Indian Journal of Research in Homeopathy

: 2019  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 159--176

A review on animal-based homoeopathic drugs and their applications in biomedicine

Bibaswan Biswas1, EN Sundaram1, Shyaga Jhansi1, Satish Patel1, Anil Khurana2, Raj K Manchanda2,  
1 Drug Standardisation Unit (H), Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
2 Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Bibaswan Biswas
Drug Standardisation Unit (H), OUB-32, Vikrampuri, Road No. 4, Habsiguda, Hyderabad - 500 007, Telangana


Homoeopathy is one of the most well-practiced medical systems in the world. In Homoeopathy, like all other natural sources, animal and their secretions have been widely used. However, unlike other natural sources of homoeopathic drugs, for example, plants and chemicals, the collection and preparation of animal-based drugs are extremely challenging, especially for drugs from exotic animals. Considering the challenges, we envision that a review regarding the animal-based therapeutics, used in Homoeopathy, may be useful. Our review, consistently has found that the discoveries of the modern biomedicine agree with the reports from the homoeopathic literature. In many cases, the recent biomedical and medicinal chemistry research aptly justifies the findings of the old homoeopathic literature. Even though there are many animal-based homoeopathic drugs, this review will focus only on those drugs which are included in Essential Drugs List of Homoeopathy. We believe this article will not only be beneficial towards homoeopathic community but also may provide needed information regarding homoeopathic findings for future biomedical research.

How to cite this article:
Biswas B, Sundaram E N, Jhansi S, Patel S, Khurana A, Manchanda RK. A review on animal-based homoeopathic drugs and their applications in biomedicine.Indian J Res Homoeopathy 2019;13:159-176

How to cite this URL:
Biswas B, Sundaram E N, Jhansi S, Patel S, Khurana A, Manchanda RK. A review on animal-based homoeopathic drugs and their applications in biomedicine. Indian J Res Homoeopathy [serial online] 2019 [cited 2019 Dec 7 ];13:159-176
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Full Text


Homoeopathic system of medicine is the second largest medical system in the world. Homoeopathic medicines are prepared from wide range of natural sources such as plants, chemicals, minerals, microbes and animals. Homoeopathic medicines prepared from animals' venoms, secretions and fluids etc., [Table 1] have special place in the homoeopathic pharmacy. The quality, safety and therapeutic efficacy of animal-based drugs chiefly depend on their genuineness. The crude drugs from animal sources remain questionable for their quality, especially when they are procured commercially from trade due to adulteration, substitution and inappropriate storage conditions. Therefore, it is an essential aspect to check the current nomenclatures, diagnostic specifications, identification and authentication of source materials of raw drugs, testing and preparation methods of medicines, etc., according to modern scientific validation on regular basis.{Table 1}

However, there are many challenges associated with identification, authentication and collection of source materials for production of animal-based drugs; for example, medicines procured from endangered species, those bred in captivity and sometimes dangerous to handle. To overcome these challenges, it is necessary to undertake in-depth study of the chemical constituents of the drugs, originated from animals. This is particularly important as this not only will unravel the origin of their bioactivities of those drugs but also will pave the path of the synthesis of the therapeutically relevant chemical constituents to successfully substitute the existing formulation in case of the unavailability of the natural sources.

In Homoeopathy, there are numerous drugs. Considering their necessity for public health, Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India has listed a number of drugs under the essential drug list (EDL).[1(i)] Few of the aforementioned list are of animal origin. We here review those drugs. Thus, even though [Table 1] has covered almost all animal-based homoeopathic drugs, we envisioned that discussion of the drugs in EDL will largely serve the purpose of the review. The animal-based EDL drugs which will be discussed in detail are listed in [Table 2].{Table 2}

This review essentially includes the exploration and characterisation of bioactive chemicals present in those medicines of animal origin. In this article, we discussed the research related to the therapeutic uses of the certain widely administrated animal-based homoeopathic drugs (under EDL) as well as their medicinally relevant ingredients. Furthermore, we seek to address the issue of unavailability of the raw drugs by replacing them with synthetic sources. We hope this review article will be beneficial towards the research not only related to Homoeopathy but also to overall biomedical research.

