Jill Jackson, who was the singer with Speedway until they fell into a million little pieces, has been guzzling snake bile to help her throat:
"The bile is meant to help your throat and I drink it before every gig. You could say it is my new rock charm."
Lets hope she knows what she's doing - as with any self-medication, it's not as simple as taking two aspirin and having a lie-down:
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine classics, snake meat can drive out "wind", facilitate circulation and alleviate muscle problems; whereas snake bile can clear "heat", eliminate phlegm and tranquilize the mind.
Though snake products may have some benefits for health, consumers are reminded of the risk they bear when eating raw snake products and in particular raw snake bile.
Snake biliary bladder can be purchased from snake shops. After a snake is slaugthered, the whole bladder is removed instantly and stored in wine.
Many people believe that this could sterilize the bladder. But the alcohol content of such wine is usually 30 to50% which is less than the best concentration for disinfection (70%). Further as the biliary bladder sold is intact, the alcohol cannot kill the germs inside.
There have been reports of people taking raw snake bile with serious consequences:
* In 1995, a person in Zhejiang, China, who took snake bile regularly for years fell ill and was found to be infected with a kind of snake parasite.
* In September this year, three Taiwaneses who took snake bile for a week, were found to contract acute hepatitis.
Snake meat and snake bile are used also to make medicinal wine. Excessive consumption of snake and snake bile wines can damage health. People with heart or liver diseases, pregnant women and young children should avoid consuming them.
Perhaps you should stick to the Strepsils, Jill.