According to China Times, a woman in China's Harbin City was bitten by a pit viper after marinating it in sorghum wine for three months.
Ms. Liu, who suffers from rheumatism, was given the live viper by her husband to brew in Chinese medicine at home. She assumed it was dead when she unsealed the brew on Sept. 3, and it bit her hand.
After being treated with antidotes, Liu was released from the hospital. Doctors warn, however, that snakes can lie dormant in liquor for months and even years.
Hong Kong's Next Media reports that in 2009, a man was bitten by a poisonous tiger snake in Hubei after marinating it for 60 days. In 2001, a Guangxi man died when a cobra bit him after sitting in a home brew for a year.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, viper wine cures bad circulation and inflamed joints.
Here is a viper wine recipe translated from Baidu, which the home brewers likely followed:
"Catch a viper and keep it in a clean tank for a month without food. Wait until snake expels all excrements. Wash and dry the live viper, then seal it in a fifty-plus proof liquor. This brew is best enjoyed between two and twelve months after marinating."