The "Famous French Method for the Bite of a Mad Dog" was a home remedy included in the 1734 work A Collection of Above Three Hundred Receipts in Cookery, Physick, and Surgery and, apparently, part of the fourth year Potions curriculum at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
- Gather equal quantities of Rue, Vervain, Sage, Plantain, Polypody, Common Wormwood, Mint, Motherwort, Balm, Betony, St John's-wort and Centaury leaves and tie them together in bundles, wrap them in paper and hang them in the shade.
- After they are dried up, "pound them" into a fine powder.
- Mix two to three drams of this powder with half a dram of powder of vipers-flesh in a glass of good white-wine and take it in morning fasting for fifty-two days together (the dose must be doubled if the bite is near the head or the face).
- Clean the wound not with sea water, as it is English practise, but with Camphirated Spirit or Spirit of Myrrh.
- If possible, take the liver of the dog, dry and powder it immediately, and mix three to six ounces of it with wine, syrup or any way you can get the patient to swallow it. Drink the mixture within twenty-four hours of the incident, if possible.
Behind the scenes
- The phrase "Mad dog" generally refers to an animal infected with rabies. The disease is highly transmissible to humans and is nearly always fatal. Though this home remedy method (at least in the real world) would not have been effective, modern medicine has developed vaccines that are highly effective in preventing the development of the disease if administered soon after infection.
- Such remedies were common and generally involved adding a part from the animal in question. The phrase "the hair of the dog that bit you" ie: taking a drink of alcohol to lessen the effects of a hangover, derives from such practices.