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Brown Recluse Spider Bites – A Cure by Dr. Kenneth Burton

Updated on June 9, 2015

Brown Recluse Spider

Brown Recluse Spider Bites – A Cure?

by Roy Blizzard III

The Brown Recluse is a very dangerous Spider that is found all over the southern United States. It is an unassuming spider and by all appearance rather drab. It is quite different from its glossy black relative the Black Widow. It has a distinct violin shaped mark on its back. The base of the violin is by the eyes and the neck of the violin is pointing towards its tail end. They get about the size of a quarter when full grown and prefer log piles and dark areas to nest in. They are often found lurking around out of the way areas in homes such as garage storage areas, laundry rooms, closets, decks and such. In my work in construction in the Austin,Texas areas I see them only very infrequently.

You may not know you are even bitten as the bite is not painful for quite some time and most brown recluse spiders bites do not result in necrosis, but to those that do there is something that can be done without the major surgury most Physicians attempt. I have been friends with Dr. Kenneth Burton who has been a physician in the San Antonio, Texas area for many years. He has been in active practice since June, 1951. He served in the United States Air Force as a Flight Surgeon and General Medicine Officer and was assigned to Air Force One during the last year of President Truman’s term and during the term of President Eisenhower.

All the way back in the mid 1980’s he told me about the following cure that he was using at his practice. Whenever a patient would come to his office with a definitive Brown Recluse bite (they had the spider with them) or after he was able to diagnose it, he would treat them with a Nitroglycerin patch.

The way he came to understand this was described to me in the following manner. He told me, “Roy I was seeing a patient who had a bite on his arm and I was looking at it under my scope. I looked at it and then raised up. It was then that I felt that God was telling me to take another look at it, so I did. When I looked at the bite again I suddenly saw the vessels spasming, constricting from the poison. I thought OK, Hmm. It is a vasoconstrictor, what I need is a vasodialator. A nitroglycerin patch!” Dr. Burton told me that if he hadn’t looked at exactly when he did at the bite he might never have seen it spasming and he never would the idea have come into his brain to try the nitroglycerin patch.

He used this treatment for several years and finally wrote it up in the New England Medical Journal. However, most Doctors have never even heard of this treatment. Here is a link to his writings on exactly what he did to treat this potentially very destructive bite.

Dr. Burton told me as well that it would probably be possible to treat this bite with something as simple as a liniment or something like Ben-Gay or HEET as they are all vasodialators. I don’t know if that would work as I’ve never had reason to try it, but it may be worth studying.

Since first writing this article, there have been two individuals who have written me and let me know this treatment worked exactly as Dr. Burton said it would, saving them money and a lot of pain.

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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I was bitten on a Friday, couldn't see my doctor till Mon., and didn't have access to patches. So l got some Nitroglycerin tablets from my father-in-law. I cleaned a saucer and spoon with alcohol and crushed the tiny pill into a poweder. I took my bandage and put my Neosporin in the center of it. I turned the bandage upsidedown and dipped the sticky ointment in the crushed pill powder.

      I cleaned the bite with alcohol and let it dry and placed the powder covered ointment glob directly on the small ulcer that had formed from the bite.

      I did this Fri, Sat. & Sun. The first day, Sat., l had yellow drainage on the bandage when l removed it. The bite was open but pink, not grey. I took this as a good sign. Every day after, the ulcer looked smaller. My doctor was perplxed but said it's up to you, l can't tell you not to do it. I continued with it, took my antibiotics and switched to the cream he gave and the crushed pills and it healed just fine! THANK YOU FOR SHARING THIS INFO!!!

    • royblizzard profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Austin / Leander, Texas

      Stefanie Vargas, I'm glad I could help. I wouldn't always recommend this for a true venom like the black widow as it is a different type of toxin. For a true venom I use electro-shock from a car ignition or stun gun to effectively render the venom harmless.

    • Stefanie Vargas profile image

      Stefanie Vargas 

      3 years ago

      I was in Kansas for my Sons college graduation. On the way home in the Dallas airport I felt a twinge in my arm. It was a huge red circle. Yes I was bitten by a recluse. I had a jacket on from his closet in Kansas. I was terrified thinking I would have the big hole in my arm. Started looking online for anything to help. I found this article, went and bought Bengay cream. By then I had a huge blister next to the bite. Applied the Bengay, and within 24 it was healing like a miracle. I have a pea size scar .I also told someone who was bit by a black widow who did the same and was healed also. Thank you so much

    • profile image

      Brenda Burton 

      4 years ago

      Thank you Roy Blizzard for posting this article about my father. The treatment works and I'm hoping the treatment gets out and becomes common knowledge. Thank you, again!

    • royblizzard profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Austin / Leander, Texas

      Ronaldo, Dr. Burton told me that yes it could work. He just chose Nitro because he was a Dr.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      So Bengay works?

    • profile image

      Ed Jackson 

      5 years ago

      I discovered Dr Burton several years ago when I was bitten by a recluse. I convinced my doc to try his nitro treatment, which worked beautifully.

      I chronicled my treatment from beginning to cure, complete with pictures. From bite to 99% healed was 54 days.

    • frogyfish profile image


      6 years ago from Central United States of America

      I 'accidently' found your amazing article and your information is astounding. Regretfully, the patch cure will not be 'advertised' because of the 'no money'deal...but I think it is fantastic!!

      I do have personal experience using electricity on known recluse bites but your method is much simpler. And I did click three of the goodies above for your article...wonderful news! Thank you for sharing.

      I must link your article to mine, assuming you would give permission.

      We need to let people know...the little nasty things are all over the place in my part of the country right now.

    • royblizzard profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Austin / Leander, Texas

      Brent, Thank you for writing. Your letter makes two that I've gotten since I wrote this article and both were very positive responses just as Dr. Burton claimed they would be. The first letter was from a man who had been bitten near the groin so you can imagine how bad it would have been.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I was first bitten by what I believe to be a brown recluse two weeks ago. I paid little attention at first, as I live in Texas, and we have all types of bugs that bite. During this time, the swollen affected area, which had grown to two inches in diameter near my knee, began to deaden in the center with the outer perimeter being a blue/purple color. This was pretty sick, but what can a person do? It throbbed. I had taken a total of three antibiotic pills over a two day period, then read this article and applied a generous amount of Ben-Gay and wrapped it with a cloth bandage purchased at the store. Fast forward 24 hours and it is almost completely healed. Swelling, pain and cramps, discolored skin is gone. There is no hole as I had expected. I still can't believe it. Thank you for publishing this article.

    • royblizzard profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Austin / Leander, Texas

      Very true ruffridyer. Many people are like Lemmings. If a man in a white coat told them to jump off a cliff they'd do it. People love to abrogate their responsibility to anyone else.

    • profile image


      9 years ago from Dayton, ohio

      There are many cures for various afflictions the are never used because of ignorance, just not knowing about them, or because other methods make more money. Sad but true.

    • ladyt11 profile image


      9 years ago

      Very interesting hub and good information to know!


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