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The properties which are common to all the wild varieties1 are whiteness, a stem sometimes as much as a cubit in length, and a roughness upon the stalk and leaves. Among these plants there is one with round, short leaves, known to some persons as "hieracion;"2 from the circumstance that the hawk tears it open and sprinkles3 its eyes with the juice, and so dispels any dimness of sight of which it is apprehensive. The juice of all these plants is white, and in its properties resembles that of the poppy.4 It is collected at harvest-time, by making incisions in the stalk, and is kept in new earthen vessels, being renowned as a remedy for numerous maladies.5 Mixed with woman's milk, it is a cure for all diseases of the eyes, such as argema for instance, films on the eyes, scars and inflammations6 of all kinds, and dimness of the sight more particularly. It is applied to the eyes, too, in wool, as a remedy for defluxions of those organs.

This juice also purges the bowels, taken in doses of two oboli in vinegar and water. Drunk in wine it is a cure for the stings of serpents, and the leaves and stalk of the plant are pounded and taken in vinegar. They are employed also as a liniment for wounds, the sting of the scorpion more particu- larly; combined, too, with oil and vinegar, they are similarly applied for the bite of the phalangium.7 They have the effect, also, of neutralizing other poisons, with the exception of those which kill by suffocation or by attacking the bladder, as also with the exception of white lead. Steeped in oxymel, they are applied to the abdomen for the purpose of drawing out vicious humours of the intestines. The juice is found good, also, in cases of retention of the urine. Crateuas prescribes it to be given to dropsical patients, in doses of two oboli, with vinegar and one cyathus of wine.

Some persons collect the juice of the cultivated lettuce as well, but it is not so efficacious8 as the other. We have already made mention,9 to some extent, of the peculiar properties of the cultivated lettuce, such as promoting sleep, allaying the sexual passions, cooling the body when heated, purging10 the stomach, and making blood. In addition to these, it possesses no few properties besides; for it has the effect of removing flatulency, and of dispelling eructations, while at the same time it promotes the digestion, without ever being indigestible itself. Indeed, there is no article of diet known that is a greater stimulant to the appetite, or which tends in a greater degree to modify it; it being the extent, either way, to which it is eaten that promotes these opposite results. In the same way, too, lettuces eaten in too large quantities are laxative, but taken in moderation they are binding. They have the effect, also, of attenuating the tough, viscous, phlegm, and, according to what some persons say, of sharpening the senses. They are extremely serviceable, too, to debilitated stomachs; for which purpose * *11 oboli of sour sauce12 is added to them, the sharp ness of which is modified by the application of sweet wine, to make it of the same strength as vinegar-sauce.13 If, again, the phlegm with which the patient is troubled is extremely tough and viscous, wine of squills or of wormwood is em- ployed; and if there is any cough perceptible, hyssop wine is mixed as well.

Lettuces are given with wild endive for cœliac affections, and for obstructions of the thoracic organs. White lettuces, too, are prescribed in large quantities for melancholy and affections of the bladder. Praxagoras recommends them for dysentery. Lettuces are good, also, for recent burns, before blisters have made their appearance: in such cases they are applied with salt. They arrest spreading ulcers, being applied at first with saltpetre, and afterwards with wine. Beaten up, they are applied topically for erysipelas; and the stalks, beaten up with polenta, and applied with cold water, are soothing for luxations of the limbs and spasmodic contractions; used, too, with wine and polenta, they are good for pimples and eruptions. For cholera lettuces have been given, cooked in the saucepan, in which case it is those with the largest stalk and bitter that are the best: some persons administer them, also, as an injection, in milk. These stalks boiled, are remarkably good, it is said, for the stomach: the summer lettuce, too, more particularly, and the bitter, milky lettuce, of which we have already14 made mention as the "meconis," have a soporific effect. This juice, in combination with woman's milk, is said to be extremely beneficial to the eyesight, if applied to the head in good time; it is a remedy, too, for such maladies of the eyes as result from the action of cold.

I find other marvellous praises lavished upon the lettuce, such, for instance, as that, mixed with Attic honey, it is no less beneficial for affections of the chest than abrotonum;15 that the menstrual discharge is promoted in females by using it as a diet; that the seed, too, of the cultivated lettuce is administered as a remedy for the stings of scorpions, and that pounded, and taken in wine, it arrests all libidinous dreams and imaginations during sleep; that water, too, which affects16 the brain will have no injurious effects upon those who eat lettuce. Some persons have stated, however, that if lettuces are eaten too frequently they will prove injurious to the eye sight.

1 Of the lettuce, evidently. Fée says, who would recognise a lettuce, with its green leaves, and smooth stalk and leaves, under this description? Still, it is by no means an inaccurate description of the wild lettuce.

2 "Hawk-weed." from the Greek ἱέραξ, "a hawk." Under this name are included, Fée thinks, the varieties of the genus Crepis.

3 Apuleius, Metam. c. 30, says this of the eagle, when preparing to soar aloft.

4 This is in some degree true of the juices of the wild lettuces, in a medicinal point of view; but it must be remembered that he has enumerated the Isatis among them, which in reality has no milky juice at all.

5 "Lactucarium," or the inspissated milky juice of the garden lettuce, is still used occasionally as a substitute for opium, having slightly anodyne properties, but, as Fée remarks, all that Pliny says here of its effects is erroneous.

6 "Adustiones;" "burns," perhaps.

7 A kind of spider. See B. xi. cc. 24, 28, 29.

8 This is consistent with modern experience, as to the medicinal effects of the cultivated plants in general.

9 In B. xix. c. 38.

10 The lettuce is not a purgative, nor has it the property here ascribed to it, of making blood.

11 Sillig is probably correct in his belief that there is a lacuna here.

12 "Oxypori."

13 "Ad intinctum aceti."

14 In B. xix. c. 38; the "opium" or "poppy lettuce," the Lactuca silvestris of modern botany, the soporific properties of which are superior to those of the cultivated kinds.

15 Or southern-wood. See B. xxi. c. 34.

16 See B. xxxi. cc. 11 and 12.

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