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In the country of the Troglodytæ, the Thebais, and the parts of Arabia which separate Judæa from Egypt, myrobalanum1 is commonly found; it is provided by Nature for unguents, as from its very name would appear. From its name, also, it is evident that it is the nut of a tree, with a leaf similar to that of the heliotropium, which we shall have to mention when speaking of the herbs. The fruit of this tree is about the size of a filbert. The kind that grows in Arabia is known as Syriaca, and is white, while, on the other hand, that which grows in the Thebais is black: the former is preferred for the quality of the oil extracted from it, though that which is pro- duced in the Thebais yields it in larger quantities. Among these various kinds, that which is sent from the country of the Troglodytæ is the worst of all. There are some persons who prefer that of Æthiopia2 to all of these, the nut of which is black, and not oleaginous; it has only a very small kernel, but the liquid which is extracted from it is more odoriferous than that of the other kinds; it grows, too, in a champaign, open country. It is said that the Egyptian nut is even more oleaginous, being of a reddish colour with a thicker shell, and that the plant, although it grows in wet, marshy spots, is shorter and drier than the other kinds. The Arabian nut, again, is said to be of a green colour and of smaller size, but harder and more compact, from the circumstance that it grows in mountainous districts. The best of all, however, is that of Petra, which comes from a city mentioned3 on a previous occasion; it has a black shell, but the kernel is white. The perfumers, however, only extract the juices from the shells; but medical men pound the kernels, pouring warm water on them, little by little, as they do it.

1 Signifying the "unguent acorn," or "nut." There is little doubt that the behen or ben nut of the Arabians is meant, of which there are several sorts. It is used by the Hindoos for calico printing and pharmacy and was formerly employed in Europe in the arts, and for medical purposes. It is no longer used as a perfume. The "oil of ben" used in commerce is extracted from the fruit of the Moringa oleifera of naturalists. It is inodorous; for which reason, Fée is of opinion that the name signifies "the oily nut," and quotes Dioscorides, who says, B. iv., that an oil is extracted from this balanus, which is used as an ingredient in unguents, in place of other oils. Fée also says that at the present day it is used by perfumers, to fix or arrest the evanescent odours of such flowers as the jasmine and the lily.

2 This Æthiopian variety is quite unknown, and is, as Fée remarks, most probably of a different species from the genuine myrobalanus.

3 See B. vi. c. 32.

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