Bufo bufo. Bufo vulgaris. Common Toad.
CLASSIFICATION Toads and frogs are amphibians belonging to the order Salientia [from L. salire, to leap] or Anura [from Gr. an, without, and oura, tail]. Amphibians [from Gr. amphi, on both sides or double, and bios, life] lead a double life, dividing their life between land and water. Anatomically they come
midway between fishes and reptiles. Toads, frogs, salamanders, newts, and caecillians form a class of animals that have skin poison glands and mucous
glands. The skin has no feathers, scales, or hair. Most amphibians start their life as aquatic larvae, and in subsequent stages metamorphose into their final
adult stage. Anurans are highly specialized for a hopping method of locomotion. Most species can walk slowly, rather like newts, but they rely on hopping / jumping for fast movements. This is facilitated by the lightness of the whole body skeleton as a result of the reduction and loss of bones during the evolution of
amphibians. This is particularly apparent in the skull.
NAME "Bufo is a buffoon. The word buffoon is derived from buffare, to puff, and in 1658 Edward Topsel, referring to the toad, stated that the Latins called it
Bufo '... because it swelleth when it is angry'. In medieval courts the buffoon or jester, by his licensed mockery of the king and nobles, acted as a mirror so
that, by objectivation of any tendency in them towards being pompous or 'puffed up', the great were enabled to keep their sense of proportion and a decent
TOADS AND FROGS There are some 3400 known species of toads and frogs. Although there is no scientific distinction between toads and frogs, frogs are
typically smooth-skinned, have long hind limbs for leaping, and live in water, where toads have warty, drier skin, with shorter hind limbs for hopping, and live on
land. Toads and frogs inhabit a wide variety of habitats, ranging from arid desert regions to mountainous regions to tropical rainforests to swamps. Toads and
frogs have at most nine vertebrae in front of the sacrum, and the three or four posterior to the sacrum are fused into a rod called the urostyle. In contrast with
salamanders and caecillians, toads and frogs are tailless in the adult stage. The lack of a tail, reduction in vertebrae, and elongation of propulsive segments of
the body [utilized in jumping], are several of the features that set toads and frogs apart from other major vertebrate groups. In addition, toads and frogs have a
distinctive life phase known as the tadpole, and a unique mechanism of tongue projection. 2 Toads are famed for their longevity and may live forty years or
TEMPERATURE Temperature and water regulation are critical to toads and frogs. They rely on the ambient temperature for body temperature regulation.
Toads and frogs in temperate zones cannot remain active during the winter months and then enter into a state of torpor or extremely reduced activity. During
the warm summer months they remain underground, or in the water, during the day and become active at night. Susceptible to dehydration, toads and frogs
have a permeable skin that gives them the ability to absorb water simply by jumping into a pond or sitting in a puddle. Toads and frogs living in arid regions
regulate their body water in other ways: their skin is impermeable to water to prevent rapid evaporation and their bodies may be covered with a thick mucus, or
they avoid the heat altogether by burrowing. 3 Toads appear more by night than day. When cold weather comes, toads dig backwards into their summer quarters or choose another site for their hibernation. The toad inflates its body to occupy the entire space of its burrow and to prevent too great drops in body
temperature. Homoeopathically, Bufo has the interesting feeling of 'being forced as through a narrow opening.'
MATING During the mating season - triggered by rainfall and temperature change - thousands of toads and frogs become active in attracting mates by calling;
often many males call in chorus, usually near a pond, where the eggs can be laid and fertilized. Egg masses are laid in long chains or in large clumps.
Parental care varies from little care in species laying many smaller eggs to remaining with the eggs until they develop in species laying a few larger eggs. 4
Mating occurs by a process known as amplexus [from L. amplexus, embrace or encircling], in which the male clasps the female until she deposits her eggs.
There is no courtship; the first male that meets a female mounts, without any ado, on her back and clasps her firmly round her neck. Once coupled with a
female, a male toad will not relax his hold however badly he is treated or attacked by superfluous males. Even when severely injured, as by pecks from crows, males will continue in their quest to breed. It frequently happens that several males cling to one female. The female will suffocate under such a multiple
embrace and clusters of toads are often found clasping a corpse. It is common to find decomposing bodies of female toads in breeding ponds, drowned during
episodes of gang-rape. Sometimes these corpses provide food for their offspring. Males may clasp objects such as rocks or logs, their clasping reflex being so
strong that it will continue even after mutilation. As the female lays her eggs, the male discharges seminal fluid, containing the sperm, over the eggs to fertilize
them. Numbering up to 20,000 [depending on species], the eggs are laid in strings, and hatch within 12 days. "Toads' breeding habits are devoid of subtleties and could more easily be called gang-rape. Males achieve orgasm when their hind feet make contact with the egg-disgorging cloaca of the female. I had heard
of this toe-stimulation leading to orgasm, but was surprised to witness it first hand. While observing toads one spring, I noticed an attacking male coupling with
the head of a male in possession and appearing to be strangling it. I tried to dislodge the attacker, and he instantly took a fancy to my hand. Toads have full
colour vision, and females are often pink-tinged at this time. Perhaps this is why it attached itself to my finger; whatever the reason, I could not shake it off. I
eventually tried to prize it off by lifting its hind legs. It deposited a clouded liquid and slipped off."5
HERMAPHRODITISM "Found only in Bufonidae is a structure known as Bidders Organ which is present in both sexes and which, in the male, produces
hermaphroditism. In the male toad the mature functional sexual gland is preceded by a non-functional gland which assumes female form, and thus every male
toad begins as a female, changing its sex when the masculine factors have overcome the feminine. The rudimentary gland known as Bidders Organ
degenerates and atrophies as the true gland evolves but it never disappears completely. It is a minute non-functional ovary, the development of which is
inhibited by the testicles. If a young male toad is castrated, Bidders Organ begins to develop and within a year or so he will be capable of evacuating the large,
ripe, fertilizable eggs which will have filled the ovaries. Through the coupling of feminized males with normal male toads, offspring have been obtained which are
literally the children of two fathers, for the spawning toad is still a male as far as its chromosomes are concerned. In the female toad the rudimentary sexual
gland assumes the same sex as the mature gland and Bidders Organ appears to be more atrophied than in the male. If a young female is sterilized she may
eventually ovulate from Bidders Organ instead of from her natural ovaries."6
DEFENCE Many anurans rely on concealment and their protective colouring. Toads defend themselves in a more active way. They have short legs, stout
bodies, and thick skins with prominent warts. The warty skin contains many poison glands that produce a poisonous milky fluid, providing toads with excellent
protection from potential predators. When faced with predators, i.e. snakes, some species inflate themselves while raising their bodies by fully extending their
limbs - increasing their normal size by as much as 50 per cent -, while others shoot venom from the parotid and other glands on the back.
