PICKLED SNAKES. The Quiapo street market is arguably the most fascinating in Manila. The streets surrounding Quiapo Church are crowded with stalls of herbal medicines which vendors claim to cure anything from baldness to erectile dysfunction. These folk remedies are sold along side with religious statues, bronze-cast anting-anting, and multi-colored candles.
While walking along Carriedo Street, we came across a solitary vendor of mysterious-looking brews in bottles. Upon closer look, we discovered that the bottles contain venomous snakes pickled in rice wine.
MEDICINAL BENEFITS. Followers of traditional Chinese medicine have long believed that animals and their tissue parts have potent curative properties. Although snake meat is not considered as a common food for humans, some cultures believe that snakes tissues are supposed to boost one’s vitality.
The snake as it is prepared as alternative medicine comes in various forms. Snake oil are considered as remedy for alleviating pain and inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis and other joint problems as well as skin allergies and diseases. Powdered snake gall bladder is reputed to be a cure for bronchitis. Drinking cobra blood is believed to increase sexual virility.
CURE-ALL. In Quiapo, snake wine is advertised as a cure-all remedy from diabetes to sexual dysfunction. The concoction consists of rice wine infused with venomous snakes like the cobra. Some bottles have ginseng root, a known aphrodisiac.
Also displayed in the make-shift stall were dried snake skin and meat as well as skeleton. We just hope that the production and sale of endangered species like the cobra are properly regulated.