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Wild cummin is a remarkably slender plant, consisting of four or five leaves indented like a saw; like the cultivated1 kind, it is much employed in medicine, among the stomachic remedies more particularly. Bruised and taken with bread, or else drunk in wine and water, it dispels phlegm and flatulency, as well as gripings of the bowels and pains in the intestines. Both varieties have the effect, however, of producing paleness2 in those who drink these mixtures; at all events, it is generally stated that the disciples of Porcius Latro,3 so celebrated among the professors of eloquence, used to employ this drink for the purpose of imitating the paleness which had been contracted by their master, through the intensity of his studies: and that Julius Vindex,4 in more recent times, that assertor of our liberties against Nero, adopted this method of playing upon5 those who were looking out for a place in his will. Applied in the form of lozenges, or fresh with vinegar, cummin has the effect of arresting bleeding at the nose, and used by itself, it is good for defluxions of the eyes. Combined with honey, it is used also for swellings of the eyes. With children of tender age, it is sufficient to apply it to the abdomen. In cases of jaundice, it is administered in white wine, immediately after taking the bath.

(15.) The cummin of Æthiopia,6 more particularly, is given in vinegar and water, or else as an electuary with honey. It is thought, too, that the cummin of Africa has the peculiar property of arresting incontinence of urine. The cultivated plant is given, parched and beaten up in vinegar, for affections of the liver, as also for vertigo. Beaten up in sweet wine, it is taken in cases, also, where the urine is too acrid; and for affections of the uterus, it is administered in wine, the leaves of it being employed topically as well, in layers of wool. Parched and beaten up with honey, it is used as an application for swellings of the testes, or else with rose oil and wax.

For all the purposes above-mentioned, wild cummin7 is more efficacious than cultivated; as also, in combination with oil, for the stings of serpents, scorpions, and scolopendræ. A pinch of it with three fingers, taken in wine, has the effect of arresting vomiting and nausea; it is used, too, both as a drink and a liniment for the colic, or else it is applied hot, in dossils of lint,8 to the part affected, bandages being employed to keep it in its place. Taken in wine, it dispels hysterical affections, the proportions being three drachmæ of cummin to three cyathi of wine. It is used as an injection, too, for the ears, when affected with tingling and singing, being mixed for the purpose with veal suet or honey. For contusions, it is applied as a liniment, with honey, raisins, and vinegar, and for dark freckles on the skin with vinegar.

1 Cummin is the Cuminum cyminum of Linnæus. The seed only is used, and that but rarely, for medicinal purposes, being a strong excitant and a carminative. In Germany, and Turkey, and other parts of the East, cummin-seed is esteemed as a condiment.

2 Horace, B. i. Epist. 19, says the same; but in reality cummin produces no such effect.

3 M. Porcius Latro, a celebrated rhetorician of the reign of Augustus, a Spaniard by birth, and a friend and contemporary of the elder Seneca. His school was one of the most frequented at Rome, and he numbered among his scholars the poet Ovid. He died B.C. 4.

4 The son of a Roman senator, but descended from a noble family in Aquitanian Gaul. When proprætor of Gallia Celtica, he headed a revolt against Nero; but being opposed by Virginius Rufus, he slew himself at the town of Vesontio, now Besancon.

5 "Captationi" is suggested by Sillig as a preferable reading to "captatione," which last would imply that it was Vindex himself who sought a place by this artifice, in the wills of others.

6 There would be but little difference, Fée observes, between this and the cummin of other countries, as it is a plant in which little change is effected by cultivation. Dioscorides, B. iii. c. 79, says that the cummin of Æthiopia (by Hippocrates called "royal cumnmin") has a sweeter smell than the other kinds.

7 Fée is inclined to identify wild cummin, from the description of it given by Dioscorides, with the Delphinium consolida of Linnæus; but at the same time, he says, it is impossible to speak positively on the subject.

8 "Penicillis."

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