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There is another variety of the wild gourd, known as the "colocynthis:"1 this kind is full of seeds, but not so large as the cultivated one. The pale colocynthis is better than those of a grass-green colour. Employed by itself when dried, it acts as a very powerful2 purgative; used as an injection, it is a remedy for all diseases of the intestines, the kidneys, and the loins, as well as for paralysis. The seed being first removed, it is boiled down in hydromel to one half; after which it is used as an injection, with perfect safety, in doses of four oboli. It is good, too, for the stomach, taken in pills composed of the dried powder and boiled honey. In jaundice seven seeds of it may be taken with beneficial effects, with a draught of hydromel immediately after.

The pulp of this fruit, taken with wormwood and salt, is a remedy for toothache, and the juice of it, warmed with vinegar, has the effect of strengthening loose teeth. Rubbed in with oil, it removes pains of the spine, loins, and hips: in addition to which, really a marvellous thing to speak of! the seeds of it, in even numbers, attached to the body in a linen cloth, will cure, it is said, the fevers to which the Greeks have given the name of "periodic."3 The juice, too, of the cultivated gourd4 shred in pieces, applied warm, is good for ear-ache, and the flesh of the inside, used without the seed, for corns on the feet and the suppurations known to the Greeks as "apostemata."5 When the pulp and seeds are boiled together, the decoction is good for strengthening loose teeth, and for preventing toothache; wine, too, boiled with this plant, is curative of defluxions of the eyes. The leaves of it, bruised with fresh cypress-leaves, or the leaves alone, boiled in a vessel of potters' clay and beaten up with goose-grease, and then applied to the part affected, are an excellent cure for wounds. Fresh shavings of the rind are used as a cooling application for gout, and burning pains in the head, in infants more particularly; they are good, too, for erysipelas,6 whether it is the shavings of the rind or the seeds of the plant that are applied to the part affected. The juice of the scrapings, employed as a liniment with rose-oil and vinegar, moderates the burning heats of fevers; and the ashes of the dried fruit applied to burns are efficacious in a most remarkable degree.

Chrysippus, the physician, condemned the use of the gourd as a food: it is generally agreed, however, that it is extremely good7 for the stomach, and for ulcerations of the intestines and of the bladder.

1 The Cucumis colocynthus of Linnæus, or Coloquintida, so remarkable for its bitterness.

2 It is an extremely drastic, and indeed violent purgative.

3 Recurring at stated times. The absurdity of this statement does not require discussion.

4 The cultivated cucumber, Fée says.

5 Or "aposthumes," a kind of abscess, probably.

6 "Ignis sacer," literally "sacred fire." It is sometimes called "St. Anthony's fire." Celsus, in describing it, distinguishes it, however, from erysipelas, and divides it into two kinds.

7 On the contrary, Fée says, the pulp of the gourd is tough and leathery, extremely insipid, and destitute of any salutary qualities.

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