Rabies is a serious condition that requires prompt management. It is not safe to solely rely on natural herbal remedies to treat this condition. Special medical attention is needed to save or prolong the life of a patient and prevent the spread of infection. However, there are some first aid treatment and supportive care that can be done at home, which can help a patient suspected or possible to have rabies.
There’s no specific treatment for rabies infection. Though a small number of people have survived rabies, the disease is usually fatal. For that reason, if you think you’ve been exposed to rabies, you must get a series of shots to prevent the infection from taking hold.
When bitten by an animal, you should always care for the wound immediately by washing it out with soap, water, and some sort of commercial antiseptic iodine solution, if available. This will help kill the common bacteria that may be passed by the bite but also has been shown to decrease the likelihood of transmission of the rabies virus, should the animal be rabid.
First, if you are bitten by or if an open wound came in contact with the saliva of a rabid animal (e.g. dog, bat), perform wound care by washing the area with soap and water. Apply antiseptic solution such as povidone iodine, afterwards. Second, you can use some herbs (e.g. lavender, garlic) to speed up the healing process. If the animal is domesticated, obtain basic information about the animal such as owner’s name, address, and phone number, if possible. Through this information, it will be easier for the local public health authorities to monitor the animal. On the other hand, if the bite or injury is caused by a wild or stray animal, contact the local animal-control authorities immediately to safely capture the animal for examination and monitoring. Remember that the victim or other bystanders should not attempt to capture the animal because doing so may lead to further injury and exposure.
Other supportive care that can be done is to boost the patient’s immune system. Increasing intake of food rich in vitamin C and B or taking supplements will help fight the infection associated with rabies. Food suggestions include cabbage, tomatoes, raspberries, celery, tangerines, watermelon, pineapple, and spinach. Aside from this, though there is no enough evidence to support this claim, some people believe that there are natural remedies that can potentially neutralize the toxic effects of a rabid dog bite. These include ground walnut mixed with salt and onion as well as ground cumin seeds mixed with black peppercorns.
Immediately after being bitten, you should:
- wash the wound thoroughly under a running tap
- use antiseptic or alcohol to clean the wound and apply ethanol, tincture or aqueous solution of iodine, if available
- leave the wound open – use a simple dressing, but don’t try to stitch it, because this could expose your nerve endings to the rabies virus
- go to the nearest hospital or medical centre and explain that you’ve been bitten.
The benefits of garlic have been well known and documented. Garlic has been cultivated as a medicinal plant by the ancient Chinese, Egyptians, Greeks and given to Roman soldiers to give them strength before battle, as well as people bitten by rabid animals or snakes. The unpeeled garlic is crushed, squeezed and applied on the bite wound.
Lastly, some Chinese herbal remedy which uses Chinese barbed skullcap has been found out to bring down fever and lower blood pressure. It is mainly known as a nerve-relaxing medicine in the U.S., but the Chinese noted its strong anti-viral action.