It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
There's snake oil, and then there's snake oil.
When you hear the term "snake oil" you probably think of fake medicine.
First, There Really Is Such a Thing as Snake Oil
It has been used as a pain remedy for hundreds of years.
The original snake oil came from Chinese water snakes and was used in China as a treatment for arthritis, bursitis, and other joint pains. It is believed to have been brought to North America during the Gold Rush in the mid-1800s. The oil, which was really fat that was taken from the snakes, was actually studied in the 1980s and found to be full of omega-3 fatty acids. Of course, we know omega-3 fatty acids are prescribed today to reduce inflammation (which can lead to arthritis), reduce blood pressure and more.
Snake oil really is a cure for what ails you, if that happens to be arthritis, heart disease or maybe even depression
Kunin visited San Francisco's Chinatown to buy such snake oil and analyze it. He also acquired two live rattlesnakes and extracted their fat sacks. According to his 1989 analysis published in the Western Journal of Medicine, Chinese water-snake oil contains 20 percent eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), one of the two types of omega-3 fatty acids most readily used by our bodies. In comparison, the rattlesnakes had only 8.5 percent EPA. And salmon, one of the most popular food sources of omega-3's, contains a maximum of 18 percent EPA, lower than that of snake oil.
Research since the 1980s has demonstrated the necessity—and efficacy—of omega-3 fatty acids. These acids not only reduce inflammation, such as arthritis pain, but also improve cognitive function and reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and even depression.
The use of snake oil long predates the 18th and 19th centuries in China and the Eastern world, where oil made from fat extracted from the Chinese water snake (Enhydris chinensis) is a traditional liniment used for treating joint pain. Chinese water-snake oil contains 20 percent eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which has strong analgetic and anti-inflammatory properties.
The answer to this problem lies in the fact that in the late 19th century Americans stopped using the traditional Chinese snake oil and began taking oil from the readily available American rattlesnake.