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REPORT OF THE TRIAL OF SARRACENIA PURPUREA, OR PITCHER PLANT, IN SMALL-POX

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107
REPORT
OF
THE
TRIAL
OF
SARRACENIA
PUR-
PUREA,
OR
THE
PITCHER
PLANT,
IN
SMALL-POX.
By
J.
F.
MARSON,
F.R.C.S.,
SUKGEON
TO
THE
SMALL-POX
AND
VACCINATION
HOSPITAL,
LONDON.
[Read
June
1,
1863.]
A
communication,
seemingly
of
great
promise,
from
Mr.
Chalmers
Miles of
the
Royal
Artillery,
was
read
sometime
since
before
a
meeting
of
this
society,
on
the
use
of
sarracenia
purpurea
in
small-pox.
The
specimens
of
the
plant
which
accompanied
the
communication
were
submitted to
me
for
trial
at
the
Small-pox
Hospital,
the
root
being
the
part
of
the
plant
particularly
recommended
for
use.
The
public
generally
and
the
profession
ought
to
feel
very
much
obliged
to
Mr.
Miles
for
the
great
trouble
he took
in
bringing
the
subject
before
them.
And
although
I
shall
not,
unfortunately,
be
able
to
report
favourably
on
the
use
of
this
plant
in
small-pox,
I
feel
that
Mr.
Miles
is
just
as
de-
serving
of
our
thanks
for
the
great
trouble
he
has
taken,
and
for
the
expense I
have
no
doubt he has been
put
to
in
gaining
the
particulars
stated in
the
communication
in
ques-
tion,
as
if
the
remedy
had
succeeded
ever
so
well.
The
root
was
said
to be
the
part
of
the
plant
that,
when
made
into
a
decoction,
afforded
the
best
form of
giving
the
medicine.
There
was
about
enough
for
three
persons
only
in
the
canister
transmitted
by
Mr.
Miles to
this
country
from
Nova
Scotia,
and
given
to
me.
I
had,
therefore,
to
make
up
my
mind
what
were
the
most
desirable
cases
of
small-pox
to
test
its
efficacy
in.
I
fixed
on,
first,
a
malignant
case,
one
of
those
attended
with
haemorrhage
from
the
mucous
surfaces;
second,
a
severely
confluent
case,
such
as
my
experience
has
taught
me
usually
dies,
owing
to
the
great
amount
of
erup-
tion
;
and
third,
if
possible,
a
corymbose
case,
one
of
those
rather
rare
and
nearly
always
fatal
cases
of
small-pox.
To
give
the
remedy
a
fair
trial,
it
was
necessary
to have
the
cases
on
which
to
try
it
in
the
early
stage
of
the
disease,
during
the
first
few
days
of
eruption.
There
was
but
little
small-pox
in
London
at
the
time
the
108
THE
PITCHER
PLANT
IN
SMALL
POX.
plant
was
first
submitted to
me
for
trial;
and,
although
I
was
on
the
watch
for
such
cases
as
I
have
mentioned,
several
months
elapsed
before
I
had
a
suitable
opportunity
of
trying
the
efficacy
of
the
alleged
remedy.
Of
course, I
wished
to
meet
with
the
cases
I
had
fixed
on
free
from
any
suspi-
cion
of
their
having
been
vaccinated
;
this
was
absolutely
necessary,
because
I
know
what
great
influence
vaccination
has
in
altering
what
may
be
called
the
normal
course
of
small-pox
by
modifying
it.
After
several
disappointments,
unnecessary
further
to
detail,
small-pox
became
epidemic
in
the
autumn
of
last
year,
and
the
opportunities
became
nume-
rous
of
trying
the
sarracenia.
About
the
same
time
Mr.
Miles returned to
this
country,
and he
was
good
enough
to
write
to
me
and
place
at
my
disposal
any
amount
of
the
sarracenia
I
might
require,
to be
forwarded
through
the
agency
of
Messrs.
