How To: Make the Medicinal Aphrodisiac Snake Wine

Make the Medicinal Aphrodisiac Snake Wine

Herbalists have been prescribing snake wine to patients for centuries. It is said to cure everything from a low libido to back pain. Don't bother flying to Vietnam to buy a bottle in Ho Chi Minh City for $25. Make your own.

Snake wine is made by trapping a small cobra in a bottle and drowning it in rice wine. The dead snake then ferments in the wine releasing chemicals that transform the alcohol into a mystic tonic. Whether the tonic actually does anything more than get you buzzed is up in the air.

Image via Choo Tse Chen 2005

Origins

Chinese healers have used snakes to treat ailments for centuries. Their logic did not follow the same rigors of modern Western medicine, but their conclusions have serendipitously matched up. Ancient healers prescribed cobra venom to help patients suffering from arthritis. The thought was if a snake's body is flexible, this property could be bestowed upon a less flexible person if they ingested the snake.

"Among the earliest recorded use of snakes in Chinese medicine was the application of sloughed snake skin, described in the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing (ca. 100 A.D.) It was originally applied in the treatment of superficial diseases, including skin eruptions, eye infections or opacities, sore throat, and hemorrhoids. The use of snake gallbladder is first recorded in Ming Yi Bie Lu (Transactions of Famous Physicians; compiled by Tao Hongjing, and written around 520 A.D.), which was an update of the Shen Nong herbal with double the number of ingredients. In addition to the gallbladder, the skin (fanpi) and the meat of a pit viper (Agkistrodon halys; fanshe), were also described. They were used to treat skin diseases, pain, and intestinal hemorrhage.

Other species of snakes were also mentioned in the medical literature: zaocys, the non-toxic black-striped snake (wushaoshe) was described in Yao Xing Ben Cao by Zhen Quan (ca. 600 A.D.), and the toxic white-patterned pit viper, agkistrodon (A. acutus, baihuashe or qishe) was described in Kai Bao Ben Cao by Mai Zhi in 973 A.D. Among the earliest records of using snakes for food come from the Tang Dynasty (618–907 A.D.), including the meat of pythons and pit vipers. It is likely that the more widespread use of snakes for food and medicine during the Tang period derived from the Indian culture. The Tang Dynasty period is especially known for its willingness to accept foreign influences, including those from India and Arabia (in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, many animal substances were used as medicine)."

Science?

ACE inhibitors developed to treat high blood pressure and other cardiovascular disorders using the venom of a Brazilian snake. A study cooperative from Texas A&M University with Yale University School of Medicine identified elements of snake venom that could slow cancer growth. The venom seems to attack and kill the blood supply to cells that enable tumor growth.

"Woods's group has found a compound in snake venom that disrupts endothelial cells, which line the inner surface of blood vessels. 'It causes the cells to separate from one another, which kills them,' Woods said. 'When that happens, the function of the blood vessel is inhibited, preventing or at least interfering with blood flow to the tumor {effectively starving it of nutrients}.'"

Unlike chemotherapy which destroys both good and bad cells, venom impacts specific targets.

Fraud

Snake oil salesman. It is an age old expression. A metaphor for the corrupt and deceptive practice of pawning off false hope for profit. Regardless of the historic relevance or studies from top universities the medicinal value of snake based tonics is to be determined. It is not a replacement for any physician recommendations and should not supplement for any prescriptions.

Buying Your Snakes

All I know about the exotic reptile trade I learned from the legendary blockbuster Snakes on a Plane starring Samuel L. Jackson. It's a hard trade. Might be easier to score PCP, a Russian wife or a dozen AKs. But that won't get your libido back will it.

First try your local pet store. Then go online (here and here are good places to start). The ideal snake for your tonic is a cobra. It is both venomous and really cool looking. Unfortunately, Google's results are riddled with apparel, fast cars and hipster photogs instead of reptiles.

Handling Cobras

Cobras are very cool beasts. The King Cobra (ohiophagus hannah) are the longest venomous snakes in the world. Cobras are the only snake that can spit its venom. A cobra's bite can inject enough venom to kill an elephant. Cobras are worshipped in Hindu and Buddhist religions.

Steeped vs Blended

There are two kinds of snake wine. Steeped is made using a whole live snake drown in rice wine to ferment for several months. Blended requires dissecting the snake before combining with the rice wine. Blended snake wine emphasizes the use of the snake's gallbladder and heart in the tonic. Blended wine has a pinkish hue from the blood and innards, while the steeped wine is a more golden color.

  • Steeped: A large venomous snake can be placed into a glass jar of rice wine, often with many smaller snakes, turtles, insects, or birds, 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 into a mixing vat with rice wine or grain alcohol. Snake bile wine is done through a similar method by using the contents of the gall bladder.

Blended: Step by Step

Step 1: Ingredients

If anything makes this exotic tonic inaccessible, it is the ingredients. First you'll need basic ingredients of gloves, knife, alcohol cleaning solution, hook for handling a live cobra, funnel, corked glass bottle, and rice wine. The live snake is the toughest of all.

Step 2: Kill Snake

Trap the snake's head under your shoe. Hold its tail in your hand and stretch the snake out. Watch out that it doesn't get a bite out of you. That would probably ruin your winemaking experience. And snake wine doesn't do much for snake bites. Ironic, we know. Cut small slits at the head and tail. Rinse the

Step 3: Gut Snake

Slice the snake from head to tail and remove its innards.

Step 4: Clean Snake

Rinse the inside of the snake with the cleaning alcohol solution.

Step 5: Get Snake into Bottle

Place the snake in the bottle. Cork the bottle, as the snake will still be wriggling. Get the wine and funnel in place.

Step 6: Add Some Heart

Find the snake's heart and separate from rest of innards. Place in jar with snake.

Step 7: Fill Bottle

Repeat with more snakes until the jar is 2/3 full.

Step 8: Add Wine

Fill jar with rice wine, cork and let it ferment for at least 3 months.

Step 9: Arrangement

Many of you will choose to keep your snake wine bottles corked for life. No need to drink the tonic. Keep them simply as tokens of your cosmopolitan taste. What better way to show off your travels than replacing provincial decor with a mantle of jarred cobras?

Step 10: Garnish & Decorate

Garnish wine with scorpions, lizards and herbs.

Legend & Lore

Legend says snake wine can last as long as 500 years. The longer it ferments, the more potent its medicinal properties become. Snake wine is used in China, Vietnam, Fuji and other Asian and Pacific Island countries. The bottles are labeled with stories of the snake and the mysticism that accompanies its medicinal properties. Bottles we obtained from Vietnam were labeled in English like an over-the-counter medicine sans any warnings or customer service contacts. Claims said that a spoonful a day (ingested ad infinitum) would cure hair-loss, libido and back pain.

Steeped

Steeped snake wine is much easier to make than blended. The only catch is you cannot just kill the snake. You must juggle the venomous reptile, coercing it into the bottle while it is still alive. Get the snake into the bottle and you are almost done.

Law, Warnings and Cautions

Import is restricted. FDA requires papers on any imports of snake medicines.

Ingesting wild animals and their innards is not like popping Tylenol or sipping Fiji water. It is risky. And it is wholly unregulated. Practice caution.

Before handling snakes, do some research. Watch this video on snake handling. Anytime you deal with a venomous snake like a cobra make sure you have anti-venom on hand.

3 Comments

Hi, sorry i found this post on Google, and I already got the wine from Buy-snake-wine shop but i am now looking for wine or liquor with tarantula or other creatures, do you know where to find ? Thanks a lot.

to buy snake wine please visit my site. I have a store in USA. bestsnakewine.com thanks

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