 Apis Mellifica

Homoeopathic use

The homoeopathic formulation consists of whole live European honey bees Apis mellifica Linn. (Synonym: Apis mellifica; Family: Apidae). In Homoeopathy, Dr. C. W. Wolf and Dr. William Boericke, M.D. reported several uses of Apis mellifica.[1(ii)],[2] Dr. William Boericke reported the use of Apis mellifica in physiological and psychological ailments. The ailments include burning while urination, involuntary passage of stool on every motion, swollen fiery red tonsils, vertigo with sneezing, headache, indifference, apathy and stupor alternating with erotic mania.[2] Overall, physiological effects of the drug chiefly deal with external as well as internal inflammation.[2] Rev. Brauns, a clergyman of Thuringia, was first to report honeybee venom in their pure form as a therapeutic agent. He eventually published his results regarding the animal trials. E. E. Marcy, in Theory and Practice, published his results regarding the medical usage of dried and powdered bees. Recognising the immense therapeutic activity of bee venom, the clinical findings were reported in the form of a monograph in the Amerikanische Arzneiprüfungen (American Proving), Vol. I, p. 171-422.

Research in modern biomedicine

Recent scientific study related to the bioactivity of venoms has explored the potential medicinal usage of bee venom in modern medicines. Owen detected the presence of Serotonin, 5-hydroxytryptamine, an essential human neurotransmitter in bee venom.[3] Their further study proved that serotonin is a fundamental component of the venom.[4] Lin's work indicated that bee venom possesses anticoagulant properties.[5] The main toxin present in bee venom is Melittin, a small peptide [Figure 1]. It exhibits numerous bioactivities.[6],[7] Its anticancer activity was reported by Song and Hong. They found that melittin as well as the bee venom inhibited the growth of SKOV3 and PA-1 ovarian cancer cells.[8] Beside melittin, the constituents of bee venom include number of bioactive peptides, enzymes and small molecules.[9],[10] New findings have also confirmed the use of bee venom as antinociceptive agent.[11] The report suggested that the origin of the activity of the venom is due to its anti-inflammatory activity.[12] Bee venom also shows antibacterial activity towards Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria.[13] It shows activity against penicillin-resistant strain of Staphylococcus aureus.[13] Bee venom is also known to show anti-HIV, at large antiviral activities.[14] It also shows anticancer activities chiefly via apoptosis.[15],[16]{Figure 1}


Homoeopathic use

Cockroaches are considered as one of the most abundant pests in the world and survived many mass extinctions. Until recently, the therapeutic effects of the cockroaches have not been recognised by the scientific community. However, this is not the case with the homoeopathic community.

There are many medicinal properties reported with cockroaches, Blatta orientalis and Blatta americana in Homoeopathy. These two species are native to two different geographical area as indicated in their species name. B. orientalis is chiefly used to treat asthma while Blatta Americana is used for oedema.[17],[18],[19],[20]

Research in modern biomedicine

The beneficial effects of homoeopathic drug – B. orientalis which is under EDL has been explored by recent biomedical communities.[21],[22] The study has shown antibacterial activity of B. orientalis hemolymph against five bacterial strains. The bacterial strains are Proteus mirabilis, Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi, Staphylococcus aureus a nd Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Highest activity was observed with E. coli. Moderate activity was seen against P. mirabilis, S. aureus and P. aeruginosa. The lowest activity was observed against S. typhi. The SDS-PAGE analysis showed bands at 18 kDa, 30 kDa and 66 kDa. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) showed peaks from 3299 cm −1 to 546 cm −1. The FTIR studies suggest the presence of cyclopeptane, aromatic compounds, triazoles, secondary sulphonamide, bromo compounds, secondary amide, vinyl halides, thiophenes, aldehyde group, methylene compound and sulphonic acid groups. The authors suggested that the presence of these functional groups may lead to its antibacterial effects. Considering the potential of these drugs, chemical analysis of the drugs has been carried out.[23] The study provided the physicochemical standards for the homoeopathic formulation of the drug. In the work, the HPTLC data showed many spots indicating chemical complexity of the aqueous ethanolic extract of the drug.


Homoeopathic use

Sponges have been extensively used in Homoeopathy. In Homoeopathy, both fresh water and marine sponges have been used to treat numerous ailments. The homoeopathic drug derived from fresh water sponge Spongilla lacustris Linn (Family: Spongillidae; Synonyms: Spongilla fluviatilis) is called Badiaga, while the Spongia tosta is made from marine sponge Spongia officinalis Linn. (Family: Spongiidae; Synonyms: Euspongia officinalis).[24],[25] Badiaga has been widely used by homoeopathic practitioners. Dr. T.F Allen described the use of Badiaga in physiological ailments.[26] For example, he reported the use of the drug, especially for headache. Beside headache, it has also been used as overall pain reliever. Interestingly, he mentioned the use of the drug for Bubo. Dr. C. Hering reported its usage in inflammatory conditions of eye, throat and head.[27] J.H. Clarke reported that the drug can be employed for breast cancer.[28] Similar to Badiaga, Spongia tosta has also been extensively used by homoeopathic practitioner around the world. According to Dr. James Tyler Kent, this particular drug is especially beneficial for thyroid and cardiac diseases.[29] His report has been supported by the writings of Dr. H.C. Allen, Dr. E.A. Neatby and Dr. William Boericke.[30],[31],[32] Interestingly, Chinese traditional medicine reports the use of sponge in goitre.[33]