TONGUE The tongue is an organ which was first developed by the amphibians; no fish have such a structure. It is attached to the front of the mouth. Using an
extendible tongue that shoots out, toads capture flying insects in the blink of an eye. Toads can move their tongue faster than they could ever move
HEARING Frogs and toads have developed eardrums. These detect sound vibrations in the air very efficiently. "While exploiting this ability to hear, the anurans
developed a voice. Frogs and toads are most impressive singers. The lungs which blow air through their vocal chords are still simple and relatively feeble, but
many frogs amplify the sound of their voices with huge swelling throats or resonating sacs bulging from the corners of the jaws. An assemblage of frogs, calling
in a tropical swamp, can create such a noise that a human voice has to shout to make itself heard. The variety of sound produced by different species is
enormous and amazing to anyone who has only heard frogs of the temperate regions. There are groans, metallic clicks, mewing and wails, belches and
RESPIRATION "Having no ribs, anurans cannot breathe by expanding the chest and sucking air into the lungs as reptiles and mammals do, they can only
breathe with their mouths tightly closed, and air entering the mouth through the nostrils is forced down the glottis into the lungs by the intermittent lowering of
the throat and contraction of its muscles. This action can be observed in a pulsation of the throat which in Common Toads and Frogs varies from ninety to one-
hundred-and-fifty beats to the minute and thus the throat appears to be in a state of perpetual motion."8
SKIN "The skin plays an important part in the life of anurans. It is an auxiliary respiratory organ and experiments have shown that respiration through the lungs
alone is not sufficient to support their life on land for long, while during periods spent under water or buried in mud, their breathing is carried on entirely through
the skin. They do not drink through the mouth but through the integument and, although Bufo stands desiccation better than Rana, it absorbs water almost as
readily, for both carry a reserve supply of liquid which they will eject if roughly handled. So long as the skin is moist, blood vessels in the dermis can extract oxygen from the air, but if the skin dries it becomes impervious to air and they soon suffocate."9
CHANGING COLOUR "Amphibians have the ability to change the colour of their skin, thus enabling them to escape detection against different backgrounds.
The natural colouring of Bufo bufo blends with the soil of its surroundings, for on a white ground it becomes lighter in tone and on a black surface, darker. There
are, however, factors which bring about change in the colour of the skin irrespective of environment. Emotions such as fear or anger can make it lose colour;
dryness, light, and warmth will induce light colour, and moisture, darkness, and cold dark colour. Toads late in hibernating and caught by sudden frost can turn
INTELLIGENCE Toads are thought to be more intelligent than frogs. Contrary to the frog, who remains very shy and unresponsive to human beings, Bufo bufo
is easily tamable and, as one author claimed, it is "easily responsive to appreciation, and comes out to a friendly call to receive tribute of moth or fly"; it
actually likes "to be stroked down its back or tickled under its flabby chin." To escape danger, frogs are exclusively reliant on their jumping power. To
compensate for their lack of jumping power, toads possess more sophisticated means of defence. A frog will blindly jump off a high place, where a toad will
cautiously approach the brink of the height and look down to estimate the depth. Toads are pretty quick in learning not to eat honeybees - after five or six
attempts to do so - and will remember this for about two weeks.
HOME If displaced, toads are capable of finding their way back over surprisingly large distances. Many toad species take their daily rest at the same spot and
will return there if they are removed over a distance of [maximally] 1500 metres. They have a strong homing instinct, and a well-developed sense of orientation.
In any given area, the number of toads is related to the moisture of the territory. As all amphibians, toads need to keep moist, and the less threatening their
home base, the more tolerant they are of invaders. The instinct of self-preservation deserts them in the mating season, when they travel continuously day and
night, surmounting obstacles, ignoring waters and ponds closer at hand, to reach the particular pond where they year after year return to.
FOOD Toads feed on large numbers of insects as well as on snails, earthworms, plant matter, and, if available, dog and cat food. Like most anurans, toads
will recognize moving small animals as a potential food source. Toads are greedy and yet conscious eaters. Instead of bolting down anything that passes by,
toads will first intently scrutinize their prey for a couple of seconds - meanwhile manifesting their nervous energy by twitching their toes - and then gobble it.
With flying insects there will be less time for careful consideration, but then their extendible tongue shooting out at lightning speed will help them out. Toads
appear to have an insatiable appetite and to have no sense of repletion. Toads, as well as frogs, blink at every gulp. They move their eyeballs down into the
skull when they blink and this movement creates a bulge in the roof of the mouth, and helps squeeze food into the throat. The tongue assists in the swallowing
process by producing much mucus that lubricates the food, and by moving the food backward to the throat.
SURVIVAL Toads have amazing survival abilities. "Throughout history there have been reports of toads, discovered by builders, surviving unharmed entombed
inside walls. Because the date when the structures were built was generally known, it became accepted that toads could miraculously live holed up for thirty
years or more. ... The most likely explanation is that they entered the wall as toadlets, while still small enough to squeeze through a crack to the cavity inside.
