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There is, also, in India another grain which bears a considerable resemblance to pepper, but is longer and more brittle; it is known by the name of caryophyllon.1 It is said that this grain is produced in a sacred grove in India; with us it is imported for its aromatic perfume. The same country produces, also, a thorny shrub, with grains which bear a resemblance to pepper, and are of a remarkably bitter taste. The leaves of this shrub are small, like those of the cyprus;2 the branches are three cubits in length, the bark pallid, and the roots wide-spreading and woody, and of a colour resembling that of boxwood. By boiling this root with the seed in a copper vessel, the medicament is prepared which is known by the name of lycion.3 This thorny shrub grows, also, on Mount Pelion;4 this last kind is much used for the purpose of adulterating the medicament above mentioned. The root of the asphodel, ox-gall, wormwood, sumach, and the amurca of olive oil, are also employed for a similar purpose. The best lycion for medicinal purposes, is that which has a froth on its surface; the Indians send it to us in leather bottles, made of the skin of the camel or the rhinoceros. The shrub itself is known by some persons in Greece under the name of the Chironian pyxacanthus.5

1 It has been suggested that under this name the clove is meant, though Fée and Desfontaines express a contrary opinion. Sprengel thinks that it is the Vitex trifolia of Linnæus, and Bauhin suggests the cubeb, the Piper cubeba of Linnæus. Fée thinks it may have possibly been the Myrtus caryophyllata of Ceylon, the fruit of which corresponds to the description here given by Pliny.

2 See c. 52 of the present Book.

3 Or "Lycium." It is impossible to say with exactness what the medical liquid called "Lycion" was. Catechu, an extract from the tan of the acacia, has been suggested; though the fruit of that tree does not answer the present description.

4 Fée suggests that this may possibly be the Lycium Europæum of Linnæus, a shrub not uncommonly found in the south of Europe.

5 The Rhamnus Lycioides of Linnæus, known to us as buckthorn. The berries of many varieties of the Rhamnus are violent purgatives.

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