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There is a wild purslain,1 too, called "peplis," not much superior in its virtues to the cultivated2 kind, of which such remarkable properties are mentioned. It neutralizes the effects, it is said, of poisoned arrows, and the venom of the serpents known as hæmorrhois and prester;3 taken with the food and applied to the wound, it extracts the poison. The juice, too, they say, taken in raisin wine, is an antidote for henbane. When the plant itself cannot be procured, the seed of it is found to be equally efficacious. It is a corrective, also, of impurities in water; and beaten up in wine and applied topically, it is a cure for head-ache and ulcers of the head. Chewed in combination with honey, it is curative of other kinds of sores. It is similarly applied to the region of the brain in infants, and in cases of umbilical hernia; as also for defluxions of the eyes, in persons of all ages, being applied to the forehead and temples with polenta. If employed as a liniment for the eyes, milk and honey are added, and when used for proptosis4 of the eyes, the leaves are beaten up with bean-shells. In combination with polenta, salt, and vinegar, it is employed as a fomentation for blisters.

Chewed raw, purslain reduces ulcerations of the mouth and gum-boils, and cures tooth-ache; a decoction of it is good, too, for ulcers of the tonsils. Some persons have added a little myrrh to it, when so employed. Chewed, it strengthens such teeth as may happen to be loose, dispels crudities, imparts additional strength to the voice, and allays thirst. Used with nutgalls, linseed, and honey, in equal proportions, it assuages pains in the neck; and, combined with honey or Cimolian chalk, it is good for diseases of the mamillæ.5 The seed of it, taken with honey, is beneficial for asthma. Eaten in salads,6 this plant is very strengthening to the stomach. In burning fevers, applications of it are made with polenta; in addition to which, if chewed, it will cool and refresh the intestines. It arrests vomiting, also, and for dysentery and abscesses, it is eaten with vinegar, or else taken with cummin in drink: boiled, it is good for tenesmus. Taken either in the food or drink, it is good for epilepsy; and, taken in doses of one acetabulum in boiled wine,7 it promotes the menstrual discharge. Employed, also, as a liniment with salt, it is used as a remedy for fits of hot gout and erysipelas.

The juice of this plant, taken in drink, strengthens the kidneys and bladder, and expels intestinal worms. In conjunction with oil, it is applied, with polenta, to assuage the pain of wounds, and it softens indurations of the sinews. Metrodorus, who wrote an Abridgment of Botany,8 says that it should be given after delivery, to accelerate the lochial discharge. It is also an antaphrodisiac, and prevents the recurrence of lascivious dreams. One of the principal personages of Spain, whose son has been Prætor, is in the habit of carrying the root of it, to my knowledge, suspended by a string from his neck, except when he is taking the bath, for an incurable affection of the uvula; a precaution by which he has been spared all inconvenience.

I have found it stated, too, in some authors, that if the head is rubbed with a liniment of this plant, there will be no de. fluxions perceptible the whole year through. It is generally thought, however, that purslain weakens the sight.

1 The Euphorbia peplis of Linnæus.

2 See B. xiii. c. 40. By Dioscorides, B. iv. c. 165, all these virtues are attributed exclusively to the cultivated purslain. Indeed, there is no analogy between the properties of the two plants; though neither of them is possessed of the wonderful virtues as antidotes here mentioned, and they would only increase the sufferings of asthmatic patients.

3 As to this serpent, see Lucan's Pharsalia, B. ix. 1. 722, et seq.

4 A kind of spreading tumour, which, according to Scribonius Largus, would appear as if about to force the eye out of the socket. Fée remarks, that this malady is no longer known.

5 See B. xxxv. c. 57.

6 "Acetariis."

7 "Sapa." Grape-juice, boiled down to one third.

8 ᾿επιτομἡν ᾿ριζοτουμένων.

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