The chamber would provide shelter and high humidity and, because insects were attracted by the same conditions, the toad would have a ready supply of
DISTRIBUTION The genus Bufo is the largest and most distributed genus and comprises some 200 species worldwide. Bufo americanus [Cane Toad or Giant
Toad] is considered a pest species in its introduced range of Australia and the Pacific and Caribbean Islands. It is able to outcompete native species and also
causes predator declines, since these predators have no natural immunity to the bufotoxin it secretes. "Cane Toads were first released in the cane fields of Far
North Queensland in 1935. It was hoped that the toads would control Grey-back and Frenchi beetles, the larvae of which stunt cane growth. The introduction of the toads, however, had little or no effect on the cane beetles and since that time, the toads have spread south and west to areas where cane has never been
grown." [The beetles of Australia were able to survive being eaten and would burrow out of the toad's stomach!] "The Cane Toad, which is also known as the
Giant American or Marine Toad, is native to Central and South America. It has one of the widest ranges of any living toad and has also been introduced into the
Caribbean Islands, southern United States and several Pacific Islands. The toad is extremely toxic to other animals. It is not uncommon for family pets to die
after they have ingested toad venom. In the wild, toads compete for food, shelter and breeding sites with native animals. Scientific evidence suggests that the
toad is a nuisance to man and an ecological threat to the environment. The Cane Toad's success can be attributed to it being a supreme opportunist. Cane
Toads do not require specialised diets or conditions to start breeding. Added to their tolerance of a wide range of environments, it is no surprise that they have
spread so far and wide."12
BUFO BUFO Bufo bufo is the common European toad. It is a plump animal measuring from 6 cm in males to 9 cm in females, but may reach a size of 13 cm
in warm regions. Its broad, neckless body has a humped back and a swollen belly. Not jumping or hopping much, it walks rather clumsily, dragging its body
along the ground. And yet it may walk great distances and shows great tenacity and perseverance in overcoming obstacles. Bufo bufo is widespread
throughout Europe and is even found near the northern polar circle. Due to its great adaptability it inhabits almost every habitat, including mountainous regions
up to an altitude of 2000 metres. In March mass migration to the breeding-grounds occur, resulting in lots of traffic victims. Apart from the three weeks in
March, Bufo bufo spends its live in celibate solitude.
TOADSTOOLS "Toads have played an important role in the folklore and mythology of Europe since prehistoric times. Often such beliefs have connected the
toad with various kinds of fungi epitomised by the English term toadstool, which refers to a number of mushrooms deemed inedible or poisonous [but also
covering a number of psychoactive species, including the fly-agaric]. This conjures up an image of a toad squatting on a mushroom but this kind of figurative
stool may not be what is meant. For the word stool also refers to faecal material, thus making toadstool mean 'toad excrement'. Now, fungi have been
associated with excrement in many parts of the world, as the folk names given to them amply confirm, but it may also be read in another way. Excrement
does not always refer solely to faecal matter but has the wider meaning of any substance excreted from the body. That would, of course, include the exuded
venom of the toad."13
VENOM Toad venom, secreted from the parotoid glands [located behind the eyes], is a milky fluid that dries quickly, forming hard brittle scales which are
yellow in colour. Brought in contact with water, these dry scales swell into a gelatinous mass. If much water is added an opalescent neutral foamy emulsion is
obtained, having a nauseating bitter taste and a pungent odour. When a steel knife is brought in contact with the secretion it immediately will be covered with a
bluish green discolouration.
BUFOTOXINS Toad venom does not protect the toad from all predators; most snakes and birds are insensitive to it. Traditional Chinese medicine includes
compounds from toad species, in particular Ch'an Su, made of dried and powdered toad skins. These are used for local inflammations, for dropsy, and to arrest
bleedings. Toad venom is largely comprised of cardioactive substances. Bufotoxins can lead to profuse salivation, twitching, vomiting, shallow breathing and paralysis if the toad is bitten, ingested, or when in contact with mucous membranes. The toxin may cause temporary paralysis and even death in small
mammals and predators. Bufotenine is the most potent bufotoxin.
HALLUCINOGEN Licking secretions of toads leads to hallucinations, although smoking the dried venom [or the chopped skins] is considered by experts a
more reliable method to experience consciousness-altering effects. Bufo alvarius is the only Bufo known so far to contain a hallucinogenic tryptamine, although
in the 70's drug users in Queensland, Australia, were smoking the chopped skins of Bufo marinus for its hallucinogenic effects. The use of a decoction of the
dried skin - so-called cane skin tea - has also been reported. Bufo alvarius has been called "The Toad of Light", and its venom is a sacrament of the "Church of
the Toad of Light". The venom contains considerable amounts of 5-hydroxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine. This compound is chemically similar to DMT
[dimethyltryptamine], which naturally occurs in plants with hallucinogenic properties and which was popular among the drug connoisseurs of the 60's as
"businessman's high" or the "lunch-hour psychedelic session". Both are short-acting tryptamines. Magic mushrooms, most notably Psilocybe species, also
contain DMT. The effects of the 5-hydroxy variety, however, are considerably stronger than those of DMT. The Amahuaca of Peru are reported to use frog or
toad poison by applying it into self-inflicted skin burns. This causes a state of trance in which the hunters believe themselves to be in contact with the spirits of
animals and the forest.