Research in modern biomedicine

Homoeopathic clinical observations have been supported by recent discovery of anti-inflammatory agents from sponges. There are many such agents which have been isolated, characterised and their activities have been evaluated from sponges. Chemically, those agents can broadly be classified into four classes: terpenes, steroids, nitrogenous, octahydroindenes and glycolipids. Among them, terpenes is the most important, as many sponge-originated terpenes (>20) have shown anti-inflammatory activities (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) [Figure 2].[34] Interestingly, the extracted anti-inflammatory agents additionally show antiallergic and anticancer activities (e.g., avarol and avarone).[35] These findings are in agreement with the Homoeopathy literatures.[28] Manoalide shows antibiotic, analgesic and anticancer effects.[36],[39] Ilimaquinone shows anticancer activities [Figure 2].[38] Plakotenin is reported to exhibit cytotoxicity, a potential anticancer agent [Figure 2].[39] Topsentin shows antitumour and antiviral activities [Figure 2].[40]{Figure 2}

Similarly, Spongilipid tetracosan-1-ol-1-O-β-D-gluco-pyranoside, isolated from fresh water sponge shows cytotoxic activities.[41] S. lacustris powder extract in 3% hydrogen peroxide solution has also been used to treat acne vulgaris.[42] A number of polyenoic fatty acids, having anti-microbial properties, have also been isolated from fresh water sponge. The studies show that the secondary metabolites from sponge exhibit antibacterial, antimicrobial, cytotoxic, antifungal and antibacterial effects. Compared to antibacterial agents, antiviral agents are rare. However, there are a number of antiviral compounds which have been isolated from marine sponge. The findings are quite important as Dragmacidin F which shows anti-HIV properties [Figure 3].[43] Overall, modern biomedical science recognises sponges as one of the most important sources for bioactive natural products.{Figure 3}

Considering the immense potential of marine sponges and reported homoeopathic literature, researchers explored Spongia tosta formulation similar to Homoeopathy in in vitro study.[44] Methanolic extract of Spongia tosta exhibits free radical scavenging activity and cytotoxicity against breast cancer cell line MCF 7. Encouraged by their result, the same group further explored the cytotoxic effects of ethanolic extract of Spongia tosta further.[44] They found that the drug shows anticancer activity against liver carcinoma, African green monkey kidney cell line, colon cancer cell line and lung cancer cell line. In accordance, the homoeopathic literatures' sponges also are found to exhibit antitumor, cardiovascular and muscle-relaxing activities.[45]

Eryloside F, a penasterol disaccharide isolated from sponge, is a thrombin receptor antagonist [Figure 4].[46] Another compound, Cyclotheonamide A inhibits serine protease [Figure 4].[47] Halichlorine, a cyclic aza polyketide, is a VCAM 1* inhibitor [Figure 4].[48] All these findings strongly suggest that marine sponge likely to possess very high level of efficacy towards cardiovascular diseases. Interestingly, sponges are known to contain muscle relaxants. For example, Xestospongin C and S1319 [Figure 5].[49] Beside muscle-relaxing effect, S1319 exhibits bronchodilation property.[50]{Figure 4}{Figure 5}

 Bufo Rana

Homoeopathic use

Bufo Rana is a homoeopathic remedy, made from the poison secreted from the dorsal glands of a toad, called Bufo bufo Linn. (Family: Bufonidae; Synonyms: Rana bufo Linn., Bufo vulgaris Lau.) As this poison is part of their defence mechanism, it can be extracted by threatening or irritating the toad. In 1879, Dr A. Cowperthwaite, of Iowa, in his Materia Medica reported the usefulness of the drug for ailments of cerebrospinal system. Dr. Henry Clarke reported the use of the drug to treat dropsy. However, this drug has mostly used to treat epilepsy. Dr. Holocombe recorded a case history in detail where Bufo rana was successfully administered to treat epilepsy.[51] Beside neurological disorders, this drug is known to cure a number of diseases, for example, cancer, stammering, meningitis, heart disorders, gout and skin disorders.[52]

