what WAS snake oil anyway?

Anyone know the history behind snake oil and why it was called that?

According to this:

And this site seems to be pushing a little of the old oil itself:

Paraphrasing that last sentence, snake oil is a cure for everything.

That’s about all I can c+p without pushing the 5-10% rule, but the rest of that page offers an interesting story about the original snake oil peddler. However, as I read further I am less likely to believe any of it because of snippets such as:


Reading further, it looks like Echinacea cures everything from sinusitis to bad credit. Leave it to the AMA to take away our panacea :rolleyes:

“Snake Oil” seems to appear in print around 1927. I would have guessed it to be older.