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Snake Oil Sails Across the Pacific

   01 Jan 00:00:00   |  ilovehistory

Snake oil salesmen and traveling doctors became archetypal characters in American Western movies, in which they pedaled bottles of ‘useless’ rattlesnake oil as placebos and panaceas to ailed, ill, and often desperate people. But the snake oil used in ancient Chinese folk remedies had been used to successfully treat joint pain such as arthritis, bursitis, and other joint pains for almost 3000 years. How and when, then, did the effective traditional Chinese cure lose its medicinal properties?

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