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Snakebites Worldwide and Antivenin Plants for Snakebite Treatment

Being a Botanist, she is well aware of the importance of plants that how they play a vivifying role in the treatment of various diseases.

Antivenin Plants for Snakebite Treatment

Antivenin Plants for Snakebite Treatment

Snakebites: Global Health Problem and Medicinal Plants

The World Health Organization has recorded snakebites as the most annoying problem of tropical and sub-tropical countries, especially Sub-Saharan, Africa, South Asia, South-East Asia, Australia, and Latin America where people are most affected by snakebites. According to WHO, about 5.4 million people are infected by snakebites every year, of which 138,000 people lost their lives due to snakebites and 400,000 people became permanently paralyzed.

A large variety of snake antivenom immunoglobulins has been developed for snakebites around the world, which successfully treats the snakebites. In some poor countries, snake antivenoms seem inaccessible due to their high costs and unavailability, only well-developed countries can afford these antivenoms. Second, these antivenoms have low expiration and poor quality because of which these antivenoms can’t be stored for long. Access to medical facilities is very difficult in rural and distant areas; therefore, people in such areas have been using traditional medicinal plants for centuries and these medicinal antivenin plants are more efficient in their raw forms than in stored forms. Even today, scientists agree that these medicinal plants successfully cure snakebites around the world.

WHO calculates that three-thirds of the world rely on traditional antivenin plants to wipe out the venoms of snakes, but the consumption of inaccurate plant species can lead the wrong results, so choose the correct antivenin plant and treat snakebite properly.

The World's Deadliest Snakes

The World's Deadliest Snakes

World’s Most Venomous Snakes

One or more of 3,000 species of snakes are found all over the world except Antarctica, Iceland, New Zealand, Ireland, and Greenland, of these, only 15% can pose a threat to humans, which means only 600 snakes are venomous. Those who are most affected by snakebites are farmers, trawlers, herdsmen, predators, children, and people living in dilapidated houses.

WHO has compiled a list of world’s most venomous snakes that badly infect people with their venoms.

Cobra

Diverse species of cobra cause deaths each year in Sub-Saharan Africa, South, and Southeast Asia. Whenever confronted, cobra tries to disappear but may become aggressive if approached. Cobra species differ in colors like black, red, yellow, and other coloration. Different Cobras throw poison at its prey by the fangs present in its mouth. African cobras are completely different from Asian cobras as African cobra can blind its prey by throwing the poison in their eyes. Cobra venom contains neurotoxins due to which it can damage the nervous system of its victim and other symptoms caused by its bits are inflammation of wounds, bruised skin, vomiting, nausea, insensibility, visual disorder, and dyspnea.

Black Mamba

Black Mamba

Black Mambas

Black Mamba is the highly venomous and speedy ground snake in the world. Mambas are found in southern and eastern Africa. According to National Geographic, mambas are greyish, not black and their maximum length is 4.25m. Mamba also tries to run away, but becomes highly antagonist to defend itself and bites its prey frequently to deliver a large quantity of venom causing serious complications as unconsciousness, visual disorder, brow ptosis, formication, vellication, and shaky limb movements. Antivenom against mamba venom is available in medical centers, but distant areas of Africa don’t have access to Antivenom which is why mambas take the lives of 20,000 people each year (PBS’s Nature). Mambas are venomous that only 2 to 3 drops of their venom can kill their prey in 15-20 minutes. Black mamba venom like cobra also comprises of neurotoxins that can cripple its prey.

Saw Scaled or Carpet Viper

Saw Scaled or Carpet Viper

Saw-Scaled or Carpet Vipers

Saw-scaled or Carpet vipers are one of the life-threatening and short sized snakes in the world. These vipers can be seen in Asian countries and Northeast Africa. These snakes may be gray, orange, and brown with oblique spots and only 1-3 feet in size. They are nocturnal that they become combative and produce a hissing sound if anything moves towards them. Carpet vipers are considered extraordinary because their bites cause tissue damage around the bite site and the victims lose their body organs forever. Complications caused by these snakes include Gangrene, uncoagulated blood, kidney failure, and hemorrhages. The fatality rate by these snakebites is high and they can kill their prey within one hour.

Russell's Viper

Russell's Viper

Russell’s Vipers

Russell’s vipers are also called Asian aggressive snakes. These are brown, tan, dark yellow colored snakes with dark brown patches and are about 5 feet in length. They hunt both during the day and at night. Their venoms are fatal which consist of myotoxins and neurotoxins. These vipers attack their prey very quickly and they have a much higher mortality rate than other snakes. Victims feel great pain after being bitten and suffer starting symptoms like inflammation, gums bleeding, urinary bleeding, nausea, and later systemic envenomation like renal disorder, muscle paralysis, and neurological deficits.

