Urolophus halleri

Proving Summary

The complete proving is publishes as a monograph.  Contact the AMCH Bookstore for more information. A proving of Round Stingray (Urolophus halleri) was performed in Phoenix Arizona in the fall of 1998. The proving consisted of 15 subjects who began taking Urolophus 30C on 10/1/98.

Proving Methodology

The instructions were to take a single daily dosage for a maximum of three days but to stop after any symptoms became apparent. Participants journaled their symptoms over the space of the next month. Informed consent was obtained from each participant. Symptoms were reviewed in an exit group meeting one month later which was videotaped. Journals were reviewed separately. Any participants who had residual symptoms or improvement following the one month interval, were followed subsequently until the symptoms resolved. There were two male participants and 13 female participants. The ages ranged from 21-65 years old. The mother tincture was obtained from a healthy specimen of the whole animal obtained in San Diego California.

There were five proving supervisors who followed the provers closely over the months following the start of the proving. The proving supervisors reported directly to the proving coordinator. This was a partial proving.

Natural History

The Round Stingray is a bottom dweller. Its body is often submerged in sand and only detectable by an eye or two. There can be a sudden swirl of sand and the ray elegantly flies away, sometimes very fast with wings gently flapping. They will sometimes swim with divers and generally are quite gentle. Ulysses was said to have died from a spear tipped with a stingray spine. Captain John Smith, explorer and founder of the first english settlement at Jamestown in North America, was severely inured by a stingray in Chesapeake Bay in 1608, but survived to eat the ray. Its tail is shorter than its length. There are no dorsal fins. Its back is smooth. The color is variable but often plain brown with yellow spots and vermiculations. Its average length is 13 cm at birth. It grows to a maximum length of 56 cm. Its habitat is from Northern California to Panama. It is usually found on sand and mud bottoms. Sometimes it is also found around rocky reefs. It is said to be a good aquarium fish unlike most other rays. The average depth range is from the intertidal zone to 91 meters. Typically there are 1-6 stingrays per litter. Females aggregate in deeper offshore areas than males. They move into the shallows to mate in late winter. They give birth in two or three months. The males grasp female by the disc margin and flip under her and insert a single clasper. Mating lasts about five minutes. The rays are ovoviviparous-the lining of the uterus exudes milk during pregnancy to aid in nourishing the developing embryo. Their preferred diet consists of worms, bivalves and crustaceans. The adults bite off the extended siphons of certain bivalves (clams), protruding from the sand or mud. They also crush thin and moderately thick shelled clams. They dig large holes in the mud looking for prey and forage during the day. They are a type of ambush predator. They remain motionless and let their prey amble into striking range.

They are officially classified in the family Urolophidae (Round stingrays or stingarees). The urolophids are smaller than the whiptail stingrays (Dasyatidae) and have shorter tails. All elasmobranchs are carnivorous. Many are scavengers and have been referred to as the garbage disposals of the ocean. The medial edge of the male's pelvic fins are modified to form organs known as claspers. These organs are tube-like in form. The rays practice internal fertilization. Before mating, the clasper is rotated into position and inserted into the females cloaca. Rays have small structures known as clasper glands, located at the base of each clasper. Courtship and mating in elasmobranchs is behaviorally complex and anything but tender. The male assesses the females reproductive condition by sampling chemical signals. The male bites the female prior to, and often during copulation. This helps to hold the female to ensure successful copulation. Males can spend considerable energy trying to mate with reluctant females. Unreceptive females will stab males who grasp their fin margin with their tail sting. Persistence is a necessary attribute for courtship. When a female is receptive, the pair swims parallel to one another. As the male holds the females fin margin in his mouth, he will lift her disc, pivot underneath her, and insert a single clasper. Sometimes several males on the scene will attempt to dislodge the successful male. During the mating phase, females spend the morning buried in the shallows often in groups or lie side by side and on top of one another and form large aggregations called piles. Buried females are apparently trying to avoid amorous males. The whole reproductive phase lasts several weeks. Females are noted to mate with many males. Females can die from the wounds and fatigue of courtship. Most of the year, round stingrays segregate themselves by sex-the females occupying deeper water than males. In late winter and spring, the females move into the more shallow water occupied by males. Several months later the return to give birth. Males often charge, nip and bite each other during the mating season. Mature females often have bite wounds from other males The eggs are retained in the oviducts where they hatch, usually from a thin membranous eggcase and remain until the young are full developed. The embryo absorbs the yolk early in development and then relies on nutrient rich secretions from the uterine lining. Females will nudge their abdomens against objects to assist in giving birth. Manta rays will leap from the water and give birth when they impact the surface. 