Savory
and
Moore.
I
tried
the
decoction
of
sarracenia
made
from
the
root
by
simmering
an
ounce
in
a
pint
and
a
half
of
water
for
four
hours,
until
reduced
to
a
pint;
and
a
quarter
part
was
usually
given
for
a
dose
twice
a
day,
for
two
days
or
more.
I
also
gave
in
some
cases
the
liq.
sarraceniae
supplied
by
Messrs.
Savory
and
Moore.
In
all,
fifteen
patients
have been
treated
with
the
sarracenia,
selected
for
their
severity,
as
I have
described
;
such
cases
as
I
believe
would
not
get
well
under
ordinary
treatment.
They
have
all
died.
The
cases
were
selected
on
admission
in
the
early
stage
of
the
disease,
on
account
of
the
severe
symptoms
manifested,
and
because I
felt
it
was
of
no
use
to
try
the
efficacy
of
the
sarracenia
on
mild
cases,
or
vaccinated
cases,
that
I
knew
very
well
would
recover
without
anything
being
done
for
them
beyond
the
ordinary
care
of such
cases,
by
giving
salines
if
required,
occasional
aperients,
and
suitable
diet,
etc.
I
cannot
say
that
the
sarracenia
had
any
effect
whatever.
It
did
not
save
life;
it
did
not
modify
in
the
least
the
erup-
tion
of
small-pox;
it
did
not
influence
any of
the
secretions;
it
did
not
increase
the
secretion
of
urine;
in
only
one
instance
it
seemed
to
act
on
the
bowels,
this
seeming
effect
might,
however,
easily
have
been from
other
causes.
The
particulars
of
the
fifteen
cases
taken
daily
at
the
time
of
the
trial
of
the
sarracenia
are
appended
to
this
report;
they
would
be,
perhaps,
rather
tedious
to
the
members
of
the
society
for
me
to read
themnowin
detail,
but I
will
run
over
two
or
three
of
the
cases
to
show
how
the
notes
were
taken.
Two
cases
have been admitted
into
the
hospital
that
had
THE
PITCHER
PLANT
IN
SMALL-POX.
109
taken
a
decoction
of
the
leaves
and
stems
of
the
sarracenia
before
admission.
The
first,
a
very
mild
case,
having
four
vaccine
cicatrices,
was
highly
modified,
I
believe,
by
the
vaccination.
The
second
case
was
confluent,
was
without
vaccination
;
not
severely
confluent,
and
was
wholly
unmo-
dified.
They
both
recovered.
The
recovery
might,
per-
haps,
by
some
be
attributed
to
the
sarracenia,
but I
believe
it
had
nothing
to do with
it.
The
vaccinated
case
was,
as
I
have
said,
very
mild,
due,
I
believe,
to
the
vaccination.
As
to
the
second case, about
half
our
confluent
unvaccinated
cases
recover
with
ordinary
treatment.
In
conclusion,
I
may
state,
that
had
I found
the
sarracenia
do any
good
I should have taken
an
earlier
opportunity
of
reporting
the
fact
to
the
profession.
As
it
failed
I
thought
it
well
to
defer
this
report,
that
others
might
without
bias
try
the
plant
during
the
present
epidemic
of
small-pox,
and
favour
us
with
their
opinion
of
its
reputed
power
of
con-
trolling
the
course
of
small-pox
in
its
severe
forms.
Appendix.
Cases
of
Small-pox
treated
with
Sarracenia,
1862.
1.
Margaret
Clayton,
18
years
of age
$
small-pox,
con-
fluent,
with
monorrhagia;
unvaccinated
;
was
admitted
into
the
Small-pox
Hospital
Oct.
8,1862.
Fourth
day
of
illness,
second of
eruption.
Took
a
quarter
of
a
pint
of
the
dec.
sarracenise
at
one
o'clock
at
night,
Oct.
