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Unraveling the myths and charms of snakes

Updated: 2013-02-06 09:59

Every snake part is useful

Unraveling the myths and charms of snakes

Every part of a snake is useful. Using snakes as medicine has a long history in China and is recorded in detail in many ancient classics of Chinese traditional medicine, including Compendium of Materia Medica by Li Shizhen. The book narrated 17 kinds of snake medicines, most of which about the flesh of a snake.

Fresh snake flesh has a better potency than dried. The flesh of snakes, such as cobras, kraits, vipers, Ptyas korros, Zaocys, etc., can effectively cure rheumatic arthritis, leprosy, ringworm, diabetes, acute poliomyelitis and its sequela, heat rash and so on.

Snake slough mainly heals dysentery, sore throat, scabies, slight corneal opacity, etc.

Meanwhile, snake gall can clear internal heat, relieve cough and canker.

The penis of snake can be used to produce adult health products as it has many functions such as invigorating the kidney and notifying Yang, which offers an efficient treatment to asynodia, deficiency of kidney, tinnitus, chronicorchitis and so on. When used with other Chinese traditional medicines, it has a better effect in curing the infertility caused by low and bad quantity semen.

Besides, snake oil is widely used in cosmetics. According to the record of Compendium of Materia Medica, snake oil has strong permeability and can reduce swelling. So snake oil is commonly used to heal chilblains, scald, chroniceczema and skin chaps. The medical college of Zhejiang University has developed snake oil cream, which is quite efficient in curing many skin problems.

Snake wine has a long history in China. Wine can fully dissolve snake and make it easier to preserve. Usually people put 500g of live snake in 4,000ml white spirits to make snake wine and once dissolved, the snake venom will lose its toxicity. The snake wine has been proved to be very beneficial to health. It is said that Li Longji, an emperor of Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), was so obsessed with sex that he became very weak and sick. So the physicians recommended he drink snake wine and Li soon recovered and became energetic again. In fact, the snake wine is also quite effective in boosting immunity, stimulating appetite, relieving muscle fatigue and refreshing.

Fetal snake, which refers to snakes just hatched from eggs, has extremely high medical value.

The snakeskin is quite useful in many aspects. For example, snakeskin is widely used in producing leather bags, belt, necktie and watch band as the snakeskin is soft and light and its natural pattern is beautiful. China was the first country that used snakeskin to make instruments, such as urheen.

As for the snake venom, it was regarded as extremely deadly and dangerous at first. But in recent decades, people have discovered the usefulness of snake venom. The venom, composed of complicated proteins and enzymes, can effectively ease pain and works well against cancer.

Even the guts of snake are popular with farmers as it can be used as fine fodders for fish.