One would think it’d be safe having some cocktails & drugs in our own backyard.
Not because of of the drugs or alcohol but because of a
little brown recluse on the loose.
None of us here are advocating people ingest illegal drugs.
Nor are we suggesting you do anything else illegal that could potentially put you in harms way or in contact with Officer Barney Fife.
However As big boys and girls we all need to make our own
decisions about what to do with our bodies and minds.
And I’m simply saying if one were to decide to enjoy some singing, dancing, great conversations, beautiful springtime weather with a crackling fire pit, w some E, cocktails and shrooms then you would think it’d be safer to do these things in one’s own backyard.
Anyhoo… This post isn’t a dissertation about the asinine war on drugs…
We’ll let Sir Richard Branson handle that.
This is actually about a home remedy for an extremely dangerous brown recluse
The one and only test subject, is me.
Not exactly a double-blind, peer-reviewed scientific
study but this is what we’re working’ with people.
Here’s the 2nd ‘All-American’ disclaimer of the post: This is NOT
intended to treat or diagnose any disease. I am not your Doctor and might not
even know you, let alone your medically significant details. Use common sense
and go to the damn Doctor if you are in doubt.
What I do as a ‘life test pilot’ of sorts, is sometimes highly questionable.
So please, It’s always best to get medical attention from a licensed health
care professional if there is any doubt as to what you are doing.
Whew, ok, now that we got that out of the way we can get real.
While we were having a little shin-dig in the back last Friday night I got a spider bite.
It itched like crazy right away.
The pain shooting up my leg from the bite areas near my ankle
woke me up early Saturday morning from being pretty much unconscious.
The area was painful, red and blistered.
Since I remember that spot being really itchy and could see
a couple super-tiny fang marks I decided to Google ‘brown recluse bite remedy’.
As it turns out there isn’t an official, medically-recognized cure or anti-venom
for a brown recluse bite in existence.
According to standard western medicine the only thing one can do is
treat other symptoms such as:
nausea, vomiting, pain, bacterial infection, gangrene or tetanus.
This was NOT the news I was looking for and kept searching.
Believe me, I’m not one of those neo-hippies that eschews anything from
western medicine. If there’s a serious car wreck there isn’t a country I’d rather be in
than the good old USA. Nobody comes close to our emergency and trauma care.
That said, however, I am a pragmatist.
In other words I care primarily only if something is effective.
Since western medicine basically answered my query with:
“I don’t know what’s going on with that bite of yours but we have some scalpels in the back?”
I decided to see what other solutions might be out there.
As it turns out bentonite clay has been used by many cultures including the ancient egyptians as well as indigenous tribes of both south and north Americas as a method of pulling venom from the skin
caused by bees stings, poisonous snake bites, scorpion stings and spider bites
with quite a bite of success for several centuries.
Another substance that has proven to counteract poison is active charcoal.
This is routinely given to patients in the emergency room orally
if they’ve ingested a poison.
So I decided to give that a go and mixed up a bowl of
chia seeds (simply to make it gelatinous and easier to apply than a soupy mixture)
Day One – actual photo
Chemistry of Spider Venom
The majority of spiders possess neurotoxic venom.
These neurotoxins are multicomponent but contain three main groups of toxic compounds:
- Low Mr polyamines (Mr less than 1000)
- Polypeptides (Mr 3000-10,000)
- High Mr proteins (Mr more than 10,000)
Other venom components include inorganic ions and salts, free acids (eg. lactic acid), glucose, nucleic acids, free amino acids and biogenic amines. The exact role of these is unknown but they are thought to aid the stability, delivery and effectiveness of the toxins.
The excitability of the cell membrane and the transmission of electrical signals across a synapse are very important in the function nerve tissue. As a result, neuronal receptors, ion channels or membrane proteins involved in neurotransmitter release are attacked by most venoms.
Picture from reference 12
The structure of a spider polyamine consists of a hydrophobic, aromatic carboxylic acid region connected to a hydrophilic polyamine amide chain.
Polyamines work by blocking neuromuscular junctions in insects to prevent the release of the main neurotransmitter, glutamate, resulting in paralysis. These toxins tend to be specific for insects and not vertebrates.
These attack ion channels and are the major components of spider toxins. Ion channels are proteins situated on the nerve cell membrane, through which ions can pass to move across the membrane. The channels control the electrical potential of the membrane and ionic balance so they are vital in neurotransmitter release. The different types of ion channel and examples of the toxins which affect them are discussed below.
- Calcium channels are important in cardiac and muscular function. Voltage-dependent calcium channels are blocked by w-agatoxins (30-40 amino acid peptides) fromAgelenopsis aperta which causes muscular paralysis due to prevention of neurotransmitter release. w-Agatoxins can be selective for calcium channels of different animal groups such as mammals, birds and insects.
- Sodium channels of the voltage-dependent kind are present in nerve and muscle cells. They are targeted by m-agatoxins (36-37 amino acid peptides) which increase the amount of Na+ moving across the cell membrane to cause excessive presynaptic neural stimulation and massive neurotransmitter release. This causes hyperstimulation of post-synaptic receptors resulting in paralysis. These channels are attacked in the same way by d-atracotoxins from the Australian funnel-web spiders Atrax robustus andHadronyche versutus which show significant toxicity towards humans.
- Potassium channels control the duration and frequency of electrical signals so it is possible that they influence cardiac function. Voltage-dependent potassium channels are targeted by hanatoxins (35 amino acid peptides) from the Chile Rose tarantula (Grammastola spatulata). It is thought that they work together with sodium channel toxins to induce massive neurotransmitter release and paralysis.
Polypeptide toxins all have the same basic structure. A single polypeptide molecule is folded so that a b-sheet consisting of three strands is made. The overall structure of the peptide is termed a ‘cysteine knot’.
Images from reference 8 Structures of polypeptide toxins and schematic diagram of a cysteine knot
An example of a neurotoxic protein is a-latrotoxin from the black widow spider. It is highly toxic to vertebrates and causes massive neurotransmitter release.
Enzyme proteins are used in necrotoxins. The active enzyme in brown recluse spider venom is sphingomyelinase D which causes the degradation of cell membranes and the development of painful lesions.
Scabbing up a little. Nausea and shooting pain is subsiding quite a bit.
It feels more like a bruise from smashing into a concrete block or something instead of say a nail.