Snake oil has been around for quite a long time. It seems that its beneficial medicinal properties are indisputable. I wonder if it is human ignorance that makes us joke about it and dismiss it in its entirely as medical quakery.Gray Cloud quoting Steven Earle - 'It's called Snake Oil, y'all and it's been around for a very long time'.
Snake Mother Medicine
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/olympus ... den11.html
Study of the structure of shed snake skins which are used as model membranes for medical applicationsI’ve been looking for a particular angle that gives me a place to put this information on the web; I’d been planning a page on “The Return of the Snake Oil Salesman" for some time, and I may eventually do such a thing nonetheless... but it occurs to me that it may well be appropriate to deal with many of those concerns here.
The story of my personal involvement is as follows: Longevity magazine ran an article about a discovery that the enzyme Phosopholipase A-2 was found to play a role in some painful and degenerative back problems.
According to Richard A. Kunin, M.D., of San Francisco, snake oil’s modern symbolism as the epitome of quakery may be totally inappropriate. The snake not only has a multi-millenium tradition within the medical profession, it is part of the medical emblem still in use today- snakes encircling the staff of life. Over the last hundred years, the term snake oil has come to represent the best example of a worthless cure. Chemical analysis of snake oil sample, however, reveals that some have significant levels of polyunsaturated fats which serve as precursors to anti-inflammatory prostaglandin hormones. Chinese commercial snake oil contained almost 20% EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid).
Dr. Junin speculated that cold-blooded reptiles would require higher-than-normal levels of unsaturated fats to maintain flexibility during the cold temperatures of the early morning. Fat profiles varied considerably. The American black rattlesnake had over 4% EPA and alsmost no DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Red rattlesnake oil was low in EP (less than 1%) but high in DHA (over 5%). Chinese snake oil and red rattlesnake oil were how in GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) and DGLA (dihomo-linolenic acid) while black ratlesnake oil contained 3.5% total GLA plus DGLA. Arachidonic acid, which can produce the anti-inflammatory prostaglandin PGE2, was highest in red rattlesnake oil (over 12%), median in black ratlesnake oil (under 5%), and lowest in Chinese snake oil (under 2.5%).
The branding of snake oil as quackery may have been premature. Even based on the likelihood of rancidity in the oxidation-sensitive polyunsaturate snake-oil, laws against the marketing of all snake oils unscientifically discriminate against those vendors who do know how to properly handle and preserve the essential fatty acids and those consumers who would have benefitted had the quality product been available.
http://hasyweb.desy.de/science/annual_r ... /21524.pdf
THE MEDICINAL USE OF SNAKES IN CHINAShed snake skin has been reported to have many advantages more than other natural skins. The permeability profiles through the shed snake skin closely matches that through human stratum corneum; it can be obtained without killing the animal; the variation in permeability was lower than that of cadaver and fresh human skin; it can be kept for months under refrigeration; it releases fewer interfering substances in analytical procedure. The behaviour of the shed snake skin is also very similar to that of human stratum corneum. There are two parallel permeation pathways: lipid and pore pathways in the shed snake skin as in human stratum corneum. The lipid content of the shed snake skin is nearly equal to the human stratum corneum.
Among the earliest recorded use of snakes in Chinese medicine was the application of sloughed snake skin, described in the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing (ca. 100 A.D.) It was originally applied in the treatment of superficial diseases, including skin eruptions, eye infections or opacities, sore throat, and hemorrhoids. In addition to the gallbladder, the skin and the meat of a pit viper were also described. They were used to treat skin diseases, pain, and intestinal hemorrhage.
There are at least three features of snakes that capture the attention of traditional healers: they have an incredible flexibility and speed, they shed their skin, and certain snakes are extremely poisonous when they bite.
The flexibility of snakes has suggested that they might be helpful in the treatment of stiffness, for example, arthritis.
The fact that snakes shed their skin has suggested that they have a regenerative quality for treating chronic skin problems. As a result, snake skin and whole snake are used in the treatment of skin diseases. Snake skin is also considered useful in reducing clouding (nebula) of the cornea, the “skin” of the eyes.
Poisonous animals often cause paralysis when they bite and this is due to the presence of neurotoxins. They are then used medically by oral administration (which greatly reduces the toxicity) for the treatment of convulsions (by inhibiting intense muscle contractions). Also, some forms of paralysis are “tonic” in nature, that is, due to overcontraction of muscles, and in such cases the nerve toxins can overcome paralysis. Agkistrodon is a poisonous snake used for epilepsy and paralysis. Anti-convulsive activity is also ascribed to snake skin and cicada skin.
Snake bile has long been valued as a tonic, characterized as such by its sweet aftertaste. Snakes are also used in the treatment of cancer.