8,
and
a
quarter
of
a
pint,
in
two
doses,
the
following
day.
She
would
not
after-
wards
take
any
more,
and
died
Oct.
12th.
2.
Mary
Ann
Berkeley,
11
years;
small-pox,
malignant;
unvaccinated;
admitted
Oct
22.
Fourth
day
of
illness,
second of
eruption.
Took
two
ounces
of
the
dec.
sarracenise,
made
from
that
sent
by
Messrs.
Butler
and
M'Culloch,
every
six
hours
until
the
pint
was
consumed,
beginning
on
the
day
of
admission.
Died
Oct.
25,
in
the
evening;
seventh
day
of
illness,
fifth
of
eruption.
3.
John
Maddox,
11
years;
small-pox,
confluent;
unvac-
cinated
,
admitted
Oct.
22;
fifth
day
of
illness,
second of
eruption.
Took
the
same
evening
two
oz.
dec.
sarracenise
(Butler
and
M'Culloch),
and
continued
it
every
six
hours
until
the
pint
was
consumed.
Died
Oct.
28;
eleventh
day
of
illness,
eighth
of
eruption.
4.
Elias
Hook
Folson,
48
years,
a
machinist,
from
Massa-
chusetts;
small-pox,
confluent;
unvaccinated;
admitted
Nov.
6;
eighth
day
of
illness,
fifth
of
eruption.
Took
the
dec.
110
THE
PITCHER
PLANT
IN
SMALL-POX.
sarraceniae,
that
sent
by
Mr.
Miles,
in
quarter
pint
doses,
beginning
the
day
of
admission,
twice
the
following
day,
and
one
dose
the
succeeding
day.
Died
Nov.
13;
fifteenth
day
of
illness,
and
twelfth
of
eruption.
5.
John
Hutchings,
18
years,
baker;
small-pox,
con-
fluent
;
unvaccinated
;
admitted
Nov.
18;
fifth
day
of
illness,
second of
eruption.
Began
the
dec.
sarraceniae
the
following
day.
Took
two
quarter-pints
one
day,
and
two
quarter-
pints
the
following
day.
Died
Nov.
25;
twelfth
day
of
illness,
ninth
of
eruption.
6.
George
Dedman,
25,
labourer;
small-pox,
confluent;
unvaccinated;
admitted Dec.
2;
fifth
day
of
illness,
third
of
eruption.
Began
the
dec.
sarracenia
same
day,
took
one
dose
quarter-pint,
two
doses
following
day,
and
one
the
next.
Died
Dec. 10
;
thirteenth
day
of
illness,
eleventh
of
eruption.
7.
William
Blake,
17,
baker;
small-pox,
confluent;
un-
vaccinated
;
admitted Dec.
3;
fifth
day
of
illness,
second of
eruption.
Began
the
dec.
sarraceniae
next
day;
took
two
quarter-pint
doses,
and
the
remainder
the
following
day.
Died
Dec. 20
;
twenty-second
day
of
illness,
and
nineteenth
of
eruption.
8.
Charles
Baldock,
19,
footman;
small-pox,
confluent;
unvaccinated;
admitted Dec. 11
;
fourth
day
of
illness,
second of
eruption.
Began
the
dec.
sarraceniae
Dec. 12
and
took
the
pint
on
that
and
following
day,
continued
it
through
another
pint,
and died Dec. 21
;
fourteenth
day
of
illness,
twelfth
of
eruption.
9.
John
Jones,
25,
draper's
assistant;
small-pox,
con-
fluent;
vaccinated
in
South
Wales
in
infancy,
no
cicatrix.
Began
the
dec.
sarraceniae
the
following
day
(Dec.
12);
ad-
mitted
11th
;
seventh
day
of
illness,
fifth
of
eruption.
Took
the
pint
of
decoction
during
the
two
days,
12th
and
13th
Dec.,
and continued
it
through
another
pint.