EXPERIMENTS Andrew Weil, an academic with great expertise in the field of psychoactive substances, reported that smoking the venom within seconds
induces intense visual and auditory hallucinations for a period of about five minutes. Another experimenter describes entirely different effects: "Before I finish
exhaling, I can feel myself disappearing. To say 'I' experience extreme hallucinations would be to miss the point. There is no perception of a 'me' experiencing
anything: no visions, no memories, no fear, no pleasure or pain, nothing to hold onto and no one to do the holding. In its place is the most overwhelming
cyclone of energy ever to rip through my brain, and it lasts for an eternity. On the way back in is an awareness of breathing, a wheezing inhalation followed by
a roaring moan of exhaust that spooks a few of the observers. Gradually I begin to realise that this human accordion is me. With each gasp I am sending out a
life's worth of weariness and pain. After what I am told is five minutes I am able to open my eyes and speak again ... then I lean over and cry my guts out into the dust ... although my faculties gradually return over the course of the evening, my powers of cynicism do not."14 A similar effect of 'mental anaesthesia' is
brought about by Haitian sorcerers who use toads in the making of zombi drugs.
Adrian Morgan, the author of Toads and Toadstools, confesses having been an "amphibian abuser". After pulverising and drying a mixture of venom glands and
skin of two toads, he took some of it as a snuff. The effects included anaesthesia of the nose and teeth, profuse sweating, and mild psychoactivity in the form
of 'trails' following in the wake of moving objects and increased intensity of the perception of colour. There were definite stimulant effects, both mental and
physical, lasting for about an hour and followed by a deep but short sleep. "The experience was not pleasant, and because it was hard to stay upright or walk, I
spent most of the second experiment seated. The first two entries in my notes had jagged and crude handwriting, resembling the scrawling of a child and
contained irrational spelling errors. The following day my nose was still affected by a mild burning sensation. The effects are felt at their height for a very short
period, an hour at most, and are only slightly psychedelic. The production of thick saliva concurs with symptoms of psilocybin and LSD, as do 'trails' produced
by moving objects and the richness of perceived colours. ... The venom's greatest influence is as a stimulant, creating an increased overactivity of the mind and
a feeling of agitation and strain. This may be caused by the bufotoxins or bufogenines, or by adrenaline or noradrenaline, which are also present in the skin
secretions, or combinations of the above. The stimulant sensation is soon followed by exhaustion and sleep."15
BUFOTENINE On October 12, 1955, bufotenine was injected into human volunteers. The experiments were conducted in Ohio State Penitentiary upon four
inmates. "The first subject was given 1 mg of the compound over a period of three minutes, and the second received 2 mg. Both experienced sensations of tingling and tightness. The second developed a flushed face, and his eyes oscillated from side to side for a full seven minutes. The third man received 4 mg and
had similar symptoms, as well as a numbness of the entire body and 'a pleasant martini feeling - my body is taking charge of my mind.' His pupils were dilated
and he claimed to be seeing scarlet and orange spots moving around. His face did not return to a normal hue for a full fifteen minutes. The fourth subject
received 8 mg. As the last of the bufotenine entered the vein, he said: 'I see white straight lines with a black background. I can't trace a pattern. Now there are
red, green, and yellow dots, very bright, like they were made out of fluorescent cloth, moving like blood cells through capillaries, weaving in and out of the white
lines.' These visual symptoms could be registered with eyes opened or closed. His face was sweating and a deep purple. The hallucinatory images abated
after two minutes, along with the eye oscillations and pupil dilation. After his experience, he claimed, 'Even at the height of this, my mind felt better and more
pleasant than usual.' One hour and a half after his initial dose, the second subject was given a further measure of 16 mg. Immediately he felt a burning in his mouth, and his entire body tingled. In the last moments of his injection he felt that his chest was being crushed, and he threw up. He could see red spots in
front of his eyes and red-purple blobs on the floor, which seemed closer to him than usual. After two minutes the hallucinations were gone, and he saw
everything tinged yellow. He could not perform simple mental tasks and felt strange for twenty-five minutes, with crowded thoughts and a feeling of tenseness. 'I
am here and not here.' Forty minutes from the start of the process, he claimed to be feeling better, but in need of walking it off, like a hangover. An hour from commencement, his face had returned to its normal colour. None of the men were seen to have significant changes in blood pulse or pressure."16
PHARMACOLOGY Bufagins [bufandienolides] are cardioactive substances found in toad venom. They have effects similar to the cardiac glycosides found in
such plants as Digitalis, Apocynum, Asclepias, Helleborus, Gratiola, Adonis, Oleander, Squilla, and Strophantus. Before digitoxin was extracted from Digitalis
purpurea, dried and powdered toad skins were used as a cardiac medication. There are several catecholamines in toad venom. Epinephrine has been found in as high a concentration as 5% in the venom of several species. Norepinephrine has also been found. Specific indolealkylamines in toad venom include several
bufotenines [cinobufotenine, dehydrobufotenine, bufotenine], bufothionine, and serotonin. Besides having some hallucinogenic effects, these compounds may
stimulate uterine and intestinal muscle. Noncardiac sterols found in toad venom include cholesterol, provitamin D, gamma sitosteral, and ergosterol. 17
Bufotenine also occurs in plants - including Arundo donax, Banisteriopsis spp., Mucuna pruriens, Anadenanthera peregrina and such fungi as Amanita citrina
and Amanita pantherina.
TOXICOLOGY 'Toad licking' as well as ingestion of the venom may lead to severe poisonings. The ethnobotanist Knab reported the effects of drinking a potion
prepared from the parotoid glands of ten Bufo marinus species. "The drink starts to take effect within a half hour; profuse sweating is noted along with a sudden
increase in heart beat. The heartbeat becomes continuously harder and stronger. A pronounced chill sets in with twitching of the facial and eye muscles. A pounding headache and delirium shortly follow the onset of twitching ... This state usually lasts from three to five hours and wears off very slowly."18 Knab's
disagreeable experience can be explained by the fact that toad venoms contain cardiac steroids which are much more potent than digitalis. The venom of Bufo
bufo contains toxic quantities of cardiac steroids.
