Snake Wine: Chinese Woman Bitten by Snake Preserved in Alcohol for Months

September 11, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

A woman in eastern China was bitten by a snake that jumped out of a bottle of wine after it spent three months there, according to reports.

The woman, who has the surname Liu, was forced to seek medical treatment after the snake bit her hand in Shuangcheng, Heilongjiang Province. She opened the bottle of wine to add more alcohol to it.

She purchased a snake to preserve it in a bottle of wine to cure her rheumatism. But the snake was still apparently alive after spending some three months in the bottle of alcohol, reported The Global Times, a state-run Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece, and Shanghaiist.

Liu said that she consumed snake wine on a regular basis to cure her ailments.

Liu was sent to the hospital, where she got treatment for inflammation on her hand.

Four years ago, a man in Hubei Province was bit two months after he concocted a similar snake brew. The man was not seriously injured.

In 2001, a man in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region was killed after getting bitten by a snake held in a wine bottle.

In China and some Southeast Asian countries, snake wine is considered to have curative properties and is believed to invigorate a person. The snake’s venom is usually broken up by the alcohol as cobras are often used. Some brews use sea horses or geckos.

The drink is first believed to have been used in the Western Zhou dynasty, which lasted from 1046 BCE to 771 BCE.