How about a bit of Snake oil?
People will probably laugh at you as the name has a bad reputation. Going back to the times of the old west days, you would find 19th-century salesman selling snake oil. Their claims were big, as it was said to be good for about every ailment existing in the world. They would travel up and down the country, visiting the fairs and markets trying to make the curious onlooker buy this ointment or tincture.
Often a trick would be used to convince the public, as suddenly, somebody from the crowd would loudly proclaim he or she had been cured before by this wonder medicine. After selling off his stock of little flasks, the peddler would soon disappear over the horizon well before the people realized that his medicine was useless.
Soon the name snake oil acquired a negative connotation as more and more people spread the word that this was a real fake and warned to not spend one’s money on.
The Transcontinental Railroad
We have to go back a little in history to the times where the Transcontinental Railroad was being built in the mid-1800s. People working there suffered long hours and physical hard times and often after such a day of strenuous labor, the whole body would ache. When Chinese laborers (imported immigrants) came to help to build this railroad, it is very possible they offered their comrades in toil one of their ancient remedies, you guessed it, snake oil. It was thanks to these Chinese workers that the project got over the Sierra Nevada.
What happened, later on, is one of those human things. Wanting to make money, adulterated or even complete fake imitations came on the market. Slowly but surely snake oil lost its good name. It merely lived on as an expression to indicate fraud and cheating.
Let food be thy medicine
Chinese medicine has a completely different approach to illness as compared to western medicine. Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food, the saying of Hippocrates is also followed by many Chinese. The principle of Yin and Yang, the keeping of the balance through food is something we here in the west do not really believe in. We rather run to the doctor to get some kind of pill prescribed which, often at its best, will take the ailment away but does not address the root cause, namely an imbalance of the system. If we are lucky we will not suffer side effects.
The Chinese name for Snake oil is “Sheyou” and it was used as a remedy for inflammation, pain in the joints, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, and similar conditions. Snake oil is still being used in China today. When one knows that the fat of the Chinese water snake contains the highest amounts of eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA which has inflammation reducing properties, it is well worthwhile to not discard it, even if the name has a bad rap.
The habitat of the water snake
The Chinese water snake, also called the Chinese Mud Snake, or Chinese Paddy Snake can be found in a vast area. They live in southern China from south-central China’s East Hill and Plain. One can also find this species in Vietnam and on the continental islands of Taiwan. It lives well, between sea level up to 200m but in Vietnam, it can live at a height from 900 to 1100m. There seem to be a lot of them, even if they are caught for food and their skin, so this species is not on the list of endangered species yet.
The health benefits are numerous when using an authentic snake oil product. You have to be sure of its source to be able to have these improvements with a whole array of ailments. Chronic pain, dementia, weak immune system, cardiovascular problems, joint pain to just name a few.
Not all that has a bad name has to be bad as now modern science starts showing. Often remedies used for thousands of years are rediscovered with astonishing results. I am happy to read that this snake is not on the list for endangered species because if that were the case I think I would not write about as I would not like to contribute to the hunting of this snake. There you see, Mother Nature provides for all our ailments but the first thing we have to do is eat healthy food so that only in a few occasion we might grab the bottle of snake oil.
Photo Source: Pixabay
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