CLINICAL EFFECTS Clinical effects of toad venom include cardiovascular disturbances [ventricular fibrillation; palpitation; vasoconstriction; increased blood
pressure], respiratory problems [dyspnoea and weakened respiration], neurologic symptoms [paralysis; seizures; numbness of oral mucosa], and
gastrointestinal disorders [salivation; nausea; vomiting]. Hyperkalemia is similar to that seen with Digitalis poisoning. The poison does not normally affect human skin, but it does irritate the eyes and mucous membranes. Handling toads is thought to dramatically reduce perspiration. Contrary to popular belief,
toads do not cause warts. A toad sitting in a dog's water dish for some time may leave enough toxins to make the pet ill. The toxicity varies considerably by
the toad species and its geographic location. The death rate for untreated animals exposed to Bufo marinus is nearly 100% in Florida, is low in Texas, and
only about 5% in Hawaii.
PSYCHIATRY The aetiology of human psychiatric diseases, such as autism, is known to be linked to the methylation of serotonin. High levels of bufotenine
and its precursor, N-methylserotonin occur and accumulate mainly in the brain during the degradation of serotonin in the central nervous system of the toad.
As a product of the serotonin-degradative pathway, the presence and levels of bufotenine might be useful and important markers of some psychiatric disorders in humans. Bufotenine was detected in urine from all autistic patients with mental retardation and epilepsy, and many autistic patients with mental retardation.
It was also detected in the urine of 15 of 18 patients with depression. Thirteen of 15 schizophrenic patients were positive for bufotenine. Only two of 200 urine
specimens from healthy controls were positive for bufotenine. 19 Violent offenders with paranoid symptoms or whose violent actions had been directed against
family members have higher urinary levels of bufotenine than other violent offenders. A Finnish study demonstrated that "in drug-free patients suspiciousness
was positively correlated, and socialization was negatively correlated, with urinary bufotenine secretion. These two personality variables were strongly
interdependent. In drug users, bufotenine excretion was correlated positively with social desirability and negatively with irritability, but not with
AMBIGUITY "There may be a connection, on the psychic level, between the fact that the toad is amphibious and that it frequently sheds its skin. It is possible
to take both phenomena negatively, for if being amphibious is viewed as an ambiguous condition in which the animal is ill-adapted to both lives and neither
properly in nor out of water, then the casting of its skin appears as a continual exchanging of one life for the other with no commitment to either world. The skin
is then primarily a divider and its casting an act of rejection which reflects the behaviour pattern, typical of the schizoid personality, in which there is a
fundamental lack of acceptance of the essential doubleness of life, and a compulsive switching between its different aspects in a state of conflict and often with
overriding feelings of guilt and fear. If the life of the Common Toad is seen as a whole, however, its amphibiousness would seem to be a very positive
phenomenon. Whereas to live in an unconscious state of compulsive doubleness and dividedness in which one is possessed by, and torn between, opposing
values, is a morbid condition; to live at the boundary, in a state of openness and in constant awareness of ambivalence, voluntarily frequenting both worlds, is
not only the potential solution to the closed, schizoid mentality, but is a position of enlightenment naturally accompanied by continual regeneration."21
FOLK MEDICINE 'Folk' uses include expectorant, diuretic, and as remedy for toothaches, sinusitis, and bleeding of the gums.
SYMBOLISM As a symbol the toad represents the inverse and infernal aspect of the frog-symbol. Toads were supposed to create darkness by intercepting
starlight and swallowing it. Their unblinking stare was the sign of their insensitivity or indifference to light. In Europe the toad has been surrounded by
superstition. As a companion of witches it was associated with death, darkness and demons. It was said to be one of the shapes assumed by a demon when
he sat upon a witch's left shoulder. Witches took infinite care of their toads, baptizing them, dressing them in black velvet, and making them dance after putting
little bells on their paws. The belief that the toad like the snake had a jewel in its forehead - referred to as toadstone, craupadina, bufonis lapis, borax or
batrachites - was widespread in medieval Europe. The stone would bring happiness, and would change colour when its wearer had been poisoned. It had to be
snatched away from the toad otherwise it would reabsorb it itself. It was also thought that the toad would only void the stone if it became irritated. Therefore one had to strike it. Since an irritated toad will excrete its venom, the magical toadstone and the [psychoactive] venom might have been one and the same. Of
similar purport was the belief that gnomes, delving precious metals during the night, turn into toads during daytime because they can't stand sunlight. Striking
a toad would have been unacceptable for the Vietnamese, because toads were highly respected by them as rainbringers and anyone striking a toad would be
struck by Heaven's lightning. The Chinese regarded the toad as the Moon-goddess. She was the wife of the Good Archer Yi and stole from him the draught of
immortality which had been given to him by the Queen Mother of the West. She fled with the draught until she reached the Moon, where she was changed into
a toad. Thus for the Chinese the toad was a yin and humid symbol, a rainbringer and therefore associated with luck and riches. As appearing and disappearing
it is both lunar and a symbol of resurrection. Symbolizing rain and fertility it may have the status of a culture hero in Mexico and in certain parts of Africa. For
the alchemists, the toad depicted the dark but fertile side of nature. Or as Avicenna put it: "Join the toad of the earth to the flying eagle and you will see in our
art the Magisterium." In Grimm's fairy tale The Frog-King the cold and dark aspects of human nature, i.e. impersonal sexual instincts, have to be elevated, esp. morally. The frog tells the King's daughter how to accomplish this: "Lift me up beside you." It also symbolizes the development from a state of child-like
self-will into womanhood.
