Hence, based on the symptom similarity of acute signs and symptoms produced in case of a snake bite and that of varicose veins, also applying the doctrine of signature; rising heat – snake rears up when caught and the tortured veins, dilated veins – appear to be like snakes appearance externally; snake remedies can be used for the treatment of varicose veins when given in a dynamic level.
When these snake venoms are dynamised the lethal effects of the venom is diminished completely, as it does not act on the physiological level, they act on the dynamic plane thus producing a similar signs and symptoms of that of varicose veins; pain, heaviness, cramps, tenderness, edema, blistering etc when proved on a healthy human.
- Lachesis muta- Varicose veins, the whole leg is swollen and aches, sore and burning. Plegmasia alba dolens. Foot like marble from varicose swellings. Ulcer on right leg with varicose swelling.[6,7]
- Crotalus horridus – Phlebitis, varicose veins, and varicocele. Lower limbs go to sleep easily. Limbs inflamed, swollen and gangrenous. Predominantly right sided remedy. Cramp like pain in the calves, heels and toes.
- Vipera berus- Varicose veins, patient is obliged to keep the limbs elevated. When limbs are allowed to hang down, it seems as if they would burst and the pain is unbearable. Varicose veins and acute phlebitis. Veins swollen, sensitive, bursting pain. Blue lower limbs. Severe cramp in the lower limbs.
- Bothrops lanceolatus- Edema, heaviness of lower limbs. Numbness. Phlebitis. Suppuration of leg. Varicose veins. Leg is badly infected after surgery for varicose veins. Swollen veins. Gangrenous ulcers.
Thus, we realized that snakes when bitten due to its haematoxins causes clots in the veins producing symptoms like pain, cramp, edema, heaviness, gangrenous conditions due to lack of circulation, which are all similar to the presentation of the condition varicose veins. Applying the homoeopathic law of similia, snake venoms and toxins has the ability to produce symptoms similar to that of varicose veins also has the ability to remove those symptoms when given homeopathically, which has given excellent results in the treatment of varicose veins for decades. In the same way all the homeopathic medicines when potentised and dynamised they produce artificial disease in the healthy humans due to its active principles and alkaloids which when given to a similar disease condition cures it, demonstating the law of similars.
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Dr Shilpa R Metran
BHMS, MD Scholar, Department of Materia Medica,
Father Muller Homoeopathic Medical College, Karnataka.