A big part of Rewilding is spending time in nature without modern medical help. We need to be prepared to survive and thrive and a little knowledge can save a life and make us feel safe and confident. It turns out, the most effective way to treat venomous snake bites is using herbs and specifically one herb echenacea. There is actually no conventional treatment you can carry in your first aid kit. Traditional first aid teaches to keep the patient calm and get them to the hospital for anti-venom treatment. In many cases, this would be too late. Snake bite needs immediate treatment. If I could have only one herb with me this would be the one because it works not only for snake bites and other insects but also, sprains and cuts as well. This article will help you to get familiar with this miracle plant (a.k.a. Prairie Rattlesnake Root) and how to use it.

How it Works

Our bodies are made of individual cells. These cells are held together by a chemical called hyaluronic acid. So, if the cells are the bricks that your body is built of, hyaluronic acid is the mortar that holds them together. The venom of rattlesnakes (and their cousins) and hobo spiders contain an enzyme (hyaluronidase) that dissolves the hyaluronic acid that holds the cells together. The result is that when these animals bite, their venom actually liquefies tissue. This process causes terrible, disfiguring wounds and sometimes death.

There are also several species of bacteria that produce this same enzyme. The wounds infected with such organisms can become gangrenous with massive tissue loss. Fortunately, echinacea is able to prevent and even repair the damage of this process. The prevention comes in the form of a chemical contained in echinacea that inhibits the destructive enzyme from doing its work in the first place. The repair is aided by echinacea’s ability to stimulate the body to produce more hyaluronic acid (the mortar between the bricks) so that it has more material available to effect repairs.

Echinacea’s ability to increase hyaluronic acid production also makes it a great herb for cases of ligament, cartilage or joint injury or even arthritis. When we think about arthritis we usually think about devil’s claw, white willow, yucca, frankincense, turmeric and the other usual suspects. These herbs all have anti-inflammatory properties that diminish pain and reduce swelling. Decreasing pain and swelling is great, but echinacea can take things one step further and actually help the body repair the damage.

Hyaluronic acid (the mortar between your bricks) is a major component in cartilage and synovial fluid (the fancy doctor word for joint juice). When joints are damaged either by injuries or by the inflammatory processes of arthritis, they need hyaluronic acid to effect repairs. Echinacea comes to the rescue by stimulating fibroblasts and chondroblasts (the cells that make cartilage) to make increased levels of hyaluronic acid… more mortar to hold the new bricks together so the body can rebuild.

How to treat venomous snake bite, spider bite, or bee sting

1–Take internally ½ ounce each 15 minutes with a little water after a snake bite for two hours, then every four hours

2–Soak the affected area with Echinacea Tincture as soon as possible after sting or bite. Echinacea Tincture contains haluronidase inhibitors that block the venom from breaking down connective tissue and prevents the venom from spreading.

3–Shortly after soaking the area with Echinacea Tincture, apply a drawing poultice that draws the venom out of the skin.

How to make a drawing poultice: 

  • two parts (e.g., 2 tablespoons) slippery elm bark powder,

and then equal parts (e.g., 1 tablespoon each)

  • activated charcoal
  • bentonite clay
  • apple pectin 
  • tumeric powder

Applied externally they work effectively to draw out the toxins and heal wounds.

Poultices are applied by making them into a thick wet paste, applying this paste to the skin, and covering them with gauze and plastic wrap. Leave the poultice on for six (6) hours or more, and reapply fresh poultice as often as necessary. You may want to apply a cold pack over the poultice to keep the venom/toxins from spreading.

4–Optional

Homeopathic Remedies 

The use of homeopathic remedies can be very helpful. These include: Ledum palustre, Apis mellifica, Hypericum, and Urtica urens. Use 30C strength for good results. If there is pain, the use of Arnica montana 30C can be very helpful.

You will want to prepare a kit with the Echinacea Tincture and Drawing Poultice ahead of time since time may be of the essence after you have been stung or bitten. In addition, this kit should include: the homeopathic remedies, for poultice preparation, gauze, plastic wrap, and tape. Take this kit with you when hiking or camping, keep it in you car, or put it in a place where you can quickly access it when needed.

Bruises/ Sprains (soft tissue injuries)

Echenacea Tincture Internally and on the injury 

Arnica Cream and Pills

Aspirin

The drawing poultace formula is also used internatlly for stomach upset and food poisoning. Just mix a tablespoon or two in a glass of water and drink every few hours as needed.

References and further reading:

Echenacea

https://thegrownetwork.com/echinacea-general-properties-uses-snake-bites/

Insect/bee/snake bite

http://www.integratedhealth.com/health-recommendations/insect-bee-stings-bites.html