SEXUALITY Ancient traditions associated the frog / toad with Hecate, the Greek version of the Egyptian midwife-goddess Heket or Hekat. Her totem was the
frog / toad, symbol of the foetus. [The male of a European toad species, named midwife toad, gives great care to the eggs. With the strings of eggs twined
around its hind legs, it hobbles about with them for 3 to 7 weeks until they hatch.] The three-legged toad living in the moon, portraying the three lunar phases,
as the Chinese believed, finds its analogue in the trinitarian Lunar deity Hecate. In ancient art often represented with three faces or three bodies, Hecate came
to combine the attributes of Selene [the Moon in heaven], Artemis [the Huntress on earth] and Persephone [the Destroyer in the underworld] and to be
identified with them. Four thousand years later Hekat became the Christians' queen of witches, with the frog / toad still as her main companion. Hecate of the
Mediterranean area was sometimes called Baubo, which means 'toad'. In another version, Baubo and her husband Dysaules welcome Demeter in their house
during her long hunt for her lost daughter Persephone. Baubo cheers Demeter's distraught spirits with lewd jokes and by pulling up her skirts and exposing herself. Many European country people still believe that the toad is an omen of pregnancy. The frog test is a pregnancy test in which the woman's urine is
injected into the dorsal lymph sac of the platanna frog. The test is positive if spermatozoa are present in the frog's urine within three hours.
IDIOM A hateful or contemptible person [or animal] is called a 'toad', while a servile flatterer behaves 'toady'. Persons who, in a show of affection, flatter to gain
favour are called 'toad-eaters'. Formerly, toadeaters were the assistants of charlatans or quack sellers of remedies. It was their task to impress, or rather to
cheat the audience by swallowing, or pretending to swallow, toads. A person who desires anything for which he has no real need, has as much need of it as a
toad of a side pocket. "To live like a toad under a harrow," is an expression denoting extreme personal wretchedness.
PROVINGS The homoeopathic remedy Bufo bufo is prepared by triturating the secretion from the cutaneous glands of the common toad, obtained by irritating
the animal. The original proving, conducted by Mure on a male prover, was performed with the saliva of a toad obtained by so exciting the animal that it spat its
annoyance on some milk sugar. Both Hering and Clarke amalgamated the provings of Bufo sahytiensis and Bufo bufo, whereas Allen placed them under separate headings. Hering motivated this by stating that the provers "mentioned having used about half a dozen different species, and nearly every one proved
a different preparation." Although Hering expressed strongly his doubts about three of the references, Allen came with an astonishing collection of bizarre,
unappealing proving methods, conducted voluntarily or undergone involuntarily. These include: effects of taking the poison in wine; effects of venom applied to
the skin; effects of venom spurted into the eye; of bathing in water taken from a pool frequented by toads; effects of momentarily introducing a toad into the
mouth, without touching [sic!]; effects of toads taken into the stomach, by eating the spawn on herbs; effects of the bite [unlikely since toads are toothless!];
effects of an infusion of roasted and powdered toads; effects of a toad jumping into the mouth and entering the stomach during sleep [sic!]; effects of ingesting
the ovules of a toad in muddy water. However, the main source of the mental symptoms of Bufo is Houat. Houat was a controversial figure. His proving
methods were unknown; most probably, he presented clinical cases. Hale and Hughes, respectively, denounced his provings as "phantasmagoria floating
through his notorious pathogenesis" and as "actual lies". On the other hand, Hering declared that "many of Houat's symptoms have been verified." Arguing in
favour of Houat, Berridge even cherished a hope that Hughes would make "the amende honorable to the memory of our departed colleague." "Surely it was
somewhat rash thus to bring against Dr. Houat a charge, not simply of incompetence, but of fraud, unless this charge can be supported by proofs, which as yet Dr. Hughes has failed to produce; for should these 'actual lies' be demonstrated to be 'actual facts', and valuable ones, too, Dr. Hughes will have to eat his
own words - not a very appetizing diet." To underline his point, Berridge cites a Dr. McClatchey who wrote that "within a circuit of five miles from our editorial
sanctum we could gather such a cloud of witnesses to the truth of very many of the Bufo symptoms [of Houat] as would astonish all skeptics."22
 Dale-Green, A Study in the Symbolism of the Common Toad; BHJ, Jan. 1960. [2-4] Cannatella, Ford and Bockstanz, Salientia; website.  Morgan, Toads
and Toadstools.  Dale-Green, ibid.  Attenborough, Life on Earth. [8-10] Dale-Green, ibid.  Downer, Supernatural.  Queensland Museum, Wildlife of
Greater Brisbane. [13-14] Rudgley, The Encyclopaedia of Psychoactive Substances. [15-16] Morgan, ibid.  Spoerke, Toad Toxins; The Vaults of Erowid
[website].  cited in Ott, Pharmacotheon.  Takeda et al., Bufotenine reconsidered as a diagnostic indicator of psychiatric disorders; Neuroreport, Nov.
1995.  Karkkainen et al., Urinary excretion of bufotenine is increased in suspicious violent offenders: a confirmatory study; Psychiatry Res., Sept. 1995.
 Dale-Green, ibid.  Berridge, Are Houat's provings reliable?; Homoeopathic Physician, July 1886.
Mind; nerves; brain. Heart [blood; circulation]. Kidneys. Sexual organs. Ovaries. Skin.
Worse: In warm room. Sexual excitement [onanism]. During sleep. Least motion [lumbago]. Injuries.
Better: Bleeding. Cool air. Bathing; feet in hot water.
M Contradictory and alternating states. Ambivalence.
Laughing - crying.
Aggression - withdrawal / dreamy state.
Biting, striking, scratching - tenderness.
Company - solitude.
• "Ambivalence and double-living. The life of Bufo starts, not with an undifferentiated mass of frogspawn, but with its eggs divided out into a double string; it
both climbs and burrows; is terrestrial and aquatic; cold-blooded and 'fiery'; greedy and ascetic; lowly and 'puffed-up'; poisonous and healing; masculine yet
capable of producing young; powerfully accepting the 'shadow' in that it devours its skin, yet strongly rejecting it by the focussing of all spirituality in its head.
