Snake Bitesaccording to TCM

Symptom family: Venomous bites

Parent symptom: Snake Bites

What is snake bites?

Snake bites occur when a snake's fangs penetrate the skin, injecting venom into the victim. This venom can cause a range of symptoms, from mild irritation to severe systemic reactions, depending on the snake species and the amount of venom injected. Venomous snake bites, also known as snake envenomations or toxic snake envenomations, can lead to swelling, pain, and, in severe cases, organ damage or death. Early medical intervention is crucial to mitigate these potentially life-threatening effects.

How does TCM view snake bites?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views snake bites through the lens of patterns of disharmony within the body. Unlike Western medicine, which focuses on the immediate physical and toxicological effects of the venom, TCM considers how the venom disrupts the body's balance. These disruptions can manifest as patterns such as Toxic Heat, Blood Stagnation, or Wind-Phlegm. Identifying the specific pattern is essential for effective treatment, as different patterns require different therapeutic approaches.

Causes of snake bites according to TCM

In TCM, the effects of a snake bite can be understood through various patterns of disharmony. One common pattern is Toxic Heat, which occurs when the venom introduces Toxins that generate excessive Heat within the body. This pattern is characterized by symptoms like intense pain, redness, swelling, and a rapid pulse.

Another pattern associated with snake bites is Blood Stagnation, where the venom causes Blood to congeal and flow improperly, leading to swelling, bruising, and sharp pain at the bite site. Recognizing these patterns allows practitioners to tailor their treatments to the specific needs of the patient, addressing the underlying disharmony rather than just the surface symptoms.

TCM Herbs for Snake Bites

TCM employs a variety of herbs to treat snake bites, targeting the specific patterns of disharmony caused by the venom. For instance, Andrographis Herbs (Chuan Xin Lian) are often used to clear Heat and relieve Toxicity. This Bitter and Cold herb targets the Stomach, Large Intestine, Lung, and Small Intestine, helping to reduce inflammation and counteract the toxic effects of the venom.

Another effective herb is Flying Squirrel Faeces (Wu Ling Zhi), which invigorates the Blood. This Bitter, Sweet, and Warm herb targets the Spleen and Liver, helping to alleviate Blood Stagnation and reduce swelling and pain. These herbs can be used individually or combined in formulas to provide comprehensive treatment, depending on the patient's specific pattern of disharmony.

  • By Herb Category
  • Herbs that clear heat and relieve toxicity
  • Herbs that invigorate the blood
  • Warm herbs that transform phlegm and stop cough
  • Herbs that dispel wind and dampness
  • Herbs that clear heat and purge fire and/or clear summer heat
  • Herbs that anchor and calm the spirit
  • Herbs that drain dampness
  • Herbs that clear heat and dry dampness
  • Herbs for external application

"Herbs that clear Heat and relieve Toxicity" recommended for snake bites

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Andrographis Herbs (Chuan Xin Lian) Not applicable
Bistort Rhizomes (Quan Shen) Not applicable
Catclaw Buttercup Roots (Mao Zhao Cao) Not applicable
Chinese Lobelia Herbs (Ban Bian Lian) Not applicable
Oldenlandia (Bai Hua She She Cao) Not applicable
Paris Rhizomes (Chong Lou) Not applicable
Purslane (Ma Chi Xian) Not applicable
Semiaquilegia Root Tubers (Tian Kui Zi) Not applicable
Thunder God Vines (Lei Gong Teng) Not applicable
Tokyo Violets (Zi Hua Di Ding) Not applicable

"Herbs that invigorate the Blood" recommended for snake bites

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Flying Squirrel Faeces (Wu Ling Zhi) Not applicable
Pepino Melons (Ren Shen Guo) Not applicable
Rice Wine (Mi Jiu) Not applicable
Shiny-Leaf Prickly-Ash (Liang Mian Zhen) Not applicable

"Warm herbs that transform Phlegm and stop Cough" recommended for snake bites

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Arisaema (Tian Nan Xing) Not applicable
Giant Typhonium Rhizomes (Bai Fu Zi) Not applicable

"Herbs that dispel Wind and Dampness" recommended for snake bites

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Paniculate Swallowwort Roots (Xu chang Qing) Not applicable
Stinging Nettle Leaves (Xun Ma) Not applicable