Rabies

In Glamorgan, the roots and leaves of BUCK'S HORN PLANTAIN used to be made into a decoction, sweetened with honey, and given as a cure for hydrophobia (Trevelyan). Sir John Hill had heard of this, but gave it no credit: "it is said also to be a remedy against the bite of a mad dog, but this is idle and groundless". RIBWORT PLANTAIN was given for hydrophobia in Ireland (Denham) (it was being prescribed for snakebite in the Anglo-Saxon version of Apuleius). In Ireland, BOX leaves were used as a remedy (Wood-Martin); compare this with the 14th century recipe: "For bytyngge of a wood hound. Take the seed of box, and stampe it with holy watyr, and gif it hym to drynke" (Henslow). Wood-Martin records the use in Ireland of WILD ANGELICA as a cure for hydrophobia, probably only as an inheritance from its august relative, ARCHANGEL. BLACKCURRANTS were used in Ireland for the disease (Wood-Martin). A Russian cure uses CYPRESS SPURGE. It had to be gathered in May and September, during the first days of the full moon, and then it was dried and powdered. Anyone bitten by a suspected rabid animal was given a preventive dose of 5 grams in half a glass of some drink or other (Kourennoff). Another Russian folk remedy used DYER'S GREENWEED for the task, so it is said (Pratt).

VIRGINIAN SKULLCAP has been called Mad-dog, or Mad-dog Herb (House, Lloyd), for it was used to treat the condition, after a Dr van der Veer experimented with it in 1772 (Weiner). Hoosier home medicine uses ELECAMPANE. The roots have to be boiled in a pint of milk down to half a pint, and the patient has to take a third of the result every other morning, and eat no food until 4 pm on those days. It is effective, they claim, provided it is started withing 24 hours of the accident (Tyler).

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