Snake venom as therapeutic agents: from toxin to drug development

Indian J Exp Biol. 2002 Dec;40(12):1353-8.


Snake bite injuries and death are socio-medical problems of considerable magnitude. In India a large number of people suffer and die every year due to snake venom poisoning. Snake venom, though greatly feared, is a natural biological resource, containing several components that could be of potential therapeutic value. Use of snake venom in different pathophysiological conditions has been mentioned in Ayurveda, homeopathy and folk medicine. It is well known that snake venom is complex mixture of enzymes, peptides and proteins of low molecular mass with specific chemical and biological activities. Snake venom contains several neurotoxic, cardiotoxic, cytotoxic, nerve growth factor, lectins, disintrigrins, haemorrhagins and many other different enzymes. These proteins not only inflict death to animals and humans, but can also be used for the treatment of thrombosis, arthritis, cancer and many other diseases. An overview of various snake venom components that have prospects in health and diseases are discussed in this review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Snake Bites / drug therapy*
  • Snake Venoms / therapeutic use*


  • Snake Venoms