Lime and herb pastes are not recommended for treating snake bites and scorpion stings

By: Soham Shah
October 11 2023

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Lime and herb pastes are not recommended for treating snake bites and scorpion stings

Facebook post recommending herbal medicine for venomous snake bites and scorpion stings. (Source: Wikimedia Commons/Pexels/Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The post’s suggestion of applying lime, followed by a paste of ginger, turmeric, garlic, or cinnamon on such wounds is not advised by medical experts.

Claim ID b4e995ef

What is the claim?

A post shared on Facebook on October 3, 2023, suggests home remedies for scorpion stings and snake bites, saying that limes can be used to "magnetize" and "remove" the poisons. The post advises the application of a lime to the bites first, followed by a paste of ginger, turmeric, garlic, and cinnamon.

A post shared on Facebook. (Source: Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, this is false and contrary to recommended medical procedure.

What is the recommended medical procedure?

No medical literature suggests that lime or herbs are potent treatments for the venom contained in scorpion stings or snake bites. 

For scorpion bites, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) National Institute For Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends five steps when stung by a scorpion, none none of which include applying any of the above-mentioned ingredients. The steps include the application of ice to the site of the sting, avoiding sedatives, and contacting a qualified healthcare provider.

U.S. CDC NIOSH recommendations for a scorpion sting (Source: CDC/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

The World Health Organization (WHO) specifically warns against using traditional first aid or herbal remedies for snake bites. The recommendations for suspected venomous snake bites include immobilizing the victim, applying pressure to the bite, and transporting them to a health facility.

The WHO's snake bite treatment recommendations (Source: WHO/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

The CDC's advice for snake bites also does not recommend the application of any herbs at the site of the bite.

 What did experts tell us?

Dr. Dayal Bandhu Majumdar, the resource person for snakebite training for the Government of West Bengal, called the claims "bogus," telling Logically Facts, "Anti-venom is the only medicine that works against venomous scorpion stings and snake bites. Local and systemic painkillers might be given for scorpion stings as they can be very painful." He said no other first-aid or drug can help against the venom of snakes or scorpions. 

Logically Facts also spoke to Dr. Surajit Giri, an anesthesiologist known for his work with snakebites in Assam, who also recommended against applying any herbs, including those mentioned in the post, for scorpion stings or snake bites. 

Revealing how the application of such herbs can cause infection, Dr. Giri further said, "One of my patients came to the hospital with a non-venomous snake bite but had applied chili powder and some herbal medicine. There were multiple snake bite wounds through which these materials were absorbed, and the patient developed sepsis all over the body. Normal white blood cell count is 4,000-11,000, but his had gone up to 25,000, indicating infection. The patient survived after we treated him, but the whole thing could have been prevented if he had not applied herbal remedies."

 The verdict

The WHO and CDC do not recommend the application of lime or herbs for snake and scorpion bites. Independent medical experts have also stated that such remedies are not recommended. 

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