Stories that make you glad we have modern medicine.

By Patricia Calzo Vega
Photo by Jeffrey C. Lim

These days, scorpion hobbyists can rest easy, secure in the knowledge that no humans have ever died from being stung by the Asian Black Forest Scorpion. Even those bitten by more potently poisonous scorpions know that there is antivenin available.

But imagine if you lived centuries ago and had to endure the excruciating pain of a venomous scorpion bite—wouldn’t you try anything that promised a cure? In the 1865 book “Curious Facts in the History of Insects, Including Spiders and Scorpions,” Frank Cowan wrote about purported scorpion cures practiced in the Philippines:

An Asian Black Forest Scorpion.

“Navarette tells us, in the account of his voyage to the Philippine islands, that there was
there in practice a good and easy remedy against the Scorpions which abound in that country.

This was, when they went to bed, to make a commemoration of St. George. He himself, he says, for many years continued the devotion, and ‘God be praised,’ he adds, ‘the Saint always
delivered me both there and in other countries from those and such like insects.” He confesses,
however, they used another remedy besides, which was to rub all about the beds with garlic.

Navarette and Barbot both tell us that a certain remedy against the sting of a Scorpion,
is to rub the wound with a child’s private member. This, the latter adds, immediately
takes away the pain, and then the venom exhales. The moisture that comes from a hen’s
mouth, is also good for the same.”

RESOURCES:
• Professional Breeders Series: Tarantulas and Scorpions in Captivity (2012) by Russ
Gurley
http://aboutphilippines.ph/files/Scorpion-Philippines-species.pdf
• The Herpetocultural Library: Scorpions Plus Other Popular Invertebrates (2006) by
Jerry G. Walls
http://www.ourbreathingplanet.com/asian-forest-scorpion/

This appeared in “A Powerful Scorpion” in Animal Scene’s December 2015 issue.