Research in modern biomedicine

The therapeutic values of the toad poison have recently been explored through research in the field of biomedicine with the help of chemical biology. Recent research has isolated and characterises a number of biologically active chemicals from the venom. Interestingly, most of them show considerable neurological effect. The existence of neuroactive compounds in toad venom clearly provides evidence for homoeopathic literature. Toad venom contains serotonin, 5-MeO-DMT, bufalin, bufotenin, norepinephrine, bufagins, epinephrine, bufothionine and bufotalin [Figure 6].[53]{Figure 6}

Serotonin chiefly has numerous effects in human body. It reduces depression, regulates anxiety, heals wounds, stimulates nausea, maintains bone health, balances libido and mental stability. 5-MeO-DMT, used as a recreational drug, possesses neurological effect. The effect of bufotenin is similar to that of 5-MeO-DMT. In fact, the mode of action of serotonin, 5-MeO-DMT and bufotenin are similar.[53] Bufalin exhibits in vitro antitumor activity against different malignant tumours, including lung carcinoma and hepatocellular.[54],[55] Norepinephrine, a toad venom-based compound, has diverse biological activity and arguably one of the most important components of bufotoxins.[56] It acts as a stress hormone, neurotransmitter and vasoconstrictor. Arenobufagin acts as an isoform-specific probe. This can be employed for sensing human sulfotransferase 2A1.[57] Cinobufagin has extensive clinical importance. It could be used to treat cancer, heart failure and pain (analgesic).[58] Marinobufagenin is a vasoconstrictor.[59] Epinephrine is used for cardiac arrest, anaphylaxis and superficial haemorrhage. Inhalation of epinephrine can be administrated to lessen the symptoms of croup.[60]

 Sea Snail

Homoeopathic use

Murex purpurea is prepared from juice found in sac situated between heart and liver of sea snail, Bolinus brandaris Linn. (Family: Muricidae; Synonyms: Murex brandaris Linn., Haustellum brandaris Linn.). The shell is usually golden brown with a very long siphonal canal and a rounded body and a rounded and broad body whorl. There are many therapeutic effects documented in Homoeopathy literature.[61] The effects are associated with ailments related to head, stomach, larynx and urinary tract. However, the most important and widely appreciated effect of the drug is its effect on women's health. Both Dr. A. Lippe and J. Hempel reported the effectiveness of Murex purpurea in treating pains of women's genital organs including cancer.[61],[62]

Research in modern biomedicine

Recent biomedical research also provides evidences regarding therapeutic properties of Murex purpurea. Benkendorff reported anticancer activity of the drug.[62]

Snails are known to contain large number of biological compounds. As a result, this well-known traditional medicine has been immensely investigated by the modern biomedical communities. In general, the bioactive chemicals coming from snail could be classified into two categories: (a) small molecules and (b) proteins. Both classes show significant bioactivities.

Biliverdin IX, derived a green tetrapyrrolic bile pigment, shows considerable antioxidant and antimutagenic activities [Figure 7]. Its antioxidant effect could be attributed to its ability to act as a peroxyl radical scavenger.[63] It also shows activities towards preventing cardiovascular diseases. Interestingly, this compound also acts as an HIV-1 protease inhibitor.[64] Furthermore, it has also been successfully used in fluorescence imaging.[65] 7-Dehydrocholesterol acts as provitamin-D3 protects skin from ultraviolet rays [Figure 7]. Tetrodotoxin, a neurotoxin, has been studied to combat cancer-related pain [Figure 7].[66] Its effectiveness has been supported by clinical trials. This has also been used to treat migraine. This mode of action is suggested to be associated with TTX-sensitive Na+ channel. Furthermore, it is clinically used to treat headache during heroin withdrawal.[67] Murexine and senecioylcholine exhibit neuromuscular-blocking activities through affecting nicotinic acetylcholine receptors [Figure 7].[68] 6-bromoisatin and structurally related compound impart apoptosis in female reproductive cancer cell selectively [Figure 7].[69] It also shows antipathogenic activity.[68] Acrylylcholine, extracted from snails, show neuromuscular blocking activity, in the hypobranchial gland [Figure 7].[68]{Figure 7}