Socialization 

Most stingrays are solitary and do not travel in schools. They only congregate during mating season. Generally rays are non aggressive. Males are only aggressive during the mating season. They do protect themselves when stepped on or intruded upon. Round stingrays can raise their tails and sting above their head in a scorpion like fashion when approached by a potential predator. They either produce a sword like laceration or they drive the spine into the limb (most commonly the ankle). Extraction of the saw shaped spine is very difficult due to the serrations and retropointed barbs. Local injury causes damaged tissue with hemorrhage and death of the muscle within the hour and extends for an inch or more around the injury. Death can occur from penetration of body cavities or from the venom or both. There average 1500 sting ray injuries in the US per year. The round stingray is responsible for many stings to humans along the California coast. The females use their stings to ward off amorous males. Stingray venom is a protein (molecular weight greater than 100,000) which is water soluble. Low concentrations cause EKG changes of increased PR intervals associated with bradycardia. First degree AV block may occur with mild hypotension. Larger doses produce vasoconstriction, second and third degree AV block and signs of cardiac ischemia. Most cardiac changes are reversible within 24 hours. Some degree of respiratory depression is also noted and convulsions may also occur. Effects of Venom: A. Localized effects: The pain is immediate and severe, increasing over 1-2 hours and easing after 6-10 hours. Secondary infection may occur. Pain is constant, pulsating or lancinating. Bleeding may be profuse. The area is quite swollen and pale with a bluish rim, centimeters in width, spreading around the wound after an hour. Local necrosis, ulceration and secondary infection are common. Osteomyelitis can occur and amputation has been known to be necessary. B. Generalized Effects: The venom is associated with anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, frequent urination and salivation. There may be extension of pain to the area of lymphatic drainage. Muscular cramps, tremors, paralysis of the affected limb, fainting, palpitations, hypotension, heart rate irregularities, difficulty breathing, cough, pain on inspiration; fever at night with copious sweating, nervousness, confusion or delirium are also known to occur. Symptoms may persist for weeks to months after an injury including a dull ache and swelling which is better on elevation. Fatalities occur either immediately or within two weeks if the spine perforates important body cavities.

Prevention

Waders are cautioned to shuffle their feet when walking in the water. Divers should swim above the sea bed and wear protective clothing which can reduce the severity of the sting. Previous Work With Stingray Stingray has been used by Marjorie Blackie in the past in her book Classical Homeopathy. She described patients who needed this remedy as “sallow, usually dark and they have rather heavy rings around their eyes. They look tired, are chilly, yet at the same time cannot stand a stuffy room. They are sensitive to all weather change, but as a rule can stand real heat. Again, they tell you of their need to sleep, how many hours they need, how they must have It or else they are no good at all. >They get a slight headache as with Medusa, like a Sepia headache, but even duller. It usually starts in the morning, strangely enough is usually better in the evening, and is made worse by noise or jarring, rather like Sepia although to a much lesser degree. One of these patients, the best case I had seen, was a dark, tall, rather tired looking man who used to faint if he had to stand for long. He found it humiliating when he had fainted at two cocktail parties where he had to stand for a long time. He asked if I would give him something to stop him doing that. He had a headache and said that when it came it lasted more or less all day but was always better in the evening. These patients also tend to be a bit sensitive to tobacco smoke and I think that this is why he had fainted. In one year, just after using Sting Ray the first time, I had two soldiers who fainted continually, especially if they had to stand for an injection. Both of them had fainted half a dozen times each within the last so many weeks. They had had a lot of injections and had had to stand for rather long. One of them had taken part in the Queen’s birthday parade and had fainted. He had been held up between two other soldiers who had held him on his feet until he came round again, but he felt frightful. Both these mend did well on Sting Ray and neither of them ever fainted again. I never inject a man standing up. Although I can inject any number of women standing up, I find I can get a man who faints and feel that they are safer sitting down. In women, you think the patient must be Sepia. They come in looking pale and drugged and very tired, with rather dark rings. You think they are going to be Sepia, but their chief complaint is of lower backache and gradually they tell you (and Sepia of course also tells you) that it always improves if the walk about. A Sepia backache goes if the patient walks about. The only difference is that with Sting Ray it does not come back, but in Sepia it always comes back when they sit. This type of patient also gets quite a lot of palpitation, the men as well as the women. If the men have a tendency to faint, they think their palpitation has something to do with it. The woman gets palpitation quite a lot but forgets it again if she is walking. The history is typically that if she gets bad palpitation, and has to go out because she has a very busy morning, by the time she comes back form shopping it is gone, which surprises her very much but which is a good symptom. They are rather tired-out patients, but in no way so despairing or such martyrs as Sepia. Sepia can be real martyrs if they go on getting tired out and have a lot to worry them, especially if they have to look after various members of the family and will not accept any help that is offered to them. Sting Ray patients are much less like this, but they do get rather hopeless.”

