Made from the oil of the Chinese water snake, which is rich in the omega-3 acids that help reduce inflammation, snake oil in its original form was effective, especially when used to treat arthritis and bursitis.
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How did a legitimate medicine become a symbol of fraud?
Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 2:01 pm
"Snake Oil Salesman." The phrase conjures up images of seedy profiteers trying to exploit an unsuspecting public by selling it fake cures. In fact, the Oxford English Dictionary defines snake oil as "a quack remedy or panacea." What the OED does not note, however, is that the history of snake oil is linked to an often forgotten chapter of Asian-American history.
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