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Why a Pharma company called another, “Snake Oil Salesman”!

a pharma company called another, “Snake Oil Salesman”! meaning? people who sell (or promote) fraudulent cures : aka QUACKERY! But why call it “SNAKE OIL”? With the Chinese blue-collar immigrants in the US, came the traditional Chinese water snake oil (treatment for arthritis & bursitis). But how did this legitimate cure become a symbol for fraud?

It all starts in the mid-19th century, when Clark Stanley sold the “Cure-All elixir” under the name of “Stanley’s Snake Oil” in America. In his road shows, he tore open a Rattlesnake & plunged it into boiling water. The snake-fat rose to the surface- “The elixir” he learned to make from Hopi medicine men! He got Pretty Popular! Pretty fast! However, the catch was that this remedy could be made only from the Omega-3 acid rich Chinese water snakes & was ineffective when made from Rattlesnakes. Also, later tests revealed that the “Rattlesnake King’s” potion did not contain snake oil at all! It had mineral oil, beef fat, red pepper & turpentine; & 100’s of consumers discovered that they had been taken for ride! | It was around then that it became a symbol for fraud & songs were written about sellers of snake oil balm & snake-oil ointment for bad burns. What happened to Stanley when it was found that his whole empire was a lie? | He was fined $20 for violating the food & drug act and for "misbranding" his product as a remedy for all pain!


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