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Old patent medicines being analysed; no snake oil found so far ;)
Posted: 08 April 2013 08:33 AM   [ Ignore ]
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22065078

The long-lost secrets of “patent medicines” - products that claimed health benefits in the era prior to regulation - are being revealed.

Scientists reporting at the American Chemical Society meeting have examined the contents of dozens of century-old remedies held at a US museum.

Some contained high levels of “helpful” elements such as iron or calcium, while others contained arsenic or mercury.

The exact recipes are still to be determined by the ongoing project.

Mark Benvenuto of the University of Detroit Mercy was approached by staff of the Henry Ford Museum, which houses a vast archive of patent medicines.

“They were able to determine from the boxes what the materials were supposed to be, and from old newspapers how much they cost and what they were suppposed to cure,” Dr Benvenuto told the meeting.

“But they didn’t know what the materials were actually composed of.”

More at the link.

I’m surprised it has taken this long for someone to actually find out what these old remedies contained.

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Posted: 09 April 2013 03:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Most of the ones that weren’t ourtight toxic actually had high amounts of alcohol, cocaine, or opium… or all three. So yes, you’re gonna feel great after taking them…

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Posted: 12 April 2013 01:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I wonder if they are thinking of testing them on rats or something.  Might be an interesting and educational experiment.

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Posted: 12 April 2013 03:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Maybe not ‘snake oil’ but I’m pretty sure snake wine was (since it still is) available:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snake_wine

Snake wine (蛇酒, pinyin: shéjiǔ; rượu rắn in Vietnamese) is an alcoholic beverage produced by infusing whole snakes in rice wine or grain alcohol. The drink was first recorded to have been consumed in China during the Western Zhou dynasty and considered an important curative and believed to reinvigorate a person according to Traditional Chinese medicine.[1] It can be found in China, Vietnam and throughout Southeast Asia.

The snakes, preferably venomous ones, are not usually preserved for their meat but to have their “essence” and snake venom dissolved in the liquor. However, the snake venom is denatured by the ethanol; its proteins are unfolded and therefore inactive.

The Huaxi street night market (華西街夜市) of Taipei, Taiwan, is renowned for its snake foods and wine products.

There are two varieties of snake wine:

  Steeped: A large venomous snake can be placed into a glass jar of rice wine, sometimes with smaller snakes and medicinal herbs and left to steep for many months. The wine is drunk as a restorative in small shots or cups.
  Mixed: Body fluids of snake are mixed into wine and consumed immediately in the form of a shot. Snake blood wine is prepared by slicing a snake along its belly and draining its blood directly into the drinking vessel filled with rice wine or grain alcohol. Snake bile wine is done through a similar method by using the contents of the gall bladder.


http://science.education.nih.gov/animalresearch.nsf/Story1/Making+Medicines+from+Poisonous+Snakes :  Snake venom from the Office of Science Edulation.

In fact, there are already two drugs on the market that are based on snake venom proteins and are used to prevent heart attacks. One drug, called eptifibatide, is a modified rattlesnake venom protein. The other is called tirofiban and is based on a venom protein from the African saw-scaled viper. Both drugs have been used since 1998 to treat people having minor heart attacks or those with chest pain indicating they are likely to suffer a heart attack.

So, I guess ‘snake oil’ can be a good thing?

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Posted: 13 April 2013 09:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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hulitoons - 12 April 2013 03:02 PM

Maybe not ‘snake oil’ but I’m pretty sure snake wine was (since it still is) available:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snake_wine

Snake wine (蛇酒, pinyin: shéjiǔ; rượu rắn in Vietnamese) is an alcoholic beverage produced by infusing whole snakes in rice wine or grain alcohol. The drink was first recorded to have been consumed in China during the Western Zhou dynasty and considered an important curative and believed to reinvigorate a person according to Traditional Chinese medicine.[1] It can be found in China, Vietnam and throughout Southeast Asia.

The snakes, preferably venomous ones, are not usually preserved for their meat but to have their “essence” and snake venom dissolved in the liquor. However, the snake venom is denatured by the ethanol; its proteins are unfolded and therefore inactive.

The Huaxi street night market (華西街夜市) of Taipei, Taiwan, is renowned for its snake foods and wine products.

There are two varieties of snake wine:

  Steeped: A large venomous snake can be placed into a glass jar of rice wine, sometimes with smaller snakes and medicinal herbs and left to steep for many months. The wine is drunk as a restorative in small shots or cups.
  Mixed: Body fluids of snake are mixed into wine and consumed immediately in the form of a shot. Snake blood wine is prepared by slicing a snake along its belly and draining its blood directly into the drinking vessel filled with rice wine or grain alcohol. Snake bile wine is done through a similar method by using the contents of the gall bladder.

Actually when I was in Okinawa last spring my daughter and I went thru a brewery where they were making Habu Saki.  Saki is basically rice wine but they catch and use Habu snakes in the process.  Habu are extremely poisonous snakes found all over Okinawa.  You can buy bottles of the stuff with the snake in the bottom like the worm in tequila.  I have a picture somewhere of a vat of wine with a bunch of snakes in the bottom.  I’ll see if I can find it and post it here.

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Posted: 13 April 2013 01:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Gray, you’re as good with your blog and website as I am with mine.  I think your last, most recent entry was more than a year ago HA!  May I ask whether being a flight-simulator is as much fun as really flying?  Do you simulate particularly odd or dangerous scenarios?

I would like to see the snake in the saki….I have heard about this and while I have had saki, and it does taste like venom (to me), I am hopeful it was NOT really even partly venom…...........

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Posted: 14 April 2013 09:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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hulitoons - 13 April 2013 01:19 PM

Gray, you’re as good with your blog and website as I am with mine.  I think your last, most recent entry was more than a year ago HA!  May I ask whether being a flight-simulator is as much fun as really flying?  Do you simulate particularly odd or dangerous scenarios?

I would like to see the snake in the saki….I have heard about this and while I have had saki, and it does taste like venom (to me), I am hopeful it was NOT really even partly venom…...........

I have fixed the situation with the blog Huli.  smile 

A ride in the simulator is every bit as fun as actually flying and most cases more fun.  While the sim is modeled to react in every respect like a real aircraft you can do things in it that you can’t get away with in a real aircraft.  Which is mainly why they use the sim for training.  The instructor can input a malfunction on any system so the pilots can practice their drills.  Not sure I would want to fail an engine at 38,000 ft in a real plane.  In the sim it’s easy and a lot safer.  We can do things like flying under a bridge, landing on water, inverted flying, etc.  All things that the real aircraft cant’ do or would be extremely unlikely to do.  So it makes the job a lot of fun sometimes.

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Posted: 14 April 2013 10:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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hulitoons - 13 April 2013 01:19 PM

Gray, you’re as good with your blog and website as I am with mine.  I think your last, most recent entry was more than a year ago HA!  May I ask whether being a flight-simulator is as much fun as really flying?  Do you simulate particularly odd or dangerous scenarios?

I would like to see the snake in the saki….I have heard about this and while I have had saki, and it does taste like venom (to me), I am hopeful it was NOT really even partly venom…...........

I found the pic Huli,  Imagine the taste of this stuff. 
link to picture

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Posted: 14 April 2013 01:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Love the snakes in that vat…............hopefully dead.  And the idea of doing amazing-safe stuff while ‘flying’ WOULD indeed be fun BUT I’d rather the night dive you’re going to be doing in Hawaii sounds like a once in a lifetime event I would REALLY like to do!!!

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