25 Oct 2016

An 1850’s Cure For Rattlesnake Bite

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“A day or two subsequent to the battle of Walker’s Creek, while on our way back towards San Antonio, we reined up, as usual, to prepare our evening repast near the bank of a small stream. It happened that I dismounted by cluster of musquete bushes, and as I struck the ground an enormous rattlesnake bit me on the ankle. I had before frequently witnessed the deadly effects resulting from the bite of these venomous reptiles, I confess, my nerves, which had not failed me in the hour of battle and in the face of death, were now completely unstrung. A sickening dreadful sensation came over me, terrible beyond all force of language to convey –- a sense of sorrow that I had not fallen in the recent battle and escaped the horror of my going to my long account in such an abominable way.

There was a Spaniard among our number who witnessed the incident. He immediately thrust his knife through the serpent’s neck, pinning it to the ground, and instantly began cutting portions of flesh from the still living and wriggling monster, and applying it to the wound. I could feel it draw, and in a few minutes the white poultice thus applied would change to a perfect green. These applications were continued until nearly the entire body of the snake was used. The remedy proved effectual, inasmuch as I suffered nothing from it afterwards save a slight soreness, but from that time forward, I always experienced an instinctive dread on approaching a musquete thicket, far more disagreeable than when charging an enemy.”

Three Years Among the Comanches: The Narrative of Nelson Lee, Texas Ranger.

One Feedback on "An 1850’s Cure For Rattlesnake Bite"


I’ve never heard of that method. Even from the two snake wranglers I have known. Of course we’ll need a test victim to ascertain the effectiveness of this method.

I also like the writing style of this.


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