Canton Historical Society
Cure For Rattlesnake Bite
The Canton Historical Society
Assumes NO Liability For This Cure,
If You Are Bitten By A RattleSnake, Seek Proper Medical Help
It is the cure for rattlesnake bite, found by Dr. Abel Puffer of Stoughton/Canton in 1770. Dr. Puffer was born in 1737 and died in 1813. This was taken from the "History of Canton, Mass.", by Daniel T. V. Huntoon, Published by the Town of Canton in 1893.
A sure and certain cure for the bite of a Rattle-Snake made Public by Abel Puffer, of Stoughton.
As soon as may be after the person is bit, cut a gash or slit in the place where the bite is, as the teeth went in, and fill it full of fine salt. Take common plantain and pound it, add a little water to it, then squeeze out the Juice, and mix it with clean water; then make a strong brine with fine salt and the Juice, till it will not dissolve the salt, then make a swath or bandage with linen cloth and bind it around just above the swelling (but not too tight); then wet the Bandage with the before mentioned brine, and keep it constantly wet with the brine, for it will dry very fast, and keep stroking the part with your hands as hard as the patient can bear towards the cut you made, and you will soon see the poison and virulent matter flow out of the cut; and it will often flow so fast that it will swell below the cut, and if it should, you must cut below the swelling to let out the virulent matter, and it will not leave running till it is discharged. You must keep the bandage moving downwards as the swelling abates. It is proper to give the patient something to defend the stomach, as sweet oil, safron, or snake root. It very often bleeds after the poison is out; but be not surprised at that, it is good for it. It will run some time after the poison is out there must be care taken that none of the poison that runs out gets to any sore, or raw Flesh, for it will poison the person.
I expect that some will slight this publication, for the remedies being so simple a thing; but I hope no one will so slight it, if he is bit, as to neglect trying the experiment, and the effect will prove what I have said to be true. I should not have published this had I not been certain of its performing the cure by my own Experience; for I have cured two Persons dangerously bit, and a Horse and Dog, with no other Thing but what is mentioned in the before Direction and make this Public for the Benefit of Mankind, tho I have been offered a considerable sum by some persons to make it known to them, but then it must he kept as a secret.
STOUGHTON, Oct. 4th, 1770.