Died
Dec.
15;
eleventh
day
of
illness,
ninth
of
eruption.
10.
JohnZambra,
33,
confectioner;
small-pox,
confluent;
vaccinated
near
Como,
one
indifferent
cicatrix;
admitted
Dec.
11;
second
day
of
eruption.
Began
the
dec.
sarraceniae
Dec.
14,
and continued
it
to
a
double
dose,
two
pints.
Died
Dec. 18
;
eleventh
day
of
illness,
ninth of
eruption.
11.
James
Harvey,
21,
labourer;
small-pox, confluent;
unvaccinated;
admitted
Dec. 19
;
sixth
day
of
illness,
fourth
of
eruption.
Began
dec.
sarraceniae
same
day.
Died
Dec.
28
;
fifteenth
day
of
illness,
thirteenth
of
eruption.
12.
Thomas
Underwood
Josslyn,
22,
draper's
assistant;
THE
PITCHER
PLANT
IN
SMALL-POX.
Ill
small-pox,
confluent;
unvaccinated
(cut
twice
for
cow-pox
in
Essex
without
effect);
admitted
Jan.
19,
1863;
eighth
day
of
illness,
sixth
of
eruption.
Began
the
day
of admis-
sion
with
a
drachm
of
liq.
sarracenise
every
four
or
five
hours?a
drachm
being
stated
to be
a
full
dose.
Took
three
bottles,
in
all
an
ounce
and
a
half
of
the
liq.
sarracenise
;
no
effect.
Died
Jan.
24
;
thirteenth
day
of
illness,
eleventh
of
eruption.
13.
Ann
Oliver,
30,
barmaid;
small-pox,
confluent,
he-
morrhagic
;
vaccinated
at
Lymington,
two
indifferent
cica-
trices
;
fifth
day
of
illness,
third
of
eruption,
Jan.
24.
Began
the
following
day
with
a
drachm
of
liq.
sarracenise
every
four
or
five
hours.
Took
an
ounce
and
a
half
of
the
liq.
sarracenise.
No
effect.
Died
Jan.
28;
ninth
of
illness,
seventh
of
eruption.
14.
Thomas
Couchman,
35,
stone
sawyer;
small-pox,
confluent;
unvaccinated;
admitted
Jan.
31,
1863;
eighth
day
of
illness,
sixth
of
eruption.
Began
the
liq.
sarracenise
day
of
admission,
one
drachm
for
a
dose
every
five
or
six
hours
?took
six
drachms.
Died
Feb.
5.
15.
James
Underwood,
39,
labourer;
small-pox,
confluent;
unvaccinated;
admitted
Jan.
31;
sixth
day
of
illness,fourth
of
eruption.
Began
dec.
sarracenise,
same
day;
took
six
drachms.
Died
Feb.
5.
Note.?The
second and
third
cases
only
took
the
decoc-
tion
of
sarracenia
supplied
by
Messrs.
Butler
and
M'Culloch,
a
mixture of
root,
stalks,
and
leaves.
All
the
rest
of
the
cases
took
the
sarracenia
first
sent
by
Mr.
Miles,
or
that
sup-
plied
at
his
request
by
Messrs.
Savory
and Moore.
... However, treating the cells with fresh S. purpurea every six hours completely abolished the replication of VACV. This correlates well with how patients were treated in the past where the treatment regime involved taking 4–6 doses of the extract per day [11]. Our data supports that extracts of S. purpurea effectively inhibit the replication of VACV, MPXV and VARV in vitro. ...
Article
Full-text available
In the nineteenth century, smallpox ravaged through the United States and Canada. At this time, a botanical preparation, derived from the carnivorous plant Sarracenia purpurea, was proclaimed as being a successful therapy for smallpox infections. The work described characterizes the antipoxvirus activity associated with this botanical extract against vaccinia virus, monkeypox virus and variola virus, the causative agent of smallpox. Our work demonstrates the in vitro characterization of Sarracenia purpurea as the first effective inhibitor of poxvirus replication at the level of early viral transcription. With the renewed threat of poxvirus-related infections, our results indicate Sarracenia purpurea may act as another defensive measure against Orthopoxvirus infections.
