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Inviato da Wes von Papinešu on Febbraio 02, 2000 at 20:35:06:
CHINA DAILY (Beijing) 01 February 00 Chinese medicine bites into deadly problem (Byan Yi)
Dreaded poisonous snakes aren't so scary, believes a Chinese man who says he has learnt to ease the bites of the venomous beasts.
Thanks to Chinese medicine, Shu Purong believes a poisonous snake bite is no longer a death sentence for humans. In the past decade, he has developed "Green Dragon" snake bite anti-venom, earning him the title of China's "Anti-snake-bite King."
He claims a 99 per cent recovery rate for 200 people treated with the potion.
China's location in subtropical and temperate areas makes it prime breeding ground for many kinds of snakes. According to statistics, China has 173 snake species. Of those, 57 kinds are venomous and 10 are known as "hyper-toxic." Those most deadly snakes mainly live south of the Yangtze River, especially in Jiangxi Province.
The country sees 600,000 snake bite victims each year. Although a great majority of the snake bites are not serious, some can be toxic. Poisonous bites can cause extreme pain and swelling, permanent injury and even death.
Shu has long studied the syndromes caused by snake bites, but his hasn't been an easy road.
Born to a poor family in Jiangxi Province more than 70 years ago, Shu left school at 16. In 1948, he joined the People's Liberation Army and was assigned to nursing training - his first foray into medicine.
After leaving the army, Shu became a doctor in his hometown. Later, he was assigned to research Chinese herbal medicines.
The curative effects of the herbs, especially against snake bites, grabbed Shu's interest.
One day, when he was collecting herbs in a mountainous area, he ran across an old man who had his left arm amputated. The man had lost his arm to a snake bite suffered while farming.
Shocked by the appalling rate of disability and death from venomous snake bites in the village, Shu began to research folk herbs used as anti-venom.
But in the vast accumulation of Chinese medicine and pharmacology, information about medicine for snake bites was scarce.
Shu was determined to start this task from scratch.
He found that the rural people had accumulated valuable experiences and formed many effective folk recipes during their unremitting battle against snake bites.
Looking for experienced physicians excelling in herbal medicine became part of Shu's research. Whenever possible, he would solicit their opinions.
To collect recipes, he weaved in and out of every corner of the countryside and got acquainted with more than 500 local doctors and 50 medical specialists.
One or two pieces of advice from those doctors got Shu excited.
Once, he witnessed a doctor use a herb named Yicun Jin (one-inch gold) to cure his patient. As the doctor kept the recipe as a secret, Shu had to uncover the veil of the herb by himself.
He brought the leafless herb home and carefully planted it in a flowerpot. After some fresh leaves grew, Shu hurried to take the herb to an expert to get it identified. The true face of the herb was finally disclosed. Its name was xianmao, a plant used to treat snake bites.
Shu treated numerous cases as he visited doctors and collected herbal remedies.
On the basis of the predecessors' research, he compiled a collection of folk recipes.
Meanwhile, to seek a more theoretical basis for his medicine, Shu wrote a massive book, "The Snake Bite Wound Treatment." In it, he incorporated a decade of recipe collections and herbal specimens, plus his clinical combination of Chinese and Western medicines.
In the book, he expounded that Chinese herbal medicine and Western medicine should complement each other to treat snake bites. The treatment should be centred on detoxification.
This idea laid a basis for the development of modern anti-venom in China.
The book is used in training doctors to treat snake bites.
Lu Zhizheng, the Chinese herbal medicine counsellor of the State Council, said the book has broken the incorrect belief that Chinese herbal medicine was helpless against snake bites.
The book is now called the "walking snake doctor" by local peasants.
And Shu Purong became a household name after the release of the book. But he knows that he alone cannot save millions of people who suffer snake bites. So he decided to provide training for doctors all over the country.
His proposal was heeded by the Ministry of Health, as well as doctors of his field.
On October 10, 1984, Shu founded a snake bite medicine study association in Yingtan, Jiangxi Province.
From then on, Shu devoted himself to the research and popularization of the snake bite treatment. Striving to expand his association to 30 branches and over 4,000 members, Shu has established a snake bite wound prevention network.
In 1986, then the vice-chairman of the Yingtan Science and Technology Association, Shu received a letter from the No 4 Research Institute of the PLA Air Force asking for 10 bottles of concentrated snake bite tablets.
Pilots who land in the deep forests of tropical or subtropical areas are vulnerable to venomous snakes. After careful comparison of various snake bite medicines in the country, they found that Shu's "Qinglong" snake medicine was the most effective. So, they co- operated with Shu and developed a new medicine that is more effective but with a smaller dose.
This information was a big reward for Shu. He resigned from the science and technology association without hesitation and established a snake bite wound prevention research centre.
Short of research funds, he took out his book remuneration and sold some of his own belongings. He asked his daughter to work as his experiment assistant and his wife to take charge of clinical verification.
Shu also solicited donations of equipment.
In 1995, Shu finished his second-stage clinical research of the "Qinglong" snake bite medicine.
In 1996, the PLA Air Force officially authorized the application of this medicine among the pilots.
Never satisfied with his achievements, Shu still has high aspirations in treating snake bites.
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