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Yellow pit viper / Fer de lance

Bothrops lanceolatus / Lachesis lanceolatus


The homeopathic remedy bothrops is prepared using the freshly obtained venom of bothrops lanceolatus and it is mainly used to cure thrombosis (intravascular coagulation of blood in any part of the circulatory system) and hemorrhages.


Belonging to a genus of venomous pit vipers that are found in Central and South America, Bothrops contains a heat-sensitive pit on both sides of its head. The generic name bothrops has its origin in the Greek words bothrops denoting ‘pit’ and ‘ops’ meaning ‘eye’ or ‘face’ – a reference to the heat-sensitive organs on its head. Compared to any other group of venomous snakes, members of this genus are liable for more number of snake-bite deaths in the Americas. As of date, 32 species of snakes in this genus have been identified.


It may be noted that the yellow pit viper is a highly poisonous snake and its bite may prove to be fatal for humans. This species is distinguished by its gray or brown color and a series of black-edged diamonds, which usually have a paler shade along the border. Anyone suffering a yellow pit viper bite on a limb experiences rapid swelling of the part, so much so that it becomes enormous in size. At the same time, the limb is infected along with the formation of gangrene.


The yellow pit viper is a very violent and extremely poisonous snake that is indigenous to the island of Martinique. The highly poisonous snake, which belongs to the family of Crotalidae, is commonly known as the Martinique lance head or fer-de-lance.


Usually, a large, semi-arborial and heavy-bodied Martinique lance head adult is about 150 cm to 200 cm, however, there have been instances when snakes as long as 300 cm too have been sighted. The color of this species body ranges from gray to brown to yellowish tan and usually has marked darker patterns on the back as well as laterally. The top of the lance head’s head generally has a darker color. The color of the belly region of the snake varies from a paler yellowish-gray to grayish-brown. In the case of some snakes, the belly region is also freckled with small, relatively darker grayish marks.


The yellow pit viper or bothrops lanceolatus is mainly found in humid tropical forests as well as tropical soggy forest in the highlands. Sometimes, this species is also found inhabiting the stony hillsides. Previously, this species was found in a number of other Caribbean islands, but now it is only found on Martinique island, on land ranging from the sea level to about 1,300 m height.


Although the yellow pit viper is generally a nocturnal species and primarily land-dwelling, some members of this species have also been found living at a height of 20 meters above the ground. As mentioned before, the yellow pit viper or bothrops lanceolatus is a very aggressive snake and has the ability to attack swiftly when it is taken aback or endangered. This species is known to be ovoviviparous (producing eggs and hatching them inside the body), but the size of the litter has not yet been reported. This species of snakes mainly feeds of birds, lizards, small mammals that are available to it and also frogs.


The venom of bothrops lanceolauts is basically hemotoxic (a poison that results in hemolytic reactions), usually with cytotoxic (a substance poisonous to living cells) aspects. Envenomation or the injection of this snake’s venom is likely to cause regular internal bleeding and at the same time, damage the local tissues. Several deaths of humans owing to bites by bothrops lanceolauts (B. lanceolauts) have been kept in details.


Parts used


The homeopathic remedy bothrops is prepared from the freshly obtained venom of the poisonous snake bothrops lanceolauts or the yellow pit viper found in the South and Central America. Although this homeopathic medication is prepared from deadly snake venom, it does not retain any of the toxic or poisonous attributes of the substance it is made from and is absolutely safe for human use.




Unlike most other homeopathic medications, bothrops has limited therapeutic uses. This homeopathic remedy is primarily used to treat thrombosis or hemorrhaging. In addition, bothrops may also be given to patients who have suffered strokes on the left side along with paralysis on the right side and enduring incapability to be eloquent or memorize the right words. Generally, individuals needing this homeopathic medication are somewhat slow or tired and they also experience trembling due to nervousness.


There are no specific factors that are known to make people bitten by the yellow pit viper feel better or improve their symptoms. On the other hand, they feel worse or their symptoms deteriorate when they are walking, on their right side or taking a deep breath. In addition, their condition worsens after midnight and also at sunrise.




The yellow pit viper or bothrops lanceolatus, whose venom forms the basis of the homeopathic remedy bothrops, is found on the Martinique Island in the Caribbean. Earlier, this species was also found on several other islands of the Caribbean. This species is an Ophidian belonging to the Crotalidae family. Bothrops lanceolatus is a highly aggressive snake and its venom is extremely poisonous.


Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy

Homeopathy uses very dilute substances to stimulate the body’s healing power. Its basic principle is treat ‘like with like’. This involves treating a patient’s symptoms with minute amounts of a substance that would cause similar symptoms in a healthy person. This practice contrasts with conventional allopathic medicine, in which treating ‘like with opposite’ prevails; that is, a disease is treated with a substance that opposes it.

The first person to practise the healing principle of treating ‘like with like’ was Greek physician Hippocrates (c.460-377BCE). His method went against the thinking of the time, which held that the gods were the main force behind a disease, and that a cure could be found by treating with a substance that had an opposite effect in a healthy person.

German doctor Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) was the modern-day founder of homeopathy. He proved the principle of ‘like curing like’ with his experiments with quinine, known to be an effective treatment for malaria. He found he developed malarial symptoms after taking doses of quinine (he was otherwise in good health). These effects lasted hours after each dose.

He tested other substances in the same way, in a process known as ‘proving’. He ‘proved’ more than 100 homeopathic remedies in his lifetime, publishing his findings in ‘The Organon of Rational Medicine’ in 1811. He believed that the remedies worked by activating a person’s ‘vital force’, that is, the body’s own healing potential. Having conducted tests on many volunteers, he came to realise the importance of taking into account the personality traits of each person receiving the treatment. He found that particular ‘types’ of people manifested different symptoms to the same disease and so required treatment with different remedies in accordance with their ‘type’.

American doctor James Tyler Kent (1849-1943) furthered Hahnemann’s work on the different ‘types’ of people and the matching of a remedy to their emotional and physical characteristics. These ‘types’ became known as ‘constitutional types’.

Homeopathic remedies

Remedies can be made from many different substances. The most common sources are flowers, plants, roots, trees, poisons, minerals and metals. Certain insects are also used. Hahnemann used the smallest possible amount of a substance to trigger a healing effect. This was to minimise side effects. He realised that the more a substance was diluted, the better the results, provided it was also vigorously shaken (in a process known as succussion) at each stage of dilution. Counter­intuitive though it seems, the less of the original substance that remained in the remedy, the greater its potency and effectiveness. The process of diluting a remedy to render it effective is called potentisation. First an alcohol/water extract is made from the substance. This is the mother tincture. The extract is diluted to the required potency.

Old homeopathic belladonna remedy.

The main potencies are denoted by x, c and m: x means the remedy has been diluted one part mother tincture in 9 drops of water; c means one part of mother tincture in 99 drops of water; and m means one part of mother tincture in 999 drops of water. A 1c potency is one part in 99 parts of water. A 2c potency is created by taking one part of the previous dilution (i.e., the 1c potency) and diluting it in 99 parts of water. The most common potencies used are 6c, 12c and 30c.

Once the required potency is reached, a few drops of the substance are applied to lactose (milk sugar) tablets. The tablets must be kept dry and away from direct sunlight. For the purposes of self-treatment as detailed here, it is suggested that the 30c potencies are used, as these are commonly available. To obtain the best results, consult a homeopath. They may prescribe higher potencies depending on the initial consultation and the presenting problem. This is particularly the case if the ailment has a strong emotional or mental aspect.

1857 painting by Alexander Beydeman showing historical figures and personifications of homeopathy observing the brutality of medicine of the 19th century

Homeopathic pills, homeopathic remedy oscillococcinum

Historical context

Hippocrates, in about 400 BC, perhaps originated homeopathy when he prescribed a small dose of mandrake root – which in larger doses produced mania – to treat mania itself; in the 16th century the pioneer of pharmacology Paracelsus declared that small doses of “what makes a man ill also cures him.” Samuel Hahnemann (1755–1843) gave homeopathy its name and expanded its principles in the late 18th century. At that time, mainstream medicine used methods like bloodletting and purging, and administered complex mixtures, such as Venice treacle, which was made from 64 substances including opium, myrrh, and viper’s flesh. These treatments often worsened symptoms and sometimes proved fatal. Hahnemann rejected these practices – which had been extolled for centuries as irrational and inadvisable; instead, he advocated the use of single drugs at lower doses and promoted an immaterial, vitalistic view of how living organisms function, believing that diseases have spiritual, as well as physical causes.

Homeopathic remedy Rhus toxicodendron, derived from poison ivy.

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