Common Krait

Common Krait

Banded Krait

Banded Krait

Kraits

Kraits are Asian predators, they come out to hunt at night and become slack during the day. Their maximum length is 6.6 feet. They scare humans with their hissing sound and only attack when they feel threatened. Kraits are black, white, red, and yellow in colors. The victim does not feel pain after being bitten, but if the victim’s venom is not treated properly, death occurs in 3 to 4 hours. Their venoms with the neurotoxins cause symptoms like shortness of breath, and acute stomachache.

Puff Adder

Puff Adder

Puff adders

Puff adders are reptiles of western Arabia and Africa and these are responsible for untold mortalities in Africa due to its heavily populated and distant areas. These snakes are only 1m in length and physically appear as black, gray, and blonde colored with v-shaped designs. These snakes are diurnal and lazy but rapidly disguise. Their sharp-hooked fangs are responsible for the painful bites and transferring the venom into the victim’s body. Cytotoxins present in their venom produce syndromes such as gangrene, hemorrhages, inflammation, vomiting, hydrops, and internal wounds.

Pit Viper

Pit Viper

Pit Vipers

Rattle, Crotalus, Lachesis, Asian, and other pit vipers are found in the Americas, Asia, and Europe. They are also diurnal and are about 12 feet in length. They have swivel fangs and as the name suggests, they have pits near their eyes and nostrils on the mouth, which give them the signals to attack prey. Humans hunt them to get their skins. Most species are green in color and other species have orange, red, yellow, black, and golden patches. Starting syndrome of these snakebites includes bleeding, vomiting, frailty, and inertness which later turn into fatal symptoms such as renal failure, acute internal bleeding, respiratory arrest, low blood pressure, and tachyarrhythmia.

Some Antivenin Plants for Snakebite Treatment Worldwide

Antivenin PlantFamilyPart UsedCountrySnake Venom

Amarantus viridis

Amaranthaceae

Whole Plant, Leaf, Stem

Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh

Daboia russelli, Naja naja, Echis carinatus, Bungarus caeruleus

Allium cepa

Amaryllidaceae

Bulb, Latex, Leaf

Columbia, India, Kenya

Naja naja karachiensis

Allium sativum

Amaryllidaceae

Bulb, Inflorescence, Leaf

Columbia, India, Sri Lanka, Spain

Naja naja karachiensis

Mangifera indica

Anacardiaceae

Leaf

Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka

Daboia russelli

Calotropis procera

Apocynaceae

Flower, Leaf, Root, Shoot, Latex

Bangladesh, India, Pakistan

Naja naja karachiensis

hemidesmus indicus

Apocynaceae

Whole Plant, Root

India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka

Daboia russelli, Naja kaouthia

Eclipta prostrata( Syn. Eclipta alba)

Asteraceae

Whole Plant, Leaf

Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka

Bothrops jararaca, Bothrops jararacussu

Bixa orellana

Bixaceae

Latex, Fruit, Branch, Leaf, Root

Columbia, Bangladesh, Nicaragua

Bothrops atrox, Bothrops asper

Citrullus colocynthis

Cucurbitaceae

Roots, Fruits

Pakistan, India

Naja naja karachiensis

Momordica charantia

Cucurbitaceae

Branch, Aerial Parts, Fruits, Leaf, Flower, Stem, Whole Plant

Nicaragua, India, Columbia, Sri Lanka

Naja naja karachiensis

Gloriosa superba

Colchicaceae

Tubers

Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India

Naja nigricollis, Bitis arietans

Acalypha indica

Euphorbiaceae

Whole Plant, Leaf

Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India

Daboia russelli russell

Euphorbia hirta

Euphorbiaceae

Whole Plant, Latex, Root

India, Bangladesh, Brazil

Naja naja

Albizia lebbeck

Fabaceae

Fruit, Flower, Seed, Leaf, Bark

Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh

Echis carinatus

Cassia fistula

Fabaceae

Leaf, Fruit, Seed, Bark, Root

Brazil, Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh

Bothrops jararaca

Cissampelos pareira

Menispermaceae

Whole Plant, Leaf, Root

Nicaragua, India, Mexico, Bangladesh

Bothrops asper

Musa x paradisiaca

Musaceae

Latex, Bark, Flower

Nicaragua, Sri Lanka, India, Ecuador

Bothrops jararacussu, Crotalis durissus terrificus

Citrus limon

Rutaceae

Leaf, Fruit, Root

Sri Lanka, India, Columbia

Naja naja karachiensis

Capsicum annuum (Syn. Capsicum frutescens)

Solanaceae

Fruit, Root

Sri Lanka, Columbia, India, Bangladesh

Bothrops atrox

Nicotiana tabacum

Solanaceae

Leaf

Nicaragua, Columbia, India

Naja nigricollis

How to Identify a Venomous Snake

The morphology and mode of action of a snake will tell you whether it is venomous or not as here are some important features of snakes that will make it easier to identify snakes:

Victim’s Lesions

If there are two deep internal lesions on the victim’s body after being bitten by a snake, it means that the snake was venomous, but if there is a small surface lesion, it means that the snake was not venomous and you are safe.

