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Heraclium,1 again, comprehends three varieties; the first,2 which is the darkest, has broader leaves than the others, and is of a glutinous nature; the second,3 which has leaves of a more slender form, and not unlike sampsuchum4 in appearance, is by some persous called "prasion," in preference: the third5 is of an intermediate nature between the other two, but is less efficacious for medicinal purposes than either. But the best kind of all is that of Crete, for it has a particularly agreeable smell; the next best being that of Smyrna, which has even a more powerful odour than the last. The Heracleotic origanum, however, known by the name of "onitis," is the one that is the most esteemed for taking in drink.

Origanum, in general, is employed for repelling serpents; and it is given boiled to persons suffering from wounds. Taken in drink, it is diuretic; and mixed with root of panax, it is given for the cure of ruptures and convulsions. In combination with figs or hyssop, it is prescribed for dropsical patients in doses of one acetabulum, being reduced by boiling to one sixth. It is good also for the itch,6 prurigo, and leprosy, taken just before the bath. The juice of it is injected into the ears with milk; it being a cure, also, for affections of the tonsils and the uvula, and for ulcers of the head. A decoction of it, taken with the ashes in wine, neutralizes poison by opium or gypsum.7 Taken in doses of one acetabulum, it relaxes the bowels. It is applied as a liniment for bruises and for tooth-ache; and mixed with honey and nitre, it imparts whiteness to the teeth. It has the effect, also, of stopping bleeding at the nose.

A decoction of this plant, with barley-meal, is employed for imposthumes of the parotid glands; and, beaten up with nutgalls and honey, it is used for roughness of the trachea: the leaves of it, with honey and salt, are good, too, for the spleen. Boiled with vinegar and salt, and taken in small doses, it at- tenuates the phlegm, when very thick and black; and beaten up with oil, it is injected into the nostrils for jaundice. When persons are affected with lassitude, the body is well rubbed with it, care being taken not to touch the abdomen. Used with pitch, it is a cure for epinyctis, and, applied with a roasted fig, it brings boils to a head. Employed with oil and vinegar, and barley-meal, it is good for scrofulous swellings; and applied topically in a fig, it is a cure for pains in the sides. Beaten up, and applied with vinegar, it is employed as a liniment for bloody fluxes of the generative organs, and it accelerates the lochial discharge after child-birth.

1 Or Heracleotic origanum: see c. 62 of this Book. Pliny here confounds several distinct plants, and, as Fée observes, the whole account is in hopeless confusion.

2 Probably the Origanum Heracleoticum of Linnæus, mentioned in c. 62.

3 The Marrubium Creticum, or peregrinum, probably, a variety of horehound. See c. 67.

4 See B. xiii. c. 2, and B. xv. c. 7.

5 The Origanum onites of Linnæus, probably. See c. 67.

6 Fée says that a strong infusion of pepperwort has been used in France for the itch, with successful results.

7 Sulphate of lime, which, as Fée remarks, though insoluble, does not act as a poison, but causes a derangement of the digestive functions. The wines of the Romans were extensively treated with this substance, and we have seen in B. xviii, that it was used as an ingredient in their bread.

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