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There is another kind1 of wild poppy, known as "heraclion" by some persons, and as "aphron" by others. The leaves of it, when seen from a distance, have all the appearance of sparrows;2 the root lies on the surface of the ground, and the seed has exactly the colour of foam.3 This plant is used for the purpose of bleaching linen4 cloths in summer. It is bruised in a mortar for epilepsy, being given in white wine, in doses of one acetabulum, and acting as an emetic.

This plant is extremely useful, also, for the composition of the medicament known as "diacodion,"5 and "arteriace." This preparation is made with one hundred and twenty heads6 of this or any other kind of wild poppy, steeped for two days in three sextarii of rain water, after which they are boiled in it. You must then dry the heads; which done, boil them down with honey to one half, at a slow heat. More recently, there have been added to the mixture, six drachmæ of saffron, hypocisthis,7 frankincense, and gum acacia, with one sextarius of raisin wine of Crete. All this, however, is only so much ostentation; for the virtue of this simple and ancient prepara- tion depends solely upon the poppy and the honey.

1 Not a poppy, but the Euphorbia esula of Linnæus, a spurge. The milky juice found in the stalk and leaves have caused it to be classed among the poppies, as other varieties of Euphorbiaceæ appear to have been, among the wild lettuces.

2 Theophrastus, Hist. Plant. B. ix. c. 31, compares this plant with the Struthium—(see B. xix. c. 18). Pliny, or his scribes, have supposed him to be speaking of the στρούθος, or "sparrow"—hence the present mistake. The Struthium itself has received that name from the resemblance which its flower bears to a bird with the wings expanded.

3 Hence its name, "aphron."

4 See B. xix. c. 4. Pliny has here mistaken a passage of Theophrastus, Hist. Plant. B. ix. c. 31; where he attributes this quality to the Struthium, and not the Heraclium.

5 See c. 76 of this Book. It is difficult to conjecture how one of the Euphorbiaceæ, a powerful drastic, could enter into the composition of a soothing preparation, such as the diacodion is said to have been.

6 "Capitibus." As Fée remarks, the capsules of Euphorbia bear no resemblance whatever to the heads of the poppy. Dioscorides, B. iv. c. 67, similarly confounds these two plants.

7 See B. xxvi. c. 31.

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