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NAT. ORD., Iridaceae.

COMMON NAME, Blue-eyed grass.

PREPARATION.--The fresh root is macerated in twice its weight of


(Dr. W. U. Reed, of Northmanchester, Ind., contributed

the following in 1892 to the Hom. Recorder, concerning

this little known remedy. Sisyrinchium was one of the

old "Thompsonians." From what Dr. Reed says of it the
remedy must be a very powerful one and worthy of full


Numerous articles have appeared in our medical journals during the past

few months relative to the treatment of persons bitten by venomous

reptiles, especially the rattlesnake. Whether the rattlesnakes found in

the marshes of Indiana are in any respect different from those found in

Oregon, or in the mountains of Pennsylvania, I do not know. The bite of

the Indiana rattler has been known to prove fatal to both man and beast.

Notwithstanding we have growing in our woods and fields a small plant,

which I believe to be a specific for the treatment of persons or animals

bitten by the rattlesnake. From my own experience and observation in the

use of this remedy, I believe it to be a positive cure in all cases if

exhibited in any reasonable time. I have never known it to fail in a

single instance, even where the alcoholic treatment and many other kinds

had failed.

The plant referred to, the roots of which are used in the treatment of

snake bites; or a tincture made from the roots, is the Sisyrinchium of

the Iris family, I think, and is said to have been used by the Indians

in treating snake bites, by bruising and moistening the roots and

applying to the wound. I am not aware of its ever having been used as a

medicine by the profession, and, so far as I know, I am the first to

prepare and use it in the form of a tincture. By your kind permission I

will report, through the columns of your valuable journal, a few cases

treated by this remedy, which for convenience I will call


Case 1. Bessie A., aged six years, while playing in the yard on a farm,

some twelve miles in the country, was bitten in the hand by a

rattlesnake which was killed a moment after by the mother of the little

girl who was attracted by the screams of the child. Sixteen hours after

I arrived, everything having been done in the meantime that had ever

been heard of by the parents, even to poulticing the wound with entrails

of a black chicken. The little sufferer was, indeed, an object of pity.

The hand and arm were swollen almost to bursting, the swelling extending

to the shoulder and spine, being of a bluish black color as if

dreadfully bruised. This discoloration extended over the back to the

hips. Skin hot and dry, face flushed, pulse quick and hard. Child

unconscious. I felt that the case was hopeless. But through the earnest

entreaties of the mother, I proceeded to do what I could. Saturating a

piece of cotton with the tincture I had prepared, I bound it on the

wound; then dropping twelve drops in a glass of water I directed that a

teaspoonful be given every hour, the compress to be renewed every hour

also, until my return. I confess I had little hope of seeing my little

patient alive again, but on my return the following day I was much

rejoiced to find a decided change for the better in the condition of the

little sufferer. The swelling was not nearly so tense, the fever had

subsided, the delirium gone, and the danger seemed past. The treatment

was continued, and a speedy and permanent recovery followed.

Case 2. Burt Whitten, aged ten, while out in a marsh with a number of

older boys gathering huckleberries, was bitten in the right ankle by a

rattler. He was so frightened when he saw the snake, as it bit him, that

he ran all the way home, a distance of nearly a mile; although the day

was very hot. This patient came to my hands after the usual alcoholic

treatment for twenty-four hours by an Allopathic physician, with the

patient growing worse all the time. I found this patient in about the

same condition as the first. The leg and foot were enormously swollen

and of the same general appearance; the foot, calf of the leg and thigh

were black; the whole body was very red, hot and dry; face dark red;

pulse quick and hard; patient delirious but would cry out if touched.

Fifteen drops in a glass of water. Teaspoonful every hour, with cotton

saturated with the tincture applied to the wound. In this case the

change, I was informed by the father, was quite noticeable in two hours.

The boy had been in a wild delirium all night and up to the time he

received the first dose of Sisyrinchium. After the second dose he

became quiet, and in two hours the delirium had passed away. Under this

treatment the patient was able to be out on the streets again in four

days, though the discoloration did not disappear for some time after.

Many more cases might be given where this remedy has been given to both

man and beast with the same results.