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The staphylinos, or, as some persons call it, "erratic1 parsnip," is another kind. The seed2 of this plant, pounded and taken in wine, reduces swelling of the abdomen, and alleviates hysterical suffocations and pains, to such a degree as to restore the uterus to its natural condition. Used as a liniment, also, with raisin wine, it is good for pains of the bowels in females; for men, too, beaten up with an equal proportion of bread, and taken in wine, it may be found beneficial for similar pains. It is a diuretic also, and it will arrest the progress of phagedænic ulcers, if applied fresh with honey, or else dried and sprinkled on them with meal.

Dieuches recommends the root of it to be given, with hydromel, for affections of the liver and spleen, as also the sides, loins, and kidneys; and Cleophantus prescribes it for dysentery of long standing. Philistio says that it should be boiled in milk, and for strangury he prescribes four ounces of the root. Taken in water, he recommends it for dropsy, as well as in cases of opisthotony,3 pleurisy, and epilepsy. Persons, it is said, who carry this plant about them, will never be stung by serpents, and those who have just eaten of it will receive no hurt from them. Mixed with axle-grease,4 it is applied to parts of the body stung by reptiles; and the leaves of it are eaten as a remedy for indigestion.

Orpheus has stated that the staphylinos acts as a philtre,5 most probably because, a very-well-established fact, when employed as a food, it is an aphrodisiac; a circumstance which has led some persons to state that it promotes conception. In other respects the cultivated parsnip has similar properties; though the wild kind is more powerful in its operation, and that which grows in stony soils more particularly. The seed, too, of the cultivated parsnip, taken in wine, or vinegar and water,6 is salutary for stings inflicted by scorpions. By rubbing the teeth with the root of this plant, tooth-ache is removed.

1 Or "wild." See B. xix. c. 27.

2 This seed, Fée says, is an energetic excitant, and certainly would not be found suitable for any of the purposes here mentioned by Pliny; though equally recommended for them by Galen, Dioscorides, and in Athenæus.

3 Tetanus, or contraction of the muscles, in which the head is twisted round or stretched backwards.

4 "Axungia;" properly swine's grease, with which the axle-trees of chariots were rubbed. See B. xxviii. c. 9.

5 Diphilus of Siphnos, as quoted in Athenæus, B. ix. c. 3, states that the ancients employed this plant as a philtre, for which reason it was called by some persons φίλτρον.

6 "Posca." This was the ordinary drink of the lower classes at Rome, as also the soldiers when on service, and the slaves. "Oxycrate" is the scientific name sometimes given to vinegar and water.

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