Conference Paper
This thesis answers the questions of what was travelling, how, and why, when a Kanien’kehaka woman living amongst the Mi’kmaq at Shubenacadie sold a remedy for smallpox to British and Haligonian colonisers in 1861. I trace the movement of the plant (known as: Mqo’oqewi’k, Indian Remedy, Sarracenia purpurea, and Limonio congener) and knowledges of its use from Britain back across the Atlantic. In exploring how this remedy travelled, why at this time and what contexts were included with the plant’s removal I show that rising scientific racism in the nineteenth century did not mean that Indigenous medical flora and knowledge were dismissed wholesale, as scholars like Londa Schiebinger have suggested. Instead conceptions of indigeneity were fluid, often lending authority to appropriated flora and knowledge while the contexts of nineteenth-century Britain, Halifax and Shubenacadie created the Sarracenia purpurea, Indian Remedy and Mqo’oqewi’k as it moved through and between these spaces. Traditional accounts of bio-prospecting argue that as Indigenous flora moved, Indigenous contexts were consistently stripped away. This process of stripping shapes Indigenous origins as essentialised and static. Following the plant backward to its apparent point of origin highlights the more complex reality. This work is undertaken within the broader framework of ‘Red’ Atlantic history, that seeks to bring complex Indigenous histories into broader accounts of medicine in the Atlantic World. I will highlight that the ‘Red’ Atlantic approach, when undertaken by nonIndigenous historians, requires recognition and honesty about of the historian’s own position. This is not Indigenous history. Due to the constraints of distance, time and funding I was unable to obtain testimonies from current members of the Mi’kmaq community. Histories that do not include this important resource, from oral historical cultures, cannot claim to be Indigenous histories. Though revisionist, my work is informed by my position as a white woman educated in western academia therefore it remains “American Indian history largely from the white perspective.”
14, and continued it to a double dose, two pints
  • Dec
Dec. 14, and continued it to a double dose, two pints. Died Dec. 18 ; eleventh day of illness, ninth of eruption.
21, labourer; small-pox, confluent
  • James Harvey
James Harvey, 21, labourer; small-pox, confluent;
30, barmaid; small-pox, confluent, hemorrhagic ; vaccinated at Lymington, two indifferent cicatrices ; fifth day of illness, third of eruption Began the following day with a drachm of liq. sarracenise every four or five hours
  • Ann Oliver
Ann Oliver, 30, barmaid; small-pox, confluent, hemorrhagic ; vaccinated at Lymington, two indifferent cicatrices ; fifth day of illness, third of eruption, Jan. 24. Began the following day with a drachm of liq. sarracenise every four or five hours. Took an ounce and a half of the liq.
39, labourer; small-pox, confluent; unvaccinated; admitted Jan. 31; sixth day of illness,fourth of eruption. Began dec. sarracenise, same day; took six drachms
  • James Underwood
James Underwood, 39, labourer; small-pox, confluent; unvaccinated; admitted Jan. 31; sixth day of illness,fourth of eruption. Began dec. sarracenise, same day; took six drachms. Died Feb. 5.
The second and third cases only took the decoction of sarracenia supplied by Messrs. Butler and M'Culloch, a mixture of root, stalks, and leaves. All the rest of the cases took the sarracenia first sent by Mr. Miles, or that supplied at his request by Messrs
  • Note
Note.?The second and third cases only took the decoction of sarracenia supplied by Messrs. Butler and M'Culloch, a mixture of root, stalks, and leaves. All the rest of the cases took the sarracenia first sent by Mr. Miles, or that supplied at his request by Messrs. Savory and Moore.