General Treatment Of Poisoning

Since a poison of whatever sort is extremely keen, sharp and heat-making in its poteney, a copious sprinkling with cold water should be used in all cases of poisoning. But since the poison of an insect is mild and not too much heat-making in its potency and as it engenders a large quantity of Váyu and Kapha in the oreanism. measures of fomentation (Sveda) are not forbidden in a case of insect-bite. A bite by a strongly poisoned insect, however, should be treated as a snake-bite to all intents and purposes. 16.

The poison of a venomed dart or of a snakebite courses through the whole organism of the victim but it is its nature that it returns to the place of hurt and bite respectively. A man eating, from culpable gluttony, the flesh of such an animal, just dead (from the effects of poison), is afflicted with symptoms and diseases peculiar to the specific pathogenetic virtues of the poison with which the dead body is charged, and, in the long run, meets with his doom. Hence the flesh of an animal killed by a venomed dart or a snake bite (should be considered as fatal as the poison itself and) should not be taken immediately after its death. The flesh of such an animal, however, may be eaten after a period of forty eight minutes (Muhurta) from its death after the portions of the hurt and the bite have been removed. 17.

Symptoms of taking poison internally ! - Whoever passes a black sooty stool with loud flatus, or sheds hot tears and drops down with agony, and whose complexion becomes discoloured, and whose mouth becomes filled with foam, should be considered as afflicted with poison taken internally (Visha-pita). The heart of such a man (dying from the effects of internal poisoning) cannot be burnt in fire; since the poison from its very nature lies extended in the whole viscera of the heart, the seat of cognition *. 18.

Fatal Bites

A man bitten by a snake in any of the vulnerable parts of the body, or near (the root of) an As'vatthva tree, or a temple, at the cremation ground or on an ant-hill, or at the meeting of day and night, or at the crossings of roads or under the influence of the Bharani or Maghá asterisms (astral mansions) should be given up as lost. The poison of a hooded cobra (Darvri-kara, proves instantaneously fatal. All poisons become doubly strong and operative in summer (Ushna). † In cases of persons suffering from indigestion, urinary complaints, or from the effects of deranged Pitta or oppressed with the heat of the sun (sun-stroke) as well as infants, old men, invalids, emaciated persons, pregnant women, men of timid disposition, or of a dry temperament, or oppressed with hunger, or bitten on a cloudy day, the poisons become doubly strong and operative. 19-20.

On the other hand, a snake bitten person, into whose body an incision is unattended with bleeding, or on whose body the strokes of lashes leave no marks, nor does horripilation appear even after a copious pouring of cold water on the body, should be likewise given up as lost. A case of snake-bite in which the tongue of the victim is found to be coated white and whose hair falls off (on the slightest pull), the bridge of whose nose becomes bent and the voice hoarse, where there is lockjaw and the appearance of a blackish-red swelling about the bite, - such a case should be given up as hopeless. 21-22.

* In the Charaka Samhitá also we come across identical expressions of opinion as to the seat of poison in the dead body of an animal or man, dying from poison from a poisoned dart or snake-bite or from poison administered internally. See chapter xxiii (Symptoms And Medical Treatment Of Swellings (Sopha)), chikitsá-sthána - Charaka Samhitá.

† In place ofFatal Bites 200212 some readThis would mean "if bitten in the upper part of the body."

The case in which thick, long lumps of mucus are expectorated accompanied by bleeding from both the upward and the downward orifices of the body with distinct impression of all the fangs on the bitten part, should be given up by the physician. 23.

A case of snake-bite marked by the symptoms of an insane state like that of a drunkard and accompanied by severe distressing symptoms (Upadrava), as well as loss of voice and complexion and an absence of the circulation of blood * and by other fatal symptoms should be abandoned and no action need be taken therein. 24.

Thus ends the third Chapter of the Kalpa-Sthána in the Sus'ruta Samhitá which treats of animal poisons.

* The text has "Avegi". Kártika explains it to mean "with suppression of the natural urgings, ie. of stool, urine, etc.