Jungle juice is the name given to an improvised mix of liquor that is usually served for group consumption. There are countless recipes and even websites devoted solely to jungle juice. The term has also been used for similar less-than-reputable alcoholic concoctions.
There are several popular explanations regarding the origin of the name. Generally, it is believed that the name originated in the South West Pacific theatre of World War II, where American soldiers improvised such a concoction using any commonly available materials in the surrounding jungles for fermentation, distillation and flavoring. The characteristics of this concoction leading to its legendary status are its relative inexpensiveness and potency.
The term had also been applied to a specific treatment for war neurosis being practiced during the Second World War. Dr. William Sargant began to treat afflicted soldiers with large doses of a sedative called sodium amytal. The sedative would induce a deep sleep lasting up to three weeks. Patients would only be woken for an hour each day to be fed and to be bathed. The idea behind this sleep narcosis treatment was to break the cycle of exhaustion and anxiety caused by combat stress reaction. Additionally, insulin was given to patients to help restore lost weight due to inactivity. The insulin, however, could induce a coma by lowering the blood sugar. If the blood sugar level dropped too low, it could result in irreversible brain damage or even death. Soldiers began to refer to the sedative treatment as being given "Jungle Juice."
- The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English: J-Z By Eric Partridge p.1132
- "Preparing Jungle Juice Recipes". Retrieved 15 July 2014.
- "How to Make Jungle Juice". Retrieved 11 August 2012.
- War slang: American fighting words and phrases since the Civil War By Paul Dickson p.180
- "Jungle Juice". Webster's New Millennium Dictionary of English. Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2008.
- Wilbur, Kenzi. "The Twisted History of Jungle Juice". PUNCH. The Crown Publishing Group. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUumA6VZh8Q Shell Shock: Battle for the Mind (6mins 40sec)