The second class of bioactive compounds from the snails are proteins. Conkunitzin S1, protein isolated from snail, can be used to increase glucose-stimulated insulin secretion via blocking Kv1.7 potassium currents [Figure 8].[70] Ziconotide is a synthetic and non-opioid, analgesic [Figure 8].[71] This has been approved by Food and Drug Administration, USA (FDA) in 2004 under the trade name of Prialt™. This is a structural as well as functional analogue of an ω-conotoxin, isolated from marine snail. This is one of the few examples of nonnarcotic medication to treat chronic and severe pain.[72]{Figure 8}


Homoeopathic use

Cantharis, prepared from the insect Lytta vesicatoria Linn. (Family: Cantharidae; Synonym: Cantharis vesicatoria Linn., Meloevesicatorius Linn.) has been extensively used in pain treatment, especially for treating burning pain in ureter, genitals and other organs. The higher potencies have exclusively been administered owing to its extremely high toxicity in concentrated form. The proving has been documented in Lectures on Homoeopathic Materia Medica-James Tyler Kent.[73]

Research in modern biomedicine

It has widely been used to treat blisters. The active pharmaceutical ingredient present in the drug is cantharidin [Figure 9]. This compound is in Phase 3 of Clinical trial for treatment of molluscum.[74] Beside pain-related usage, the modern biomedicinal research found further bioactivities of cantharidin. Animal trials show the effect of cantharidin as a topical treatment of cutaneous leishmaniasis.[75] Furthermore, it exhibits anticancer activities against malignant tumour cells.{Figure 9}


Homoeopathic use

Homoeopathic drug Sepia is prepared from the ink of Sepia officinalis Linn. (Family: Sepiidae; Synonym: Sepia zebrine Risso, Sepia rugosa Bowdich). There are many usages of the drug in Homoeopathy.[76] However, this drug is particularly used to treat several gynaecological complaints. For example, it is particularly useful to relieve symptoms related to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and menopause. It also can be used to treat aliments related to ovaries, uterus and vagina. It is particularly helpful to fight against yeast infection during and after pregnancy. Overall, the effect of the drug is pain reliever. This drug is also used to treat digestive problems, especially difficulties associated with fatty foods and dairy products. This is also used for headaches and itchy patches in the skin. It has also been used for exhaustion and poor circulation.

Research in modern biomedicine

The medicinal importance of this drug has also been recognised by modern medical system. Cuttlefish (Sepia) ink has shown numerous promising bioactivities.[77] S. officinalis ink shows in vitro antioxidant, cytotoxic and analgesic activities.[78] S. officinalis ink can photoprotect against blue light-induced apoptosis of human retinal pigment epithelium cells.[79] Cuttlefish ink also shows antiretroviral activity.[80] One of the remarkable effects of cuttlefish ink is its radio protective effects on hemopoietic injury.[81] Cephalopod inks in general have been extensively used as anticancer agents. These results are in good agreement with the homoeopathic literatures.[82] Peptidoglycans, one of the components of cuttlefish ink, shows antitumor activities. It is believed to be resulted from the inhibition of embryonic development.[83] Sepia ink oligopeptide (SIO) shows anticancer activity against prostate cancer cell by inducing apoptosis through activation of induction of apoptosis via activation of caspase-3 and elevation of the ratio of Bax/Bcl-2 [Figure 10].[84],[85],[86],[87]{Figure 10}

 Eel Serum

Homoeopathic use

Eel serum prepared from Anguilla bengalensis Grey (Family: Anguillidae; Subspecies: Anguilla benglaensis bengalensis, Anguilla bengalensis labiata) has extensively used in Homoeopathy for kidney diseases. In homoeopathic Materia Medica, William Boericke mentioned the serum as a toxin that can destroy blood globules.[88] It is also mentioned as a medicine used in kidney-related ailments. Dr. Nels Bergman reported the use of this medicine in hypertension as well as kidney diseases.

Research in modern biomedicine and other medical system

This remedy has also been used in other traditional medical system, for example, Fresh blood is consumed to treat general weakness and asthma among Ao tribe of Nagaland, India.[89] The modern medical system has found anticancer activities in eel serum.[90] Eel serum contains atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) which can act a vasodepressor and is natriuretically-active in rats. This ANP was found to be 100 more potent than that of human ANP.[91] It is quite clear that the recent biomedical findings regarding cardiovascular applications of eel serum are in agreement with the reports in the old homoeopathic remedies.

