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Mentastrum, or wild mint,1 differs from the other kind in the appearance of the leaves, which have the form of those of ocimum and the colour of pennyroyal; for which reason, some persons, in fact, give it the name of wild pennyroyal.2 The leaves of this plant, chewed and applied topically, are a cure for elephantiasis; a discovery which was accidentally made in the time of Pompeius Magnus, by a person affected with this malady covering his face with the leaves for the purpose of neutralizing the bad smell that arose therefrom. These leaves are employed also as a liniment, and in drink, with a mixture of salt, oil, and vinegar, for the stings of scorpions; and, in doses of two drachmæ to two cyathi of wine, for those of scolopendræ and serpents. A decoction, too, of the juice is given for the sting of the scolopendra.3 Leaves of wild mint are kept, dried and reduced to a fine powder, as a remedy for poisons of every description. Spread on the ground or burnt, this plant has the effect of driving away scorpions.

Taken in drink, wild mint carries off the lochia in females after parturition; but, if taken before, it is fatal to the fœtus. It is extremely efficacious in cases of rupture and convulsions, and, though in a somewhat less degree, for orthopnœa,4 gripings of the bowels, and cholera: it is good, too, as a topical application for lumbago and gout. The juice of it is injected into the ears for worms breeding there; it is taken also for jaundice, and is employed in liniments for scrofulous sores. It prevents5 the recurrence of lascivious dreams; and taken in vinegar, it expels tape-worm.6 For the cure of porrigo, it is put in vinegar, and the head is washed with the mixture in the sun.

1 The Menta silvestris of Linnæus; though Clusius was of opinion that it is the Nepeta tuberosa of Linnæus.

2 "Silvestre puleium."

3 Galen and Dioscorides say the same; but it is not the fact; the leaves being of no utility whatever.

4 Difficulty of breathing, unless the neck is kept in a straight position.

5 Fée is inclined to think exactly the contrary.

6 Its properties as a vermifuge are contested.

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