The Coloration of Snake

Color combinations also help identify snakes as if the body of the snake is red with yellow, then it is a matter of concern because the snake is clearly poisonous, but if red is with black then there is no need to worry because the snake is non-poisonous.

Head of Snake

The venomous snake’s head is mostly three-cornered in shape while the head of the non-venomous snake is spherical shaped.

Eye of Snake

Venomous snakes have crocodile-like pupils; on the other hand, the non-venomous species have round pupils.

Posterior End of the Snake

The chemistry of the snake venom can also be understood from the morphology of the snake’s tail. The venomous snake will have one row of scales at the posterior end while the non-venomous snake will have two rows of scales at the end of its tail.

Conclusion

Scientists have developed Antivenom Immunoglobulins for snakebites, but they are not smoothly available worldwide due to their reduced production and substandard. The system of nature is such that the cure of every dangerous thing is there where that dangerous thing is found, in the same way, the cure of every dangerous snake is the specific antivenin plant present around it. In remote and rural areas of the world where people suffer from large-scale snakebites but these remote areas have a reservoir of natural resources.

Tribal experts have been present in these remote areas for generations, like competent doctors, these tribal experts are well acquainted with the use of traditional medicinal plants and know which antivenin plant will miraculously cure which snake venom properly. Moreover, in these distant areas, there is no cure for snakebites other than these medicinal plants; even pharmaceuticals are completely dependent on these medicinal plants.

Scientists are conducting further experiments to find the best cure for the snakebites and believe if these medicinal plants are given special attention, then the antidotes obtained from medicinal plants against snakebites can be made inexpensive and accessible all over the world.

References

  1. BBC News. (2018, May 26). Snake bites labeled a “health priority.” BBC News.
  2. Gupta YK, Peshin SS. Do herbal medicines have the potential for managing snake bite envenomation?. Toxicol Int. 2012;19(2):89-99.
  3. Mohammed Rahmatullah., et al. “Exploring the Potential of Three Plants Used for Treating Snake Bites in the Indian Subcontinent”. EC Pharmacology and Toxicology 7.12 (2019): 01-13
  4. (4) Williams DJ, Faiz MA, Abela-Ridder B, Ainsworth S, Bulfone TC, Nickerson AD, et al. (2019) Strategy for a globally coordinated response to a priority neglected tropical disease: Snakebite envenoming. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 13(2): e0007059.
  5. Eske, J. (2018, December 14). How to identify and treat snake bites. Medical News Today.
  6. World Health Organization: WHO. (2019, April 8). Snakebite envenoming. WHO News.
  7. World Health Organization. (2017, August 29). Snake gallery.
  8. Félix-Silva, J., Silva-Junior, A., Zucolotto, S., & Fernandes-Pedrosa, M. (2017). Medicinal Plants for the Treatment of Local Tissue Damage Induced by Snake Venoms: An Overview from Traditional Use to Pharmacological Evidence. Evidence-Based Complementary And Alternative Medicine, 2017, 1-52.
  9. How To Tell If A Snake Is Poisonous. (2019, March 27). WildlifeRemoval.Com. Kuntal, D. (2009). Medicinal Plant For Snake Bite Treatment-Future Focus. Ethnobotanical Leaflets, Vol.13
  10. Doyle, S. (2020, May 28). Top 10 Most Dangerous Snakes In The World. Travel.Earth.
  11. Szalay, J. (2014, December 23). Black Mamba Facts. Live Science.
  12. Szalay, J. (2016, March 30). Facts About Adders. Live Science.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 KANWAL YOUSAFZAI

Comments

KANWAL YOUSAFZAI (author) from Pakistan on July 25, 2020:

Thank you jadoon!

EK Jadoon from Abbottabad Pakistan on July 25, 2020:

Kanwal, you have chosen a very informative topic and very well explained. Many people in my area get bitten by snakes in summer.

KANWAL YOUSAFZAI (author) from Pakistan on July 25, 2020:

Thank you Nadeem khan!

Nadeem Khan on July 24, 2020:

Worth reading this article, really very very informative and interesting.