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The very smell of mint1 reanimates the spirits, and its flavour gives a remarkable zest to food: hence it is that it is so generally an ingredient in our sauces. It has the effect of preventing milk from turning sour, or curdling and thickening; hence it is that it is so generally put into milk used for drinking, to prevent any danger of persons being choked2 by it in a curdled state. It is administered also for this purpose in water or honied wine. It is generally thought, too, that it is in consequence of this property that it impedes generation, by preventing the seminal fluids from obtaining the requisite consistency. In males as well as females it arrests bleeding, and it has the property, with the latter, of suspending the menstrual discharge. Taken in water, with amylum,3 it prevents looseness in cœliac complaints. Syriation employed this plant for the cure of abscesses of the uterus, and, in doses of three oboli, with honied wine, for diseases of the liver: he prescribed it also, in pottage, for spitting of blood. It is an admirable remedy for ulcerations of the head in children, and has the effect equally of drying the trachea when too moist, and of bracing it when too dry. Taken in honied wine and water, it carries off purulent phlegm.

The juice of mint is good for the voice when a person is about to engage in a contest of eloquence, but only when taken just before. It is employed also with milk as a gargle for swelling of the uvula, with the addition of rue and coriander. With alum, too, it is good for the tonsils of the throat, and, mixed with honey, for roughness of the tongue. Employed by itself, it is a remedy for internal convulsions and affections of the lungs. Taken with pomegranate juice, as Democrites tells us, it arrests hiccup and vomiting. The juice of mint fresh gathered, inhaled, is a ready for affections of the nostrils. Beaten up and taken in vinegar, mint is a cure for cholera, and for internal fluxes of blood: applied externally, with polenta, it is remedial for the iliac passion and tension of the mamillæ. It is applied, too, as a liniment to the temples for head-ache; and it is taken internally, as an antidote for the stings of scolopendræ, sea-scorpions, and serpents. As a liniment it is applied also for defluxions of the eyes, and all eruptions of the head, as well as maladies of the rectum.

Mint is an effectual preventive, too, of chafing of the skin, even if held in the hand only. In combination with honied wine, it is employed as an injection for the ears. It is said, too, that this plant will cure affections of the spleen, if tasted in the garden nine days consecutively, without plucking it, the person who bites it saying at the same moment that he does so for the benefit of the spleen: and that, if dried, and re- duced to powder, a pinch of it with three fingers taken in water, will cure stomach-ache.4 Sprinkled in this form in drink, it is said to have the effect of expelling intestinal worms.

1 According to ancient fable, Mintha, the daughter of Cocytus, and beloved by Pluto, was changed by Proserpine into this plant: it was generally employed also in the mysteries of the Greeks. It is the Mentha sativa of Linnæus.

2 Fée says that this passage alone would prove pretty clearly that Pliny had no idea of the existence of the gastric juices.

3 See B. xviii. c. 17, and B. xxii. c. 67.

4 It is only in this case and the next, Fée says, that modern experience agrees with our author as to the efficacy of mint.

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