On Snake Oil

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The term “snake oil” gets used as a way to denigrate any and all healing modalities, remedies, and treatments that do not enrich Big Pharma and the medical mafia. Its original meaning, however, had to do with legitimate science that pre-dates the modern era of commercialized medicine, a far cry from its origins in ancient times. While we value much of modern medicine’s great achievements, we find their typical narrowly focused, mechanistic and atomistic approach misses a lot of what really goes on in the body and mind for lack of a holistic understanding. Hopefully Elixa’s broad view and multifactorial perspective can help non-technical people use simple tools and technique to heal themselves on their own terms and stay vital throughout their long and happy lives.

“Snake oil originally came from China where it had a long history of use for inflammation and pain in rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, etc. by rubbing on the skin. Chinese laborers brought it to the US for treating the pains from building the railroads and then gave it to Europeans. US Patent medicine promoters ridiculed the claim and it has had the stigma ever since. But in 1989, a sample of oil from the Chinese water snake obtained from San Francisco’s Chinatown was analyzed and found to be composed of over 20% of the omega 3 derivative, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). EPAs are absorbed through the skin and are the parent of the series 3 prostaglandins
which inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory series 2 prostaglandins. At
20% EPA, Chinese water snake oil is, therefore, the richest known source of EPA!” 

Excerpted from the book, FATS THAT HEAL, FATS THAT KILL, by Udo Erasmus, 1986, 1993; Alive Books, Burnaby BC, Canada ISBN 0-920470-38-6 (pbk).
Probably the best in-depth overview of the healthy fat issue (the omega 3, 6 balance) in print (VERY well referenced). Dr. Erasmus is the developer of the famous oil supplement “Udo’s Choice” and “the Missing Link.” Visit his site at

Check out Elixa’s Facebook page (Elixahealth) for the occasional, often enlightening and amusing post about ways you can keep yourself optimally healthy, happy, and long-lived without pharmaceuticals and bad advice from uninformed medical professionals.

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