Rượu Thuốc: Medicinal Liquor

The consumption of Rượu thuốc dates back thousands of years. Originating in Vietnam, other countries consume a variation of the concoction; including in India, China and parts of Southeast Asia. The alcoholic beverage consists of medicinal animals or herbs steeped in alcohol; usually rice wine or gain liquor. Typically, poisonous snakes, termites, or seahorses are used, infusing the animals’ “essence” into the liquor. Medicinal herbs, such as jujube or ginseng are also used. The drink sits for several days to ensure the contents completely dissolve. For this to happen, the alcohol content must be above 45%. As the mixture steeps, the ethanol denatures the venoms’ proteins, making the beverage safe to drink. One usually drinks a small cup before each meal. Many believe Rượu thuốc helps improve one’s libido and overall health, curing diseases or acting as a form of female Viagra.