The toad, which has engraved on its Stone an image of itself as the holy hermaphrodite, but also has been recognized as Satan, is both lighter and darker,
climbing higher and spawning deeper, than the frog, which is a comparatively unanimous and innocuous animal. Whereas Rana's [frog] awareness is mostly
restricted to pond-life, Bufo, having developed terrestrial life, has experience of both worlds, and it is significant that its urge to reproduction is greater than its
instinct for self-preservation. It is thus a symbol not only of doubleness, but of an 'other-ness' and its detachment, which may be described as an awareness of
ambivalence, is revealed in its solitary life, its hibernation and fasts, and in its homing instinct and sense of orientation."1
M Desires solitude,
"and yet is afraid of being left alone and dying forsaken." [Houat]
M Hyperkinetic; autistic [difficult to make contact with].
M BASIC types, not necessarily retarded, but close; sometimes actually mentally retarded.
• "He drops the jaw and looks stupid, as if he had forgotten everything." [Kent]
M CHILDISH BEHAVIOUR; sometimes depravity, mainly on sexual level.
Somewhat stupid, besotted expression, thick lips, open mouth.
CONSTANT LICKING OF LIPS, LAPPING of or PLAYING with TONGUE.
• "Childish behaviour, foolish behaviour, makes gestures, giggling, indolence, causeless laughing." [Kent]
M Music intolerable.
• "They like music very much. Boericke describes: 'Aversion music', but in all the cases which had a beautiful reaction to Bufo, I observed that they all liked
Every little noise distresses.
• "Very easily frightened; a bird or insect flying by causes a start." [Houat]
M Stammering, nonsensical speech; ANGRY WHEN NOT UNDERSTOOD.
• "He mistakes words; often he half pronounces a word and gets angry when not understood." [Houat]
M Presence of strangers <; aversion to strangers.
• "Fears animals and strangers." [Boger]
M Single-minded. Bright in one specific subject.
• "Our society moves towards a 'childish' phase with a strong emphasis on education and intelligence, encouraging a kind of mental 'hypertrophy' which cuts
out feelings and emotions. The basic animal instincts rise up and we become just brain and genital oriented. 'Masturbation on a mental level.' ... Another case
showed a man whose work had become so important that he had sacrificed his emotional life. His family complained to no avail, mathematics and computers
were his sole interest and when disturbed he would fly into a rage. ... This case shows the more intelligent type of Bufo - mental masturbation. Bufo arouses
the lowest passions e.g. sex and rage, but we may often observe that one part of the brain is highly developed, e.g. a great gift for music, an extremely
developed sense of equilibrium as seen in some circus people, or the highly specialised academic."3
M Extreme anxiety, day and night.
• "Wringing the hands and talking about something awful that is going to happen when there is nothing to happen; some awful event, some terrible things in
the future, it is all darkness and despair, walks the floor and wrings the hands and says over and over the same awful things that are going to take place, when
in reality the future is safe and there is nothing to be anxious about. This occurs in cases of insanity. Such as are approaching imbecility are passive, they
have a lack of comprehension of things around." [Kent]
M Fury, rage.
Anger with desire to strike and destroy.
Inclination to bite.
Defiance, duplicity, spitefulness.
• "Paroxysms of fury, which cease as soon as he sees any one." [Houat]
Breakdown at forty, or CHILDREN prematurely old.
• "He is not likely to live to be old, he is likely to break down at forty. She comes to her end by cancer of uterus or breast, or by imbecility." [Kent]
• "Adult people who act as they were children. An aspect of child-like simplicity is present and the mind returns to a state of child-like innocence. ... The
mental state has not developed, the child has not grown into a man or woman in intellectual attainments or wisdom, and remains as a whimpering, screaming
child. ... The child-like state remains while the body grows." [Kent]
• "According to a Fulani tradition, toad's oil seeps into stone. When the neophyte asks the mystagogue how to pass from ignorance to knowledge, the latter
replies: 'Change yourself into toad's oil.' That is to say that humans can penetrate to the depths of a subject without altering its externals through the subtle
fluidity of their spirit."4
G Depravities and bad inheritance. Obesity.
Low-minded and low disease forms.
• "Causes a desire for intoxicating drink, and produces impotence." [Boericke]
Bloody oozing; nipples, saliva, etc. [Boger]
• "You would think you had the odour of gangrene or gangrenous erysipelas in the room from smelling these discharges." [Kent]
Yet < warm room.
G PROFUSE PERSPIRATION.
< During sleep, esp. towards morning.
From slightest exertion.
• "Copious sweat, with weakness, and often with morbid hunger." [Houat]
G Great appetite.
• "Violent hunger, even after eating, esp. in the evening." "In the morning after breakfast, often feels hungry, as if he had eaten nothing." [Houat]
But: Fastidious in eating.
G High sex drive, mostly not leading to sexual relationships, but driving to MASTURBATION.
• "Desire for solitude in order to practice masturbation. This alone throws a flood of light upon the nature of the remedy; the lack of government, the lack of
control over the sexual longing, and the low-mindedness whereby he is willing to abandon himself to the lower things that are in the human race, to perverted
practices and vices." [Kent]
• "Arouses the lowest passions." [Boericke]
• "In Ancient Greece a famous courtesan, Phryne, bore the name of toad [phryne] and plunged stark naked into the sea to play the role of Venus
Anadyomene, having taken part with other courtesans 'in the licentious rejoicings, nominally in Aphrodite's honour, which took place at the end of the festival of
Poseidon'. She was hailed as the prophetess and priestess of Aphrodite. The toad would seem to have symbolized sexual abandon in her person."5
• "The toad's impulse to clasp has been described as 'frenzied ardour', and this may be recognized as a confusion of the heat of compulsive impulse and the
coldness of indiscrimination. The cold-bloodedness of the toad, with its externalization of sex, its lack of discernment, and the fact that it neither courts its
mate nor suckles its young, strongly reflects all that in human psychology appears as lack of feeling, and unrelatedness."6
G Pains BURNING.
G < Morning; on waking.
G Epileptic CONVULSIONS.
