Species Detail

Desmanthus illinoensis unconfirmed
Snakebite Cure


Scientific Name:  
Desmanthus illinoensis unconfirmed
Common Name:  
Snakebite Cure
Myaamia Name:  
Uses:  
Medicinal
Harvest Seasons:  
Undetermined
Habitats:  
Undetermined
Locations:  
Undetermined
Growth Forms:  
Herb

Myaamia Archival Sources  
Desmanthus illinoensis unconfirmed
Reference Source Reference Type Archival Data Comments
Allouez, C.J. 1903 Use - Medicinal  snakebite antidote. "As there are in their country many serpents; these Indians know herbs much superior to our orvietan and theriaque; for after rubbing themselves with them; they can without fear play with the most venomous insects; and even put them some distance down their throat"
Deliette, L. 1702 Use - Medicinal  root used to cure rattlesnake bite. "Rattlesnakes abound among them; not a summer passes but some one is bitten; this troubles them but little since they have an admirable root; which; as soon as it is applied to the wound; softens the swelling so that by the next day one is cured. This root is found in the prairies and is shaped like an onion. The stem grows two feet high; the leaves are narrow and somewhat resemble those of the sumac. It forms large buds in which the seed is lodged. I have made a point of hunting for it in this country; but have never been able to find any. I have been told that they had still another kind; but I have not become acquainted with it."
Thwaites, R.G. (editor) 1966 Use - Medicinal  root used as antidote to snake bites. The root of this plant must first be chewed and then placed on the snake bite. "I also took time to look for a medicinal plant which a savage; who knows its secret; showed to Father Alloues with many Ceremonies. Its root is employed to Counteract snake-bites; God having been pleased to give this antidote Against a poison which is very common in these countries. It is very pungent; and tastes like powder when crushed with the teeth; it must be masticated and place upon the bite inflicted by the snake. The reptile has so great a horror of it that it even flees from a person who has rubbed himself with it. The plant bears serveral stalks; a foot high; with rather long leaves; and a white flower; which greatly resembles The wallflower"
Thwaites, R.G. (editor) 1903 Use - Medicinal  antidote to snake bites. " . . .I had the curiosity to taste the mineral water of a river near it [a Miami/Maskouten/Kickapoo village]; and found a simple [plant] of a wonderful virtue against the venom of the serpents. A savage who knew it; had shown it to Father Allouez; who had often occasion to try its virtues; God having been pleased to provide that country with that wonderful antidote against the serpents; who are very dangerous in those parts. The root of the simple is very hot; and tastes like gunpowder; they chew it; and apply it to the part of the body stung by the serpents; and this without any other mystery cures the wound; and the serpents have such an antipathy aginst the herb; that they run away from any man who has rubbd his body with the same. It produces several stalks about a foot high; the leaves are somewhat long; the flower is white; and the whole looks like our Gilliflowers. I took one into our canow; the better to examine it"
Thwaites, R.G. (editor) 1903 Use - Medicinal  antidote to snakebite. Hennepin does not specify the plant used; but this and Devils bit are the other two plants mentioned by other ethnographers related to treating snake bites. "As there are some stony Places in this Country; where there is a great quantity of Serpents; very troublesome to the Illinois; they know several Herbs which are a quiker and surer Remedy against their Venom; than our Treacle or Orvietan. They rub themselves with these Herbs; after which they play with those dangerous Serpents; without receiving any hurt. They take the young ones and put them sometimes into their Mouth"
Botanical Sources  
Desmanthus illinoensis unconfirmed
No sources entered.
Related Sources  
Desmanthus illinoensis unconfirmed
No sources entered.