Stearns gives these indications for Stingray [Hom. Recorder Jan. 1937]: “Two cases of boils on the nape were cured by high potencies of the sting-ray; the relief from pain occurred within a half-hour and resolution was well advanced in 24 hours. A case of gall-bladder infection was quickly relieved of distress and all symptoms cleared up within three days. Where, in boils, indications are not plain for any remedy, one is justified in giving Stingray.

Stingray Proving Themes

1. Confusion/forgetfulness/poor memory:
2. Suspiciousness/betrayal/injustice/humiliation:
3. Disconnected/disintegration:
4. Ex boyfriends/Old acquaintances:
5. Alone:
6. Confusion between dream and reality:
7. Psychic abilities: 
8. Floating/Flying:
9. Sexuality:
10. Weddings/Reunions:
11. Motherhood:
12. Home/homelessness:
13. Animals:
14. Water:
15. Explosive violence:
16. Shabby: 
17. Lost:
18. Lots of money
19. Three

Stingray Summary

One of the central feelings that arose from the proving was that of betrayal. This came up mostly in the form of relationships. The reaction to this is one of suspiciousness, the feeling of injustice and even violence. One prover described it as “I hear from an old boyfriend-my first love-he comes to see me and I meet him in an Italian restaurant-immediately all the love I felt for him and the passion develops all over again-I tell him that and try to kiss him and he puts me off-he is not interested-I get very upset and tell him I don’t want to lose him again-again I plead with him not to go-I felt totally closed out and abandoned-he is very cold and this makes me even more desperate-I am churning inside, begging him to stay-I feel as if every atom of me will fly away and shatter me into pieces-I become enraged, take an axe and kill him-I shatter him into blood pieces-I am overcome with rage and want to go after his mother and girlfriend. With the violence there was no feeling. One prover had a dream in which “two men tried to rape me and I killed them with a broom-there was no feeling.” This relates to the feeling of disconnection in the proving. 
There was a dilemma between nurturing and connection vs betrayal. One prover dreamt that she was in a classroom with a bear and the teacher and other students were animals-the teacher was at first nurturing but then became impatient and angry. There was strong disinterest in others followed by great interest in old boyfriends who suddenly became very important. One prover described a dream where “I made several phone calls to an old boyfriend in England-I press for some kind of response and he says I wonder how it is that you weren’t interested in hearing from me in 20 years and now you can’t wait to get a call or letter. The theme of reunions and weddings was quite strong. It recalls the female stingray who separates from the males for most of the year and lives a solitary existence. She returns to mate briefly on an annual basis. The reunions for stingrays are only for sexual purposes. The weddings in the provings were not going smoothly-there was a quality of shabbiness. One prover had a dream where her daughter was sexually tortured on her wedding night. The theme of betrayal also arises around theft. This was best illustrated by one prover who had something stolen and said “stealing makes your heart dirty. The theme of sexuality was also quite strong. This is a typical theme of animal remedies. The sexuality in this remedy was focused around illicit sex and homosexuality. There was also confusion about sexuality. 
In addition, there was a strong theme of rape. Provers saw sexuality as torture in several dreams. The female stingray is often abused with many scars by the male stingray. The reverse side of this came out in one male prover who saw women as very powerful and in control of everything. The theme of water, floating and flying recalls the motion and movement of the stingray. Stingrays are known for leaping out of the water, an image that came up in several of the dreams. In addition, the image of babies floating in the water is consonant with the reproductive cycle of the animal.

 
The theme of disconnection was strong. This is similar to the remedy Sepia, although the disintegration goes beyond this recalling Baptisia. This also took on the form of confusion. In one prover, the confusion was strong, that she tried to end the proving early because her dreams felt too real. 
The motherhood theme was strong. For several provers they noted that they felt pregnant during the proving but without any emotion about it. Several provers described birthing babies in their dreams and the wish to cocoon in a safe warm place. There was also a wish to care for others babies I suspect that this remedy will be useful for menopausal symptoms. It also may be useful in fibromyalgia coupled with fatigue. One prover had a substantial improvement in her fibromyalgia. This continued at the six month follow up. Another prover had chronic nightmares with spirits being after her of being lost in her house which resolved with the proving. At a six month follow up this symptom remained cured. There is a focus on the physical level with back problems. Marjorie Blackie notes that Stingray back problems improves with walking about and now worse with sitting. Faintness, palpitations, dull headaches and fatigue were also symptoms that came up in the proving and substantiated my Marjorie Blackie’s work. One of the strongest areas effected during the proving was the throat-especially with pain and constriction. This is true of many of the ocean remedies. There was also a strong tendency towards diarrhea, especially around 5AM. There was much insomnia in the proving and several cures of chronic insomnia. Itching was a strong general characteristic. Then tend to be chilly, although with flushes of heat.

Comparisons

Stingray can be compared to Sepia, and other ocean remedies. The disconnection, rape themes and psychic abilities all recall Sepia. Many of the physical and general rubrics also contain the remedy Sepia. 

 

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