• "The chief laurels of Bufo have been won in the treatment of epilepsy. Bojanus has cured many cases; and no medicine has served me better in the
treatment of this disease. Few people who have witnessed a characteristic epileptic seizure can have failed to notice the curiously toad-like aspect assumed
by the subject. The epileptic seizure and the status epilepticus give the clearest correspondence to the Bufo range of action." [Clarke]
c Seizure preceded by:
Lapping motion of tongue; rubbing of nose; feeling of face; mouth wide open.
Dilated pupils; sighing; spasmodic laughing.
Restlessness; external numbness.
Straightening and stiffening of lower limbs.
Stiffness of arm[s].
c Aura [seizure starts in]:
Plexus solaris; stomach; uterus; nape of neck [like a shock]; brain [as if numb]; face; abdomen.
c Symptoms during seizure:
Eyes turned upward [to left] or eyes open; biting of tongue; chewing motion of jaw; redness of face; face bathed in sweat.
Foam from mouth; grinding of teeth; paralysis of tongue or lapping motion of tongue.
Spasmodic laughing; shrieking.
c Symptoms after seizure:
Comatose, deep sleep.
Severe frontal headache.
c Petit mals.
• "Bufo often corresponds to lesser attacks resembling vertigo. In this state people do not fall, and for a few seconds everything is blank, or sometimes they
do things automatically in these moments. A person, in this mild form of epileptic vertigo, will hardly show anything, but he will sometimes come to a perfect
standstill and then go on as if nothing had happened. What occurred during that attack he knows nothing of. Sometimes he will continue right on doing what he
was doing, and nobody will know of the spell." [Kent]
G Skin problems and neurological disturbances.
P Heat / congestion of head.
Great heat in head, with feeling as if the brain were boiling.
Sensation as if a hot vapour rises to the vertex.
Throbbing and heat of the face, as from being too near the fire.
Heart feels too large. Heart feels as if plunged in a vessel of water.
Numb feeling in heart region extending through chest.
Chest and heart feel tightly compressed.
• "Faithful Henry has been so unhappy when his master was changed into a frog, that he had caused three iron band to be laid round his heart, lest it should
burst with grief and sadness."7
Pain in heart > pressing upon cardiac region.
Sudden and strong increase of heart beat, and profuse perspiration.
• "The beating of the heart increases the headache and seems to correspond with it." [Allen]
• "Violent ebullitions of the blood with a sensation as if the heart were swimming in blood." [cured case, Boger]
P Sensation as if the skin is hanging loose.
• "The skin of anurans is loose-fitting, attached as it is to the muscles at a few places only, for elsewhere lymphatic sacs intervene. Amphibians shed the
thin, transparent layers of the epidermis. ... All species of Bufo have a thin line extending down the middle of the back and it is on this median raphe that the
skin splits. In the Common Toad, shedding, which is preceded by the free flow of secretion from the mucous glands, takes place simultaneously on all parts of the body."8
 Dale-Green, A Study in the Symbolism of the Common Toad; BHJ, Jan. 1960.  Geukens, Bufo and Epilepsy; HL 3/93.  Geukens, notes from seminar
in Switzerland; HL Vol. 2. [4-5] Chevalier and Gheerbrant, Dictionary of Symbols.  Dale-Green, ibid.  Brothers Grimm, The Frog-King, or Iron Henry.  Dale-Green, ibid.
Love for animals . Cursing . Deceitful, sly . Fear of animals , of dogs , of infection , of mirrors in room . Giggling . Hatred and revengeful
. Irritability in morning on waking , when aroused , when questioned , when spoken to . Laughing alternating with weeping ; causeless ,
childish , over serious matters , silly . Lewdness, lewd talk . Playful . Runs about . Spitting people in their face .
Objects seem inverted, as if house were turned upside down [1*].
Sensation of a heavy ball, when shaking head [1/1*]. Heat > epistaxis ; as if brain were boiling ; as if hot vapour were rising up to top of head [1/1*].
Pain, > spirituous liquors . Sensation as if head were full of water .
Open, during convulsions [1*]. Pupils dilated before epileptic attack . Staring during convulsions [1*].
Objects appear crooked . Dim, while eating .
Sneezing on going to bed in evening [1/1].
Chewing motion of jaw, with convulsions [1/1*]. Skin of face tans quickly [1/1*].
Teeth seem to sink into gums, when eating [1*].
Feeling of coldness in stomach alternating with sensation of heat [1*]. Eructations like spoiled eggs, after eating fresh bread and pastry [1/1*]. Pain, < wine
[1*]. Vomiting after wine [1*].
Sensation as if cold balls were running all through intestines [1/1*]. Distension, with emaciation of rest of body [1*].
Odour, ammoniacal , fish-brine .
Aversion to coition ; enjoyment absent . Sexual desire violent .
Pain, uterus, when sitting long [2/1]; extending down the thighs . Sexual desire increased during menses . Tumours, fibroid, uterus .
Sensitive nodules in mammae . Pain, heart, > pressure of hand . Shocks in cardiac region . Sensation as if heart were swimming in water ;
swimming in blood [1/1*].
Constriction feet, as if shoes were too tight [1/1*]. Pain, sensation as if a peg were driven in joints [1/1]. Weakness, tendency to sprain ankle[s] [1*].
Sleepiness after being in open air , after smoking [1/1].
Journeys . Greatness [1/1].
Eruptions, blue boils , large boils ; carbuncle ; pemphigus ; gangrenous and vesicular ; yellow vesicles . Sensation as if skin were hanging
Chorea, cannot walk, must run or jump . Convulsions in nursing children when mother is angry or frightened [1; Cham.*], from fright of the mother .
Emaciation, in spite of good appetite [1*].
* Repertory additions [Houat / Allen].
Aversion: : Drinks; food; salt.
Desire: : Alcohol; brandy; delicacies; pastry; rich food; sweets; sweet drinks.
Worse: : Alcohol; cold drinks; milk; pastry.
Better: : Alcohol.