Snakeskin (She Tui)
Botanical Name: Elaphe taeniurus
Snakeskin is documented as being used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as far back as 100 A.D. It was likely used long before that as it was considered good for treating skin eruptions, eye infections, sore throats and hemorrhoids.
Below is an overview of Snakeskin (She Tui), combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of Snakeskin (She Tui).
Western Name: Snakeskin
Also Known As: Beauty Rat Snake, Cave Racer
Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Emollient, Antispasmodic, Nervine. Skin disorders, boils, abscesses, psoriasis, scabies, convulsions, high blood pressure, gallbladder disorders.
Pin Yin: She Tui
Also Known As: Exuviae Serpentis which translates as, “snake skin slough.”
Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: Dispels Wind and Stops Spasms: skin lesions due to wind, and childhood convulsions and seizures due to wind. Removes Superficial Visual Obstructions: disorders of the cornea or pterygium.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Dried Sloughed Skin
Flavors/Temps: Sweet, Salty, Neutral
Caution: Do not use when pregnant.
History/Folklore: The ancient observations of a snake’s ability to move fast and flexibly (both above ground and below), shed its skin and be poisonous, all led to it being studied and revered. Because of these traits, it has been used medicinally to treat arthritis, joint pain and a wide variety of skin problems. It does this effectively and is still used today in several Chinese formulas used to treat these conditions.
It is considered an excellent remedy for stubborn dry scale-like skin. A typical dosage is 1.5-3g when decocted, 0.3-0.6 when taken in powder form. While the snakes are raised and harvested in China for this purpose, using the powdered form is recommended as less can be used helping to reduce the number of snakes used and thereby preserving the species.
The Chinese use snakeskin successfully to reduce the effects of cysticercosis of the nervous systems, with symptoms of tremors, aphasia and headaches.
In the 1940’s, the Chinese used snakeskin to treat post-polio syndrome. The success of these treatments, inspired Dr. Murray Sanders, nominated for the Nobel Prize in medicine, to begin studying cobra venom as a possible cure for Lou Gehrig’s disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS), which has similar symptoms. He too documented success using the Cobra venom therapy. Snake skin, snakes and snake venoms are now being studied as possible cures for multiple sclerosis and HIV.
In Native American cultures snake medicine people are very rare. Their initiation involves living through multiple snake bites and transmuting the poisons.
Snakes have a long history as a symbol of sexuality, transcending death, mother earth, the devil, wisdom, healing, initiation, elusiveness, transmutation, manipulating lightening, creative power, immortality, psychic energy, and primitive or elemental energies. When snake enters your life, your intuition will be strengthened. They are the guardians of sacred places and the keeper of concealed knowledge.
Collagen, Chromatophores, Keratin, Cholesterol, Fats.
Silent and Calm
Snakes rarely, if ever, attack unless provoked. They are silent, calm beings that symbolize eternity.
Eyes Always Open
The eyes of a snake are always open. Snakes use their teeth for grasping, not chewing.
Used to Make Vests + More
Snakeskin has been used to make vests, belts, boots and handbags.
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