Norman Allan
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book one:

Norman Allan : the story for Ezra
book three: towards joy

chapter three:
"Dr. Allan's Medicine Show"

book two:


snake oil
"snake oil salesman"


Snake oil has traditional been used as a liniment for "musculoskeletal" (rheumatic and arthritic) pains. In China, grease from a water snake is used (see snake oil). In Europe grease from a viper was used, i read.

Among the Algonquin nations, Ojibwa Cree, north here above the lakes, bear grease is a specially prized liniment for all sorts of ailments, particularly musculoskeletal.

Given the above, it is not unlikely that peoples of the arid lands in the south west employed snake oil as a liniment





not researched


Famous among the patent medicines associated with "Medicine Shows" was Clark Stanley's Snake Oil Liniment. Wikisays that: "Stanley's snake oil — produced by Clark Stanley, the "Rattlesnake King" — was tested by the United States government in 1917. It was found to contain: mineral oil, 1% fatty oil (presumed to be beef fat), red pepper, turpentine, camphor." (Note: that while there is indeed heavy deception here, red pepper/cayenne is highly therapeutic, as is camphor. Oh! and turpentine!).

It is from this history that we get the term "snake oil salesman" for anyone selling bogus materials.

(Note, in passing, that in homeopathy there are several important snake remedies, and these include the rattle snake/Crataegus.)


  I was reading Terry pratchett's "The Wee Free Men" and read of "Granny's own recipes for sheep cures stuck out all ober the book. Mostly they involved turpentine, but some included cussin'."
   So I googled, andf wikisays "Turpentine ... used medicinally since ancient times, as topical and sometimes internal home remedies. Topically it has been used for abrasions and wounds, as a treatment for lice, and when mixed with animal fat it has been used as a chest rub, or inhaler for nasal and throat ailments. Many modern chest rubs, such as the Vicks variety, still contain turpentine in their formulations.
Taken internally it was used as treatment for intestinal parasites, and candida because of its antiseptic and diuretic properties. A general cure-all ...
     Turpentine was a common medicine among seamen ... and is still used today as an alternative medicine." !
Historical intrepreter Ross Nelson as "Professor Thaddeus Schmidlap", resident snake-oil salesman at the Enchanted Springs Ranch and Old West theme park, Boerne, Texas.
page 4: the four great Medicines of the native North Americans:
sweet grass, tobacco, sagebrush, cedar



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