 Snake Venom

Homoeopathic use

There are different kinds of snake venoms such as Vipera, Lachesis, Crotalus horridus and Naja tripudians, which have been used in Homoeopathy. Here, we only discuss about the snake venom-based drugs under EDL. Importantly, each venom possesses different mode of therapeutic usages. Vipera, derived from the venom of Daboia russelii (Family: Viperidae; Synonyms: Daboia elegans Grey, Vipera daboia Daudin) has been used to treat haemorrhages, senility, premature mental condition, neurasthenia, tongue swelling, varicosis, jaundice, enlargement of liver, epistaxis, phlebitis and goitre.[92] Lachesis, produced from the venom of Lachesis muta Linn (Family: Viperidae; Synonyms: Crotalus mutus Linn., Lachesis muta muta Taylor), has been proved to cure small pox. It is one of the most important remedies for hot flushes in menopause syndrome. This is also being used to relieve symptoms associated with PMS. This is also been used in sore throat and ailments associated.[93] This is also used to soothe mental or emotional symptoms. Lachesis has profound importance to treat diverse circulatory problems and angina.[94] Interestingly, recent studies also show similar bioactivities.[95] Crotalus horridus obtained from the venom of Crotalus horridus Linn. (Family: Viperidae; Synonyms: Crotalus catesbaei Hemprich) has also been used in Homoeopathy for number of physiological and psychological issues. It is particularly useful treating severe internal intoxication affecting blood and heart.[96] It is also useful for sepsis.[97],[98] It is used to cure psychiatric uses, for example, apathy, lethargy and detachment.[99] Naja tripudians consists of the venom derived from Naja naja Linn.(Family: Elapidae: Synonyms: Naja tripudians Merrem, Coluber naja Linn.).

Research in modern biomedicine

This venom usually has pain-relieving and soothing effects on mind.[100] Recent studies also show anti-HIV effects of the snake venom.[101] These medicinal properties of snake venoms have also been explored by biomedical communities.

Cobratoxin present in Naja naja Linn. It shows numerous beneficial effects as a painkiller and in conditions like lung cancer, multiple sclerosis [Figure 11].[102],[103],[104]{Figure 11}

Dilute Russell's viper venom time is an in vitro test to detect Lupus anticoagulant [Figure 12].[105] The mode of action is the activation of factor X that converts prothrombin into thrombin in the presence of phospholipid and factor V. Contortrostatin is a snake venom disintegrin. Recently, it has been found that the disintegrin has antitumor and antiangiogenic activities.[106]{Figure 12}

Captopril is the earliest FDA-approved drug which was derived from snake venom. This drug is being used for hypertension and cardiac disorders [Figure 13]. This also shows mood elevation in certain patients.[107]{Figure 13}

Snake venoms are known to possess anticoagulant activities. For example, Eptifibatide – an approved antiplatelet drug under the glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitor class [Figure 14].[108] This drug is a closed-ring heptapeptide produced from a protein, present in the venom of the rattle snakes. It belongs to the class of peptides that mimics the arginin–glycin–aspartat and reversibly binds to the platelets.{Figure 14}

Considering the cytotoxic effect of the snake venoms, their potential as antitumor agents is quite promising. Even though snake venoms' composition are extremely complex, the antitumour activities of the venoms are majorly due to the presence of metalloproteases, serine proteases, phospholipases A2, L-amino acid oxidases, disintegrins and lectins.[106],[109],[110],[111] Hannalgesin, obtained as the neurotoxin, shows strong analgesic effect without permanent adverse muscular and neurological effect.[112] Snake venom also shows antibacterial effects.[113]


Homoeopathic use

There are many spiders-based drugs which have been used in Homoeopathy. Tarentula hispana prepared from Lycosa tarantula Linn. (Family: Lycosidae) is used in mostly mental disorders. It is also used in physiological disorders, for example, hyperactivity, ADHD, problem children, headaches, restless leg syndrome, restlessness, ADD, migraines, autism, Parkinson's disease, abscesses and has also shown beneficial effects in a case of anorexia.[114] The medical usages of Tarentula cubensis(Family: Lycosidae) include treatment of carbuncle, gangrene, intermittent fever of evening exacerbation, diarrhoea, severe stinging and burning pain.[115] Homoeopathic drug, Mygale prepared from Mygale lasiodora Linn.(Family: Antrodiaetidae), is used in nervousness, prostration and palpitation. It is used to prevent twitching of the facial muscles. It is also used in agitation and involuntary motion of the body. Recent study shows activities against acute aching pain, difficult breathing, bad dream, etc.[116] Recent studies show that spider venoms possess analgesic effects.[117] The venom could potentially be used in stroke treatment.[118]

Research in modern biomedicine

Furthermore, spider venom contains HF-7.[119] This active ingredient blocks receptors on the nerve cell membranes preventing glutamate production. The arrest of glutamate product ceases the cell death due to oxygen unavailability. It also prevents atrial fibrillation. This is performed by the active protein GsMtx-4.

 Carbo Animalis

Homoeopathic use

The medicine was introduced by Hahnemann. It has been primarily prescribed by him for chronic diseases. He also provided the detailed method of preparation of the drug. The drug was prepared by him by placing a thick piece of ox-hide in-between two hot charcoals burning without flames. The hide was burned till the flame coming out from the hide extinguished. Then, the red hot charred mass was extinguished by pressing with stones from both of the sides. Charred hide contains many chemicals. However, the two principal constituents are carbon and calcium phosphate. Fueter and Schweizer Zeitschrift successfully used it for burnt mole, glandular indurations, goitre and scirrhus. Dürr used human-bone coal for mesenteric atrophy. According to C. Hering, it has effects on mind.[120] Especially, it can be used to treat depressive mood and nervousness in general. It has also been used for ear, nose, eye and throat infections and/or ailments. James Tyler Kent in Homoeopathic Lectures on Materia Medica provided detail regarding the efficacy of the drug.[121] He prescribed the medicine for weakness and anaemia. Interestingly, he mentioned the use if this medicine for cancerous ulcers. His observations regarding treatment of cancerous ulcer is in agreement with the observations by Fueter and Schweizer Zeitschrift. Willam Boericke reported the use of the medicine in a wide variety of ailments, for example, headache, respiratory, skin diseases and uterine cancer. Overall, his observations are in agreement with the observation of Hering and Kent.[122]

 Research in Modern Biomedicine

Activated charcoal is used in modern medical practice. The key use of the material is to absorb toxins present in the body. It is particularly helpful for preventing toxic effects due to overdose.[123] Orally administrated activated charcoal has been found to be clinically active for not only controlling the cholesterol but also beneficial balancing of LDL and HDL. In the study, seven patients with hypercholesterolaemia were treated and monitored for 4 weeks while administering activated charcoal at a dose of 8 g three times a day. The pathological results found that in plasma, total cholesterol was decreased by 25%. Furthermore, LDL was decreased by 25% while HDL was increased by 8%.[124] Beside these, activated charcoal has been found to reduce phosphate ions in serum during dialysis, in cholestasis treatment, etc.[125]

 Formica Rufa

Homoeopathic use

It is prepared from European red wood ants. Homoeopathy medicine Formica Rufa has been described in homoeopathic materia medica of WilliamBoericke.[126] He reports the medicine for wide variety of physiological and psychological effects. It is indicated in conditions like vertigo, headache, nasal polypi, rheumatic iritis, heartburn, nausea, irregular bowel, bloody or albuminous urination, skin itching, sexual weakness and respiratory ailments. It is described as an arthritic medicine. Dr. Sylwestrowicz of the Hering Research Laboratory of Hahnemann College, Philadelphia indicated that the primary use of the medicine is in gout, especially in case of acute condition. He also indicated its use in psoriasis, loss of hair, chronic eczema, kidney ailments, nephritis, Dupuytren's contraction and bone swelling. He also prescribed the drug in rheumatic fever.[127] Hering also reported the medicines. According to him, it can be used to treat forgetfulness. Also, he prescribed the medicine for throat infection, dizziness and ear pain. Similar to other authors, he also prescribed the medicine for gout and limb stiffness.[128]

Research in modern biomedicine

Ant-based compounds show promising bioactivities. Terpenoid bioactive compound isolated from Papua ant nest contains terpenoids. Those terpenoids were found to be cytotoxic and induced apoptosis in human ovarian cell lines (SKOV-3) and increased Caspase–9 activity.[129] Indian tree ant, Oecophylla smaragdina, Fabricius's larvae and pupae contain bioactive proteins. These peptides show anti-angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE) and antioxidative bioactivities.[130] In general, many insect-derived pheromone show promising bioactivity.[131]


Homoeopathic use

Even though many milk-based homoeopathic medicines are reported, here we are going to discuss only Lac defloratum and Lac caninum as these are only two in the EDL. Lac defloratum is prepared from skimmed cow milk. Donkin successfully treated diabetes and Bright's disease with skimmed milk. Later, the work was further extended by Dr Swan who potentised and proved the medicine. It had shown results in nerve-related issues. It also shows efficacy against despondence, American sick headache, nausea, intense throbbing, constipation, copious and pale urine.[132] It is indicated for conditions like psychological problems, vertigo, fever, insomnia, photophobia and kidney ailments.[133] It can also be used for diarrhoea in infants.[134] Lac caninum is prepared from dog (bitch) milk. It is a psychotic drug.[135] It is used in persons with low confidence, inferiority complex etc. It has also been used to treat Diphtheria.[136]

Research in modern biomedicine

The beneficial effects of milk are numerous. Thus it may not be possible to include all of them here. Here we will discuss shortly about the new findings. Bioactive peptides have been identified within the amino acid sequences of native milk proteins. As the peptide sequencing of short peptides are challenging further study in the area is required to unravel the bioactivities components chemically.[137] In general the native proteins in milk do not show bioactivities. However, proteolytic digestion leads to the release of encrypted bioactive peptides present in the milk. Due to their physiological and physicochemical versatility, milk peptides are regarded as greatly important components for health promoting foods or pharmaceutical applications. Milk is known to contain antihypertensive peptides. In vitro enzymatic digestion of milk proteins, several ACE-inhibitory peptides were identified.[138] Peptides derived from αs-casein has been found to scavenge free radicals and lipid peroxidation.[139],[140] Iwami reported the existence of hypocholesterolemic peptides in milk.[141] Among antimicrobial peptides, the lactoferricins are studied the most, which are derived from bovine and human lactoferrin. Lactoferricins, originated from milk have shown to have antimicrobial activities against yeasts, filamentous fungi and many Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria.[142]


Homoeopathic use

The homoeopathic formulation has been prepared from Skunk's anal secretion. Hering proved the medicine in 30C. It is reported to be indicated in clinical conditions like vertigo, asthma, tooth and gum pain and discharge from the ears, whooping cough etc.[143],[144],[145]

Research in modern biomedicine

Chemical constituents: Majorly, there are two kinds of compounds which are present in the secretion: (a) thiols and (b) acetate derivatives of the thiols, e.g. (E)-2-butene-1-thiol and 3-methyl-1-butanethiol and 2-quinoline-methanethiol. Among them, first two are the primary cause for the unpleasant smell of the secretion. The acetate derivatives of the thiols are less odoriferous. It also contains 2-methylquinoline.[146],[147] Quinolines have been studied extensively for bioactivities. Among them, anticancer activities are the most prominent ones.[148] In fact, one of the components – 2-methylquinoline shows antiprion activities.[149]


Homoeopathic use

This medicine is prepared from the whole mite. In general, this medicine is anti-inflammatory. According to Allen, it can act on head, eye, ear, stomach, throat and mouth.[150] William Boericke reported the use of this medicine in abdominal pain.[151] Hering also reported its use in various inflammation.[152] Douglass indicated its use in abdominal pain and diarrhoea.[153]


Homoeopathic use

It is being prepared from dried whole thyroid glands of domestic sheep. Clark indicated its use in acromegaly, abscess, albuminuria, amblyopia, amenorrhoea, anaemia, backache, constipation, fibroma, convulsions, optic neuritis, paralysis and tetanus.[154] Lippe reported its usage in muscle weakness, rickets, cretinism and arrested development of children etc.[155] Allen reported its use to cure palpitation, hysteria and different kinds of pain.[156]

Research in modern biomedicine

Thyroid gland is extremely important gland-secreting hormones. The thyroid gland is an endocrine gland near the neck. It consists of two lobes which connected to each other by isthmus. The thyroid gland secretes three hormones of two types. (a) the two thyroid hormones (thyroxine/T4 and triiodothyronine/T3) and (b) calcitonin. The thyroid hormones chiefly regulate the metabolic rate and protein synthesis. However, besides these, it also influences developments. Calcitonin is associated with calcium homeostasis.[157]


There are many animal-based drugs which are available in Homoeopathy showing diverse pharmacological effects. Interestingly, the recent biomedical studies also support the proving reported in Homoeopathic literature. However, recent development of analytical and biochemical field enables us to unravel the origin of the bioactivities. With the new discoveries, it is now possible to detect the active pharmaceutical ingredients. Thus, it is possible to undertake SAR (Structure Activity Relationship) study using structurally simple analogues. Overall, it could be inferred from the available literature that today's biochemical research related to animal-based drugs is considerably based on the findings of early homoeopathic practitioners. In future investigations, medical science can rely on the homoeopathic literature for drug discovery in the field of the animal-based therapeutics.


The authors are thankful to Prof. Nirmala Baburao and all the supporting staffs of DSU (H), CCRH, Hyderabad, India.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

None declared.


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