This section is from the book "A Practitioner's Handbook Of Materia Medica And Therapeutics", by Thos. S. Blair. Also available from Amazon: A Practitioner's handbook of Materia Medica and Therapeutics.
Lachesis, Virus or Venom of Lance Headed Viper. Like all snake venoms, this substance decomposes the blood, rendering it more fluid and inducing septic states. It is well known that a degree of immunity results from doses of attenuated virus, very minute at first and gradually increased. The homeopaths use lachesis very prominently upon some such basis. They do not claim that this agent inhibits micro-organisms, but they do claim that it is a remedy in septic intoxication in which pus is not a factor or not the main one. They use it in diphtheria, peritonitis, erysipelas, and other grave diseases in the sixth to two hundredth "potency" and have devoted an astonishing amount of study to this peculiar drug. It is illustrative of a rather long list of organic poisons employed in their practice. We can well omit detailed consideration of the rest of them. So long as we use various forms of serum treatment and find success therein, we cannot altogether combat the homeopathic employment of these organic poisons. Personally, I believe they have gotten hold of the fringe of a big question which neither school knows much about much as yet. As we look upon the matter, it certainly does appear foolish to contend that infinitely attenuated snake venom has any influence when taken into the stomach; in view of the fact that one can suck the pure virus out of a wound and not be harmed thereby. However, they claim that there are toxines in an assimilable form in their triturations. We cannot deny that, and so the matter rests. In view of the fact that many homeopaths use attenuations of vaccine virus in tablet triturate or powdered form and make the claim, with no more substantial basis than the "law of similars," that this form of alleged vaccination protects against smallpox, it is high time our laboratory experts looked into these matters. Personally, with all deference to our homeopathic friends, it looks as if they are running their similar proposition so far into the ground that they will wake up to the fact that they have buried it. If lachesis influences blood sepsis, and if we can cure tuberculosis by attenuated tubercular nodules, and cancer by attenuations of its own juices; if the poison of the toad cures epilepsy and feeblemindedness; triturated plant lice, toothache; triturated bedbug, malaria; triturated ladybug, neuralgia; triturated mosquito, hives; potato bug, gonorrhea; crushed live ants, gout; meconium from the amniotic fluid of the colt, chorea; grease in horses, smallpox; triturated gonorrheal virus, chronic rheumatism; triturated "polecat perfume," whooping cough; and a long list of other abominations, each a "potentized" cure in its way, we may just as well go to China for our therapeutics. As a matter of fact, live ants contain formic acid, which has some influence in gout and rheumatism, and possibly the rest of these agents might, in some round-about way, slightly influence certain diseases; but it is unworthy of a school of therapeutics to resurrect these old Oriental horrors in medical practice. The modern school of homeopaths largely agree with what is here said. If lachesis and other organic poisons ever do attain a place in scientific therapeutics, it will be by sterile attenuations employed hypodermical1y.