previous next


Nasturtium,1 on the other hand, is an antiaphrodisiac;2 it has the effect also of sharpening the senses, as already stated.3 There are two4 varieties of this plant: one of them is purgative, and, taken in doses of one denarius to seven of water, carries off the bilious secretions. Applied as a liniment to scrofulous sores, with bean-meal, and then covered with a cabbage-leaf, it is a most excellent remedy. The other kind, which is darker than the first, has the effect of carrying off vicious humours of the head, and sharpening the sight: taken in vinegar it calms the troubled spirits, and, drunk with wine or taken in a fig, it is good for affections of the spleen; taken in honey, too, fasting daily, it is good for a cough. The seed of it, taken in wine, expels all kinds of intestinal worms, and with the addition of wild mint, it acts more efficaciously still. It is good, too, for asthma and cough, in combination with wild marjoram and sweet wine; and a decoction of it in goats' milk is used for pains in the chest. Mixed with pitch it disperses tumours, and extracts thorns from the body; and, employed as a liniment, with vinegar, it removes spots upon the body. When used for the cure of carcinoma, white of eggs is added to it. With vinegar it is employed also as a liniment for affections of the spleen, and with honey it is found to be very useful for the complaints of infants.

Sextius adds, that the smell of burnt nasturtium drives away serpents, neutralizes the venom of scorpions, and gives relief in head-ache; with the addition too, of mustard, he says, it is a cure for alopecy, and applied to the ears with a fig, it is a remedy for hardness of hearing. The juice of it, he says, if injected into the ears, will effect the cure of tooth-ache, and employed with goose-grease it is a remedy for porrigo and ulcerous sores of the head. Applied with leaven it brings boils5 to a head, and makes carbuncles suppurate and break: used with honey, too, it is good for cleansing phagedænic ulcers. Topical applications are made of it, combined with vinegar and polenta, in cases of sciatica aud lumbago: it is similarly employed, too, for lichens and malformed6 nails, its qualities being naturally caustic. The best nasturtium of all is that of Babylonia; the wild7 variety possesses the same qualities as the cultivated in every respect, but in a more powerful degree.

1 The Lepidium sativum of Linnæus, cresses or nose-smart.

2 This opinion is corroborated by Dioscorides, B. ii. c. 185, and confirmed by the author of the Geoponica, B. xii. c. 27. Fée inclines to the opinion of Dioscorides, and states that is highly antiscorbutic.

3 In B. xix. c. 44.

4 The two varieties, the white and the black, are no longer distinguished. The only variety now recognized, Fée says, is that with crisped leaves.

5 "Furunculos." Gangrenous sores, probably.

6 "Unguibus scabris," i. e. for the removal of malformed nails, with the view to the improvement of their appearance.

7 The Lepidium Iberis of Linnæus, Fée thinks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Latin (Karl Friedrich Theodor Mayhoff